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Standing Out in the Age of Choice

By Brent D. Robertson (Industrial Management, Nov/Dec 2014)

In an age of choice, the old story often fails to do the job of holding on to and generating new clients for engineering enterprises. In a world where your biggest and smallest competitors are only a click away, It pays to survey your organization, find out what you stand for, and make sure that you tell a story that Is engaging and different.

The Difference Is Your Story

To stand out in a marketplace that is in constant flux requires a different way of thinking about how we present our organizations. Traditional corporate "stories" are not cutting it in the market- place anymore.

For instance, companies typically talk about the services they provide and projects they have completed. But this type of story is no longer effective. The company's story needs to be grounded in why it does what it does. Companies need to declare why their work is important, and to stand out as the obvious choice they need to tailor those messages to decision-makers.

Let's explore what has changed in the marketplace and offer a formula for how organizations can begin to present their story in a clear, relevant and differentiated way.

The paralysis of choice

Download the complete article here. the age of choice, clients have more options to choose from various engineering enterprises than ever before. The rise of digital communications has given micro-companies the ability to scale their services (and their perceived size) through virtual teams. Consolidation in the industry has created giant national engineering organizations that feed their demand for growth by diving deeper into smaller ponds, places where the midsized companies traditionally have flourished.

Now, clients are being pursued by more competitors than ever before. And if a company is not in front of it, what was once the organization's unique selling proposition or story no longer stands out.

To compete in this environment, an engineering company's marketers also have more platforms through which to tell their stories. Ever-increasing options such as marketing automation and lead generation platforms, social media and video, along with the plethora of more traditional methods, can paralyze an organization that is trying to figure out which marketing platforms to invest in. Even if organizations are able to make good choices and utilize these platforms to tell their story, there's the question of performance. Is it generating the kind of business relationships it is seeking? Is it generating any at all?

What it all boils down to is noise. How are potential clients to choose the right company when they are hearing virtually identical stories from more organizations on more marketing platforms than ever before?

Think of it like trying to find something on satellite radio that really connects with you. You scan the stations one after another in rapid sequence, skipping over the typical commercial fare until you find something unique, something different. Something about that station broke through the noise, even though it was just another station that reached you using the same platform as other stations. That station stood out because it wasn't interested in broadcasting to the masses. It was only interested in broadcasting to you and others like you. It had a story to tell and presented it loudly and clearly.

In the engineering space, most organizations' stories sound similar to all the others.

In the engineering space, most organizations' stories sound similar to all the others. In the past, that was OK because most organizations represented the regional pick, or they might have been experts in a particular field. But in the age of choice, no matter how many marketing platforms a company may use to tell its story, if the story isn't clear, relevant and differentiated, it is just adding to the noise.

The scenario above is akin to a client blindly searching for an engineering organization among the plethora available. But in the real world, most clients already have personal connections, experiences and relationships with an organization. And clients who hire engineering organizations tend to be a conservative bunch, so for better or worse, they often go with the devil they know over the one they don't.

Download the complete article here.

 

Brent Robertson, Partner at Fathom
A partner with Fathom, in CT, Brent Robertson works with A/E/C firms to establish relationships vital to success. He helps clients experience more demand, more choice, and more fulfillment. Reach him at 860.986.7591 or brentr@fathom.net.