I’m writing this viewpoint from a hotel room in San Antonio, Texas, at the national Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) conference. Just a few minutes ago, I submitted an article for the association’s magazine, the SMPS Marketer, about how to effectively market your businesses through relevant associations. (SMPS, in my opinion, is a mis-named association. It should instead be called the Society for Architectural, Engineering and Construction Marketing, but I doubt I have enough influence to encourage that change.)
My story explains the simple concepts behind association-related marketing, with sometimes-challenging nuances. If your goal is to sell, you’ll find that client-focused association participation can result in incredible rewards. Yet if you join associations with the hope of business development, you’ll probably end up disappointed – especially when you find most of the other members you meet have the same goal (either to sell to you, or they are your competitors.)
Successful association participation/marketing can require much time, effort and money. While SMPS grants me a free conference registration because of my media/writing role and I am able to trim travel costs through Aeroplan, the hotel here isn’t cheap. If I measured my SMPS participation on a strict cash return-on-investment (ROI) level I might be disappointed, but there are other advantages in connecting here, notably in truly understanding best practices for AEC marketing, which helps us to provide better value and service for advertisers.
Nevertheless, if you think strategically and long-term, you may find incredible value in belonging and participating in relevant client-focused community groups and associations. SMPS may be one of them, especially if you wish to broaden your marketing and business development skills and develop connections and relationships to facilitate joint ventures larger-scale projects.