Tags: architecture firmscontent marketinginbound marketing
Episode 171

Inbound Marketing for Architecture Firms with Ivan Lares – Part 2

Enoch SearsOct 10, 2016

Struggle getting paid what you're worth?

Go here to watch the first half of our interview on Content and Inbound Marketing for Architecture Firms

Today Ivan Lares from Sea Level Media explains why inbound marketing can be profitable for your firm and how it helps your clients see the value of working with your firm. This is the second half of our interview.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • The big blogging mistake that firms make which turns clients away and what to do instead
  • The #1 thing that clients want from your firm right now (Hint: It’s NOT the lowest price!)
  • The most important inbound marketing tactic for small firms to attract new clients without spending a dime

Resources for today’s show:


Interview Transcript and Members Only Resources:

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Ivan Lares: The definition of marketing Enoch, is communicating the value of a product or services so it's not about making up things or lying soliciting. It's not about that. It's about communicating the existing value you already have. If you remind your marketing, if you understand it's just communicating, telling the story of your firm and communicating the value of your firm, then there's tons of ways you can do it which actually compliment your day to day work and actually help you grow with [inaudible 00:00:29].

Automated: Episode 171. This is the Business of Architecture.

Enoch Sears: Hello. I am Enoch Sears and this is the podcast for Architects where you'll discover tips, strategies and secrets for running a profitable and impactful architecture practice. Now, let's get down to business. Today is the second part of my conversation with Ivan Lares of C Level Media. We're going to be talking about content marketing, inbound marketing strategies for architecture firms. Without further ado, here's our show.

Ivan welcome back to the Business of Architecture.

Ivan Lares: Enoch, thank you for having us back.

Enoch Sears: Ivan, so last week we had the awesome opportunity to discuss and you know for you and I it's been a couple minutes because I break up these episodes. For our listeners it was last week or perhaps they just listen to the most recent episode on their mobile device. The question we addressed last week, we talked about content marketing, we talked about websites for architects and we talked about a huge shift in demographics that's happening at the top of firms, clients that our firms are working for. These architecture firms are working for. It was interesting when you started mentioning that because I've heard that from architects more and more saying I've been doing this for a long time, I've had a lot of success, I have a great portfolio, but what I'm finding is that my contacts at these companies are retiring and I'm having to start over. The question is and you said we're going to talk a little bit about inbound marketing, please define for my audience what is inbound marketing.

Ivan Lares: Sure Enoch, I'd love to. Inbound marketing is a comprehensive marketing approach. It integrates best performing marketing practices like digital marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, lead nurturing and web development. It integrates them into one cohesive strategy. Essentially to attract new visitors and convert them to project opportunities, then to nurture those project opportunities and RFP's to convert them into contracts. It is a long term sustainable marketing strategy. It will drive return on investment well into the future.

Another characteristic of inbound marketing here is that it focuses on earning the interest of people as opposed to going out and buying it. That's the difference. That is a big difference. In contrast we have inbound which aims to attract and in contrast you would have outbound which is buying. It's kind of intrusive a little bit. You pay for an ad. That's the difference between traditional marketing, TV ads, radio spots, PR, paying advertising where you kind of push services on people. I'm not going to say the word soliciting, but it definitely outbound marketing does push services on people and inbound marketing in contrast serves to earn the interest of the people. That's a huge different right there.

Inbound marketing is relatively new. It is definitely new for architecture firms and I will say this, leadership in architecture firms, they look to marketing for essentially two things. One of them is growth so they expect us to bring in more and better project opportunities and the second one is for sustainable strategies, for long term sustainable strategies. Inbound marketing attains both of those things. This is where I think architecture firms could really benefit from it because it truly is a business development strategy through a perspective of marketing.

Sometimes we'll talk to marketing teams or like I said, leadership at firms and they'll stop me and they say wow, Ivan, sounds like we're talking about business development here. In a sense, essentially we are. When marketing for architecture is viewed through a certain level of expertise it's right in line with business development objectives. That comes to something else here. Inbound marketing specialized for architecture firms and I need to emphasis the word specialize. It really is about positioning the firm as a thought leader to attract more project opportunities. It really is about nurturing those project opportunities and RFP's so they become contracts and once you have a new client it really is about satisfying that client not only through your work which is definitely the primary source of what satisfaction comes in, but also through knowledge. It really is delighting that client so one, they will bring in repeat business and they'll become a loyal client and two, they will bring in referrals. That's what inbound marketing is really about for architecture firms.

Enoch Sears: Have you seen firms that are really using inbound marketing strategies right now?

Ivan Lares: Yeah, sure. That's a great point Enoch, because that gives your audience a reference to go out there and find. This is the wonderful thing about inbound is that it works for small firms, it works for mid-sized firms and it works for really big firms. For example, you have HOK, a lot of people know of them, quite an established firm. They're doing inbound marketing and wow, they're doing it really good and they're seeing amazing results.

