Session 5: Marketing and Business Development

Date: February 02, 2018
Location: JLL Offices, 2020 K Street NW, #1100, Washington DC 20006
Led by: Siobhan Steen & Derek Roberts
Venue Sponsor: Society for Marketing Professional Services, Hickok Cole Architects, JLL
Session Downloads: Session 05 Guide


Siobhan Steen and Derek Roberts organized the fifth session of the year focused on marketing and business development. The session kicked off with a presentation by Laura Ewan on the basics of marketing, and expounded on content marketing and personal branding. Next, we presented our personal branding statements and received feedback from Ms. Ewan and the group. Next, we listened to a presentation from IA Collaborative, discussing how to proactively develop project leads and generate a pipeline of work from repeat and new clients. A roundtable discussion followed, with discussions focusing on business development as it relates to proposals, interviews and post-interview debriefing. The session concluded with a panel discussion with local practice leaders and session presenters on their own experiences with marketing and business development.

Presentation #1 – Marketing 101: Content Marketing & Branding

Laura Ewan’s presentation focused on the at of branding and steps to effectively establish and maintain a positive image to one’s intended audience. She explained how marketing is the art of connecting with customers without selling. This is now accomplished through various platforms including blogs, social media, video, and conferences where expertise can be shared and presented in person. The group was encouraged to interface with their own marketing team and gain a better understanding of the firm’s strategy and the various tasks that comprise the effort to publish firm information through formal and informal means. The second part of the presentation focused on personal branding, where Laura shared her experience and evolution of personal branding and the differing opinions in the industry. Branding in the age of the internet has allowed for greater exposure outside of traditional geographic and size constraints. A discussion continued to pursue this topic, followed by the scholars presenting their personal branding pitches. Feedback from Laura and the rest of the scholars helped inform a successful pitch.

01 Marketing 101

Presentation #2 – Proactive Pitching: Developing Project Leads and Pipeline

The next presentation focused on innovative approaches to business development from IA Collaborative’s Patrick Jones and Rebecca Gimenez. The presentation was organized around three steps of innovative business development: leading with user experience in order to identify the gap and learn the market, predicting the future by knowing clients and their needs, winning the work by illustrating a compelling solution and future. Expressing the value of design to the client is tantamount; synergies around what is viable, desirable and possible will yield potential design solutions. To create a successful outcome, the IA Collaborative strategy is to show the client the end-user. How will they experience the design solution and what can be learned from understanding their needs. The summary of the presentation was a call to expand the problem that is being solved for, design for value cycles and to test opportunities.

02 Proactive Pitching

Venue Tour

Laura Maples, one of the project leads for JLL’s new office space, gave a tour of the office space to the scholars. The tour reinforced how companies use their office space as a marketing and business development tool for current and potential clients as well as employees. The client area was developed to create a hospitality feel, while the employee and working areas were collaborative and provided a variety of meeting spaces.

03 Venue Tour

Presentation #3 – Business Development Roundtables

The third presentation was a series of roundtable discussions in small groups with business development experts that led scholars through interactive exercises focused on the inner workings and real-life examples of proposals, interviews and debriefs.
Jen McGovern, the regional marketing manager from VHB discussed how winning work is challenging and takes valuable time and money for a firm to execute. Proposals must be compliant, compelling, concise, client-centric. Jen discussed what is typically included in the content of a proposal and provided numerous resources for writing effective proposals for varying scales and types of work.
Stacey Sheperd, a federal client manager from Jacobs explained the importance and strategies for successful interviews when competing for work. Her presentation focused on the following: developing the value-add proposition; applying your expertise to the client’s needs; understanding the audience; being flexible and malleable in the moment to address the dynamic tendencies of the interview process.
Laura Roth, Business Development Director at Hickok Cole facilitated a discussion on the importance of a client debrief for both successful and unsuccessful pitches for new work. Conducting a debrief creates the perception that the company is serious about their work and is continually advancing. Understanding the results of the debrief should inform the next proposal and become an evolving metric for evaluating success.
The exercise shed light on how to engage a group of community members in order to solicit their ideas and input.

04 BD Roundtables

Presentation #4 – Business Development Mythbusters and Panel Discussion

The group rounded out the day with a brief presentation breaking down some common perceptions of marketing and business development by Laura Roth from Hickok Cole. She discussed how business development differs from marketing, the importance of formal and informal networking, and the idea that not everyone should be in business development. Personality, platform and positions help define the individuals in an organization that are primary actors in business development.
Laura then introduced members of the panel discussion. Previous presenters Patrick Jones and Stacey Sheperd joined Brian Miller (Edit Lab) and Greg Kearley (Inscape Studio/ Publico) to participate in an open discussion on their own experience in business development and marketing. The discussion was led by Siobhan Steen and produced a robust discussion on how each firm leader began getting work, unique lineages of client development, how to cultivate practice expertise while being open to new opportunities.

05 Panel