SMPS Northeast Regional Conference Recap

Colleen Kelly and Ciaran Higgins at the ProjectMark booth.

We loved attending the Society of Marketing Professional Services Northeast Regional Conference last week at the gorgeous Sagamore Resort on Lake George in Bolton Landing, New York, and meeting marketers and business developers from the SMPS Boston, SMPS Pittsburg, SMPS Central Pennsylvania, SMPS DC, SMPS New York, SMPS Northern New England, SMPS Philadelphia, SMPS Upstate New York, SMPS Connecticut, and SMPS Maryland Chapters.  

We attended some great sessions with gifted speakers and would like to share with you a recap in case you weren't able to attend some of the sessions.


Strategic Planning Compass:  Challenges and Solutions to Strategic Planning, Implementation, and Budget
Presented by Kayla McCause, CPSM with Dragonfly AEC Consulting
Kayla walked attendees through a "P.R.O.C.E.S.S" to overcome challenges planning, implementation, and budgeting challenges which focused on: Participation, Responsibility, Open Mind, Confidentiality, Experimentation, Sensitivity, and Sense of Humor. Perhaps one of the best elements of her presentation was examining the best ways to prioritize clients based on criteria such as alignment with firm value(s), positive brand association, and potential for revenue.

Boost Your Content with an Approach to Photography, Videography & Drones
Presented by Phil Quindara and Jami Peters from CSArch
Have you ever wondered how professionals make their photos look so good? In this session, many of their secrets and tools were revealed by Phil and Jami. Photography, videography, and even drone technology tools were reviewed with budgets as well. What are the main benefits of taking charge of your firm's own photography needs in their opinion: it boosts creativity, and improves the relationship between the marketing and technical staff. And one last important tip: don't forget to get those photo release forms!

Turning Your Website Form Brochure to Lead Generator
Presented by Amanda Roehl and Anusha Baldaro from Pixels and Ink Studio
Amanda and Anusha's session immersed attendees in best practices for turning around a website that is not a lead generator by focusing on eleven common mistakes marketers make. The ones that I found the most interesting (or maybe the most familiar) were:

  • Mistake #1 - "You are trying to do everything and accomplish nothing." 
  • Mistake #2 - "You aren't measuring your conversions." 
  • Mistake #5 - "You use the same keywords over and over again."

Detour Ahead: How to Start - and Stay - Organized for Your Next Proposal
Presented by Jen McGovern, CPSM from VHB 
We all start our pursuit process with the best intentions and Jen did a fantastic job of outlining how these intentions can subtly be detoured and how to best stay on track from the beginning. Planning is key to staying on track and Jen supports the SMPS Markendium's assertion that 25% of the time allocated for the entire RFP response should be dedicated to planning and organization. Jen walked attendees through three key elements of the proposal process:

  1. The kick-off meeting is critical. Before leaving the table (or the Zoom meeting), the proposal team should be clear on project challenges, who the selection committee is (and what they are looking for), and the competition. In addition, the proposal team should be clear on what truly differentiates the firm from other competitors. 
  2. Organization. The proposal manager should communicate openly and often. Loved her tip on setting up proactive reminders for deadlines.
  3. Proposal Closeout. It was great to have Jen touch on this subject because it's usually an afterthought of most proposal pursuits. Saving content that has been refreshed or updated during the proposal pursuit is key to creating the next successful pursuit.

Will "Lean Thinking" Revolutionize the Proposal Process?
Presented by Ann Leiner and Jeffery Lynch, CPSM with Stacey and Associates
Ann and Jeffery's passion for changing the industry through the A3 proposal format came through loud and clear, as well as an explanation of the origins of Lean and the impact to both design and construction. "A3" gets its name from the 11 by 17-inch paper size. Frustrated owners across the nation that don't have time to review lengthy proposal submittals are interested in utilizing an A3 proposal submission format to eliminate much of the extra content typically requested in proposals. The format forces those that are responding to RFPs to condense their information as much as possible. During the session, Ann and Jeffery presented many examples of how firms are using this format to communicate clearly and give selection committees less information to review in a more streamlined way. It's definitely an approach that would be a positive change for the AEC industry.

The SMPS Northeast Regional Conference created a great opportunity for marketers and business developers to share ideas and inspiration. If you attended the conference, but didn't get a chance to stop by the booth, click on the button below so you can learn more about ProjectMark.

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