Let me talk about some differences here and how to leverage that. You have also a mid-sized firm that's using inbound marketing which I think is doing really good is …

Enoch Sears: I've got to pause you right there. When you said Hok, do you mean H-O-K, the firm H-O-K?

Ivan Lares: Yeah, H-O-K.

Enoch Sears: Okay, I'd just never heard it called that before. Go on.

Ivan Lares: Yeah, you're right. Yeah, HOK, we have in the mid-sized we have Array Architects. They're using inbound marketing and they're really innovative about it. They're actually using podcasts as well. They're using webinars which is interesting approach. You don't really see that too much in the industry and I think it's refreshing. There is a, I mean you have Perkins and Will, you have tons of firms and I think the key here is to differentiate for your audience the difference between I have a website and I'm writing a blog as I'm really diving into inbound marketing.

The difference is that when you're in to inbound marketing is when you really integrating all these practices into one cohesive strategy. You would have your digital marketing, you would have your content marketing. Your content marketing serves to attract and we're going to talk about some problems here that, some common problems and mistakes I would say with inbound and with content. It comes to me because of blogging. A lot of firms, when we analyze, we analyze a lot of firms. They're blogging about news so we have to remember that content without context is just information. If you're saying something like let's say Greatland, I just made that up, Greatland Architecture has just promoted three principles to Vice Presidents and so on. That is some information and then a lot firms will blog about that or they'll blog about they just completed a project.

What is the purpose of that? Why are you writing about your project completion? The purpose usually is to establish more credibility. This is our project, we have a portfolio, but we're also blogging about it so we'll get it out there. That's great, but you can't just stop there and I'll be frank. A lot of people won't when you take too much interest in that. What clients are looking for now is knowledge. They want to see that your firm has an innovative approach with design, to materials, they want to see that your firm can solve problems. That's what they really want to see in your blog, that's what they want to see your research paper. They want to see how you're attacking these problems, how you're thinking about sustainability. I would say a lot of firms need to write more about that and I know it's hard.

One of the things we get is, oh my God, how do I get principles to write because when you're talking about thought leadership in inbound marketing or in content marketing, thought leadership content marketing's a subset of content marketing and content marketing is within inbound marketing. When we're talking about thought leadership content marketing you know, marketing is not the one that's going to do the writing. This is something that we've expressed quite often. You need to really position your best professionals and get them to do the writing. They are in the day to day problems. They know how to solve them, they encounter them, they have the vision, they are really the subject matter experts. I know it's hard to get them to write so here's the takeaway for your audience.

There's three ways you can do it. By setting the topics that you're going to be talking about, by communicating to them they don't need to write, I'll be lost at 2,000 word paper, they only need little abstracts. So 500 word, 300 word abstracts. By putting a strategy behind that, say hey, you can do it once every two weeks about this topic. About the project you are in right now. That's one way. If they're not good at writing, interview them. Call them up, interview them, write it down, ghost write for them, send it back to them, they can revise it and they can approve it. Interviewing is a great way to extract that knowledge out of your professionals.

The other way would be just hey, why don't you send me some bullet points, you do the writing based on that, send it back to them. They can edit it, they can add the fine details, they can bring more depth to it and then put that out on your blog, but you really want to write on your blog about knowledge, innovative approaches. It's good to write about news, it's good to write about new projects, but don't forget knowledge.

Once people get writing, this is a great thing, this is why it's sustainable and long term. We had a couple people that actually said, thank you. By writing I'm getting more focusing, I'm getting enlightened by my own work. I'm putting this stuff down on paper, I'm feeling good, I feel like I'm growing. This is a great thing. That would be a couple of takes away there for your audience about how to get the ball rolling with thought leadership content marketing. That's a good way to do it. What else do you think we should tell [of our gamble 00:12:03] with inbound marketing. I got a couple things, I just feel like I'm rambling a bit.

Enoch Sears: Let's discuss the thing that's problem on the mind of the people who are listening to this. They're probably thinking because the thought has come to my mind too. Okay, this sounds great. I can see the benefit of doing things like inbound marketing, investing in and CSO strategy, investing in social media management, investing in content production and then investing in different marketing challenge to get that out there. The question is, is this within the budget of a small firm?

Ivan Lares:
That's a great question. That's great question. I like that. I'm going to emphasize a couple of minutes back I said specialized inbound marketing for architecture firms and I said I'm going to emphasize on the word specialized and this is why. There's thousands of agencies that offer services like content marketing and inbound marketing. There's an explosion. Even PR firms are noticing that there's a new way to do things and when you go to their websites it's now PR and, they'll say, okay now we're also doing content marketing or now we're also doing inbound marketing. With the saturation in the market you have these agencies that operate and believe that they can kind of market hundreds of businesses in many different industries without sacrificing depth of expertise and let me tell you they just can't. That's impossible. You can't just … it's just impossible, right?

