Interested in submitting a blog post?

Email us at:

Sign Up for Our Mailing List




Build Business 2017 Takeaways

Build Business is the premier A/E/C Marketing and Business Development Conference that brings together hundreds of marketers, business developers, principals and firm owners. This year’s Build Business had a few new features and a lot of great information!

What was new this year?

  • Three-day conference: Build Business started earlier this year (at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 12) with immersive learning, workshops, and never-before-seen presentations

  • MAX (Market.Act.eXchange): The popular, short-form presentations are back—but this year, they were on the Main Stage! 

  • Digital Skills Lab: Instructor-led, hands-on training makes its debut with technology-based programs such as InDesign and Photoshop (Yes!) 

  • Mind Exchange: Roundtable discussions with the latest topics facilitated by industry experts

  • Evening of Excellence: Reinvented awards presentation focuses on recognition, inspiration, and more networking opportunities

Several of our Arizona Chapter members had the opportunity to attend Build Business this year and came back with great tips! See below:

Data Tells, Stories Sell

Data is about connection, not necessarily perfection. Data doesn’t say much until it is interpreted. Evidence SPEAKS:

S – stories
P – personal examples
E – expert testimony
A – analogies
K – killer quotes
S – statistics & facts

The Best Leaders Prioritize Effectively

According to CJ McClanahan, there are five levels of commitment that we can attach to tasks and life. Prioritize your tasks by assigning a level to them: 

  1. No – not doing it!
  2. Wishing and wanting to do it.
  3. “I’ll try.” (We all know this really means “no”.
  4.  I’m committed, unless something else more important comes up.
  5. Absolutely! Whatever it takes!

Most people feel the exact same way as you do – swamped and unsure of how to get everything done. Prioritize effectively and you’ll always feel ahead of the game.

  1. Plan your week in advance – Less than 5% of professionals plan their week in advance because odds are, it’s going to change. Plan out your week so that you always get your most crucial tasks completed on time. How? Monday morning sit down and write down five things that hold the top priority level. Then, get them done.
  2. Eat that Frog – Yep, you heard me. Complete the task you don’t want to do, first.  Just get it done first.  It’s all downhill after that.  Try to avoid the fake conversation with yourself late on Tuesday afternoon. You know, the one where you’re telling yourself you’ll be “in the mood” to work on that task tomorrow. Chances are you won’t be “in the mood” tomorrow. Attitude second, priority first.
  3. Reduce Distractions - Distraction number one is your coworkers.  Resolution – shut your door!  No door?  Put in headphones.  Send a do not disturb signal to your coworkers.  Create an environment where you are not accessible to everyone, all of the time.  If you are working on something that requires total concentration, do not allow yourself to be distracted or fully accessible to other people. Distraction number two is your cell phone and number three is email.  We are addicted to interruptions.  Studies show e-mail is destructive for productivity. Studies show, when you are interrupted, it takes 7 to 21 minutes to refocus your brain on what you were doing originally.  Want proof? How many times have you stayed late and been way more productive in those last hours when no one is in the office than you were the entire day?
  4. Write things down in a notebook - Sticky notes are not to-do lists.  Microsoft Outlook is not a to-do list.  Canary pads are not a to-do list.  Get a special notebook and take it with you everywhere and use that as your to-do list.  When people ask you to do things, write them down, in one place, and then get back to what you were doing.  Then, at the end of the day, you can revisit that list and ensure nothing is forgotten.
  5. Stop saying yes to everything – Consider the level of importance of tasks you’re requested to do and how well they tie in to your job description. If you are asked to do something that is not part of your job or not important, you CAN say no to it. You can’t do everything. Something has to take a priority.  Your priority is quality not quantity. 

Values-based Hiring Leads to Higher Employee Engagement and Lower Turnover

Ever wonder why some people just seem to be a “fit” in your firm and others are like poison apples? Perhaps it is because you are focusing just on an employee’s skill set and not how their values align with your firm’s values. By utilizing behavioral and experiential interview processes, and including questions on your firms’ values in the application process, you are much more likely to find the right match. How does marketing fit into this? Well, we are the brand ambassadors, meaning it is our job to help HR (and our entire firms) to understand the mission, vision, and core values.

You can work with HR to ensure that the application process includes questions on your application. You can be a part of the interview experience by creating a “values exercise.” Your employees have an effect on everything that you do. In order to communicate your culture to a potential employee, ask cultural questions such as “What attracts you to our company?” or “What do you know about us?”

You can make sure your office is clearly expressing your values through internal marketing such as naming your conference rooms after your core values or having signage that shows employees what those values look like. Lastly, you can create an internal marketing campaign to reward employees who are living the core values through their work. You cannot stop people from leaving the firm, but you can create an environment they don’t want to leave. Retention ideas include hand written notes from the CEO, golden anniversary gifts, one on one meetings each week, and a “years of service” wall in your office.

Untapped Marketing Power of the Infographics

Why infographics?

  • We’re visually wired - Almost 50% of your brain is involved in visual processing.

  • It’s more persuasive: In a Wharton School of Business study, 67% of the audience was persuaded by the verbal presentation with accompanying visuals.

  • Infographics are easier to recall: People remember 80% of what they see and do, versus 20% of what they read and 10% of what they hear.

How to Create an Infographic:

Start with an Infographic Go-No Go. Ask yourself the following questions: Why is this needed? Who is it for? What should they know after seeing it? What is the topic? Finally, where should it be shared? Once an infographic has received the “go,” collect the data and find your narrative for the infographic. Next steps include creating a mockup, design edits, and lastly, testing the effectiveness of your infographic.

Infographic Tool Recommendations:

Marketing Communications Awards

Wow! There were some fantastic and brilliant ideas that came out of the MCA’s this year. If haven’t had a chance to see the finalists and award winners visit You’re sure to walk away with a few dozen ideas for your firm. 

Thank you to our local members for providing great tips from this year’s Build Business Conference!

Build Business is a great conference that brings A/E/C clients, content experts, principals, business developers and marketers together to learn from and challenge one another to think differently about business. It looks like many of our fellow SMPS members were able to learn from others and provide the rest of our chapter with some great tools to “build yourself, build your firm and build the world.”

Did you attend Build Business? Do you have additional takeaways you’d like to share with the chapter? Please, comment below and share your knowledge!

Ashley Black
Marketing Administrator, Ryan Companies US, Inc.

Ashley joined the AEC industry in January 2015 and became a member of SMPS shortly after. She is the current Blog Chair and a member on the hospitality committee. Ashley loves hot yoga, basketball, cooking and spending time with her newborn niece, Halle. 


Return to list



    Leave a Comment