2022 SMPS SERC Recap

Last week Society for Marketing Professional Services  (SMPS) kicked off the Southeast Regional Conference (SERC) where ProjectMark was a proud exhibitor. This post summarizes some key points from a few of the great sessions at the conference. It was a great experience to connect and learn with so many great AEC marketers face-to-face!


How to Automate Your Marketing Strategy with Julie Shaffer (Shaffer Creative)
It’s always amazing to sit in a session with Julie and watch the magic she can do with InDesign! In this session, she went beyond the basics and helped attendees understand how the Data Merge panel could make their InDesign lives easier. This is definitely a session that needs to be done again.

Courtney Kearney and Chaz Ross-Munro presenting at SMPS SERC ConferenceBuild a Bold CRM That Inspires with Courtney Kearney (CKearneyConsulting) and Chaz Ross-Munro (ProjectMark) The key takeaway from this session was a CRM is more about the process and people than the technology a firm uses.  Attendees gained an understanding of what it takes to build a solid foundation and the steps required prior to implementation, how to best utilize a CRM and the data roles each member of a firm will play, as well as the appropriate time to work on automating key aspects of a firm's workflow. If you want to check out the slides or take the quiz, click here. 

Day One

SERC 2022 kicked off with a great breakfast, much-needed coffee, and some inspirational guidance thanks to Steve Tatham during his session “The Voice and the Vision.”  

The Great Resignation with Karl Feldman (Hinge Marketing) Karl Feldman’s session featured detailed reporting from 350 AEC professionals. Key findings included the career wants and desires for those at three distinct stages in their career progression.Karl Feldman presenting at 2022 SMPS SERC Conference

Those professionals within years one to five are looking for growth and are willing to take careers moves. At mid-level, professionals are looking for stability, work-life balance, and a company culture that aligns with who they are as professionals. In stage three, those in senior leadership positions are looking for the ability to work remotely and desire a voice within the organization. Their network is already strong due to LinkedIn and personal network referrals. A key takeaway from Karl’s session: in all of AEC’s recruiting efforts, a focus on an attractive culture will be king. 

Proposal Writing: Mastering the Art of Training Your Technical Staff
with Allison Tivon (Middle of Six)

Allison Tivon presenting at SMPS SERC ConferenceAllison’s presentation did a great job of helping the audience dive into the minds of proposal committees everywhere. She highlighted three types of ways reviewers look at proposals and coined the terms, “skimmers, swimmers, and deep divers.” Unfortunately, it’s more likely the “skimmer” that is looking through your carefully crafted proposal content. She touched on ways to keep proposal reviewers engaged with the content by bringing up graphics and infographics. Towards the end of the session, we even took a deep dive into selection committee psychology which offered six roles for the various personality types that review proposal content. The entire session featured many great examples and left the audience excited to try some new approaches to improve their proposal content.

Driving Growth of Digital Marketing with Lindsay Diven (Full Sail Partners) 

Screen Shot 2022-03-27 at 9.01.28 PMIt’s always a great day when an AEC Marketer gets to sit in and listen to Lindsay Diven! Lindsay’s session had a great 10 step plan for creating an excellent Digital Marketing Program. Perhaps the most important steps of the 10-step plan might be “2 - Define Personas” and “6 - Content Repurposing.” If you don’t know who you are targeting in your digital marketing plan, it’s almost impossible to design great content to meet their needs and drive them to your product or service. In regards to content repurposing (step 6) AEC marketers have such limited time to do all of the marketing tasks assigned to them, repurposing content is the only way to make a digital marketing strategy effective within the time constraints he or she faces. A great session - definitely take a moment to go back to the conference app and download the slides if you have a chance!

Finding Meaning in Your Data with Amanda Welch (Walter P Moore)
A highly interactive session with five great questions central to finding data that will prove to be useful to your firm, clients, and key stakeholders. Amanda’s handout was concise and excellent! I loved the Project Metric Collection Summary which had key data organized by project milestones and completion levels: kick-off (0%), 100% Design Development (35%), 100% Construction Documents (75%), Substantial Completion of Construction Administration (95%), and Final Close-out (100%). If you weren’t able to attend her session, another great handout to grab from the conference app.

So You Want To Start a Podcast with Katherine Hill and Lauren Dean (SSR) 

Katherine Hill and Lauren Dean present at 2022 SMPS SERCAfter this session, I’m sure a few new AEC podcasts will be hitting the streets in no time! It was incredible to listen to Katherine and Lauren’s experience in launching Tech Vitals an SSR Podcast. Also, it was interesting to learn how SSR is using the podcast to influence the existing culture with current colleagues as well as tools to aid in recruiting. Learning and understanding the various roles that participate in putting together a podcast as well as Katherine and Lauren’s favorite tools was really interesting as well. One of the most impressive tools they mentioned was Buzzsprout which posts content to multiple services like Spotify, Apple, and Stitcher. Buzzsprout also gives some amazing analytics on when and where the podcast audience is accessing the content.

How to use Neuroscience, Client Personas, and Empathy Mapping to Stand Out with Sarah Kinard (The Flamingo Project)Diving into how the brain works and impacts our clients’ decision-making process are always fascinating topics to explore and Sarah Kinard’s session did not let audience members down! Sarah’s session was the perfect balance of content and interaction. First, we dove into three key areas of the brain and learned a little more about what each was responsible for:

• Reptilian Brain is the decision part of the brain and is key for survival.

• Limbic brain “feels” and is responsible for feelings and value judgments.

• Neocortex “thinks” and gives us logic, reason, and science (among other things).

After we discussed the parts of the brain, we learned a little more about how understanding the brain can be used to develop detailed client personas and solidified these concepts with a sample-persona development exercise. If you want to check it out, click here for a link to her conference handout.

Day Two

Say ‘NO MORE’ to Proposal Burnout with Rachelle Ray (RMR Consulting) and Jeff Visnic (Reclamation Collaborative) After two days of intense content, this session was refreshing for every attendee’s well-being by discussing an issue that has plagued many AEC marketers during the last few years and in some cases, even prior to the pandemic: burnout. Rachelle and Jeff’s session focused on three key practices: compassion, honesty, and personal responsibility to address not only proposal burnout but burnout in general. A phrase from the session “stop should-ing on yourself,” seemed to resonate and draw laughs from just about everyone in the audience. Setting proper intentions and what those types of intentions sound like was extremely helpful as well as giving time to acknowledge all of the good things one does in his or her daily life. I think everyone walked away from Rachelle and Jeff’s session feeling a little lighter and having some great takeaways to apply when going back to the office.

SMPS SERC was an engaging three-day event with excellent content, engaging speakers, great connections, and incredible evening socials. We’re looking forward to connecting with everyone again in 2023 (or sooner)!