What they do is, you're probably familiar with this. You get to their website and you'll see a clunky pricing table that will say something like landing pages and [inaudible 00:13:55] hosting, blogging and social media publishing, all these services that really when it comes down to it those are just tactics. They're not really what brings in, they're not really the message you should be focusing on. Those agencies are expensive and their pricing model is based on hourly rates so they're [inaudible 00:14:23] quite a bit no matter if you're small or if you're big or if you're mid sized. What you should be looking for is specialized marketing agencies or agencies that specialize in marketing for architecture firms. They understand the industry more and the difference is that typically you will find that their pricing model is based on value. What are your goals? What are you trying to reach? What is your annual revenue?

Let me break this down. Let's say has an annual revenue of a million dollars and they say marketing usually is 5% of that. How many project opportunities did you get last year? They'll say well hey, we got ten. How many past the go, no go, process? They'll say five. Okay so you went for five RFP's. How many of those RFP's did you write? Say two, so you have your average price or your average fees for that project will be $500,000. In that scenario I just gave. Then, you would say to them, how much do you want to grow in percentage, how much do you want to grow. They might say we want to grow 50%, wow that's aggressive. If you want grow 50% that would mean you want to grow $500,000 that would means basically you will need to close one more contract or one new client based on the scenario I just gave. We would say, based on that amount of growth, based on that objective, this is what needs to be done and because we're sitting down three key metrics, which I'm going to talk about these three key metrics in a second, where we have an obtainable goal.

An obtainable goal that's in line with business development, it's a revenue goal. It's not visitors, it's not likes, it's a real revenue goal. Then we say, okay well to get that 50% goal, we need to do that and this is how we're going to do it, this is how much it's going to cost. When that firm sees that it might cost $100,000, I'm just throwing some numbers okay, but they're understanding that they're going to get $400,000 in profits then that makes sense to them. When you have an agency that says it's going to be $12,000 per month and you're going to get an increase in likes and shares and visitors and that's kind of crazy. If a smaller firm even more [inaudible 00:16:57] comes in and says this is our goal. We analyze that and according to the growth goal they have is where the pricing comes in.

We often deal with firms that are 50 million dollars in annual revenue and they want to grow 20%. That's big growth. Through just [inaudible 00:17:19] it's attainable, but tons of resources are going to be put into place. If you say to me you want to grow 50%, well clearly we're going to have to invest more, clearly it's going to be more time, more professionals and the budget's going to go up. This is the type of pricing model that smaller firms should be looking for, mid-sized firms should be looking for, one that can really respond to their goals. To their revenue goals. To their business development goals.

Enoch Sears: What would a typical budget be for … How much would this cost say for a small firm. If you have a small firm, maybe a sole practitioner or maybe a firm of less than 10 people, how much would they expect to invest in a inbound marketing program that really works?

Ivan Lares: Sure. Top of mind here, usually you're looking at [ten 00:18:10] thousand dollars a month which I think that's quite high for a small firm. For mid-sized firms, they're paying that, in five marketing directors, they're paying that to PR quite often. For smaller sized firms, I think that would be a bit high so I think the way to go about it is progressively. This is the other thing, Enoch, I'm emphasizing again on a specialized inbound marketing agency, is that they must consider the faces. Where's your firm have to be?

For example, the first thing we do, the onboarding process we have is a deep dive into the current situation of the firm. If I was to dive into a firm and see that they're just starting out and maybe they don't even have one client. We would definitely have to break that down into phases. Maybe the first phase would be okay, let's work on a real differentiation strategy. Let's communicate the unique value of your firm. Let's sit down and figure out how you're going to differentiate yourself in a saturated global market. That's a big one and that phase is going to be three to four months and it's going to be this much. I wouldn't present it in a way that is, hey this is going to be $15,000 a month as it might be more attainable to a mid-sized firm because of their revenue goals.

If the firm is smaller we have to break it down into phases. I would suggest that for small firms, I would say really maybe get a marketing assessment and really push that with your firm is that way now and then break it down into phases. Start small. Start small so maybe go for a differentiation strategy. Assuming you have a website and if not, we'd have to build a website. I would then go for a little bit of content marketing so get your people writing, that's a huge one. Don't outsource the writing. Usually you outsource somebody that will communicate, that will translate the writing into more consumable types of content. That will guide the process.

Smaller firms should definitely break it down into small phases by kind of baby steps. Yes, start small, differentiate your firm, start blogging, get in the practice of writing. Visibility will come and if a firm sees that you have a well differentiated purpose, that your firm is well differentiated in the marketplace where you specialize, you really stand out. They see that you're blogging and they can see your expertise, clients will come in. Clients will come in. Social media's free. This is another big takeaway. Social media's free. Take the time to invest in really putting out your thought leadership material, your knowledge. Leverage it on social media. These are great practices for small firms.

Enoch Sears: Let's talk about some of the lower cost options because frankly $10,000 a month is going to be totally out of the reach of what we call small firms and definitely out of the reach of small practitioners. A lot of the people that listen to this show. The question is, is this totally out of the reach of small firms. Should they be doing something else or what can they do which might be within their budget, which might be at the most $2,000 to $3,000 a month.

Ivan Lares: $2,000 to $3,000 a month, great. One thing I say would be a great investment for those firms is knowledge. They can invest, there's tons of resources out there. I would invite them also, Enoch, to be a part of our Marketing Innovation for Architecture Firms community. We have a platform on LinkedIn. Actually, I think you joined that platform, we're happy to have you on board because that's a resource they can utilize for knowledge and of course it's absolutely free. It's a place for leadership, for marketing, for entrepreneurs to discuss better practices on how to market their firm. That is one resource that is absolutely free and they can get knowledge they can start to apply themselves.

Two, maybe invest in some courses. You have some great courses on your site. I think that's a great step. They're definitely accessible. I think that is a great way. Really, fill yourself up with a lot of knowledge so you get as much as you can on your own. Next, like I said, I would break it down in to small phases and I would really talk … I mean, our agency. If a small firm says, listen we have $3,000, what we would do is we would attain to that budget and break it down into phases that would [come 00:23:11] with that budget. What is your growth goal, what moves the needle for you? One client? One proposal? Let's work on that, then I would say what can you do, what can't you do?

Essentially an architect should be focusing on design, they should be focusing on innovation, on materials, focusing on their clients. That's why content marketing and inbound marketing is great because when you're blogging and far beyond just your projects, when you're blogging about what you see, the problems you see, how you plan to attain them, you're growing professionally so you're actually investing in yourself and at the same time you want to be getting visibility, you're going to be getting people following you, understanding what you do, your points of view and eventually you will get a client. That is a great practice.

Blog not only about your news, blog about knowledge, your unique views. Your unique points of views. Get them out on social media, social media is free. [Needed 00:24:18] great practices. Also, if you don't have the resources yourself, I mean personnel resources, reach out to an agency that specializes and will obtain to your firm based on value driven price models. You have $3,000, you have $2,000 a month, great. If they're listening to you and if they're willing to obtain that, that would probably be a specialized firm. One of these other firms that just want to do one package fits all approach, they probably won't do that so that's what I would say. Try to arm yourself with knowledge, do as much as you can yourself such as blogging about your unique points of view, get it out on social media, join our LinkedIn community and ask for advice there. There's tons of professionals there that would be happy to give it.

Enoch Sears: Great, thanks for addressing that Ivan. It sounds like your answer is for the smaller firms it's really a do it yourself model and strategic investment with agencies that can help them.

Ivan Lares: Yeah, I think it's about a partnership. If you don't have the budget to get [inaudible 00:25:32] see that then they shouldn't stop. They shouldn't just kind of give up. They should definitely do it themselves as much as they can. Blogging is one of them, blogging is top thing. What if you don't have the budget to build a blog and it's tough. Right? It's tough to kind of get it going, but then you have Pulse and you can blog on LinkedIn for free. Those are great things to kind of get the needle moving. That's the way to go about it I mean and if you are thinking about an agency you have, you're a small firm and you have those $2,000, $3,000, look for a firm that specializes in architecture firms and that will listen to you. That will actually say we can help you. [inaudible 00:26:11] bring this process down into phases and make it happen.

Enoch Sears: Great, look, you have an excellent resource on your website. It's an eBook you prepared, How Leading Architecture Firms Use Inbound Marketing to Engage High Value Clients and that's one of the talking points we said we would discuss is, what exactly is a high value client? How do you define that? What does that mean for your team?

Ivan Lares: Great, thank you for that question, Enoch. I think more of what is a high value client is who is a value client. A high value client is essentially those clients that throughout the years have brought in the most profitable and enjoyable work. They're also the people or the clients who our firms profitability or survival depends on. Without them our firm will lose market share and competitive advantage. A failure to earn or to retain high value clients could lead to the collapse of the firm. Using that definition and that scope on it, what you want to do is, you want to identify them and this is a great take away for your firm. There's three types of high value clients that are the most valuable. We have your loyal high value clients which are people that have forged a strong business relationship with the firm and they meet this condition also by bringing in the most profitable and enjoyable work for the firm. The projects that really align with the firm's business development strategy.

Then, you have your new high value clients. These are clients that have a young business relationship with the firm. Maybe one or two projects. They're not considered yet loyal because they don't have the time or they don't have the relationship is not as strong as it could be, but leadership identifies them because of the characteristics of their loyal high value clients, they identify these clients as potential loyal high value clients. That would be your new high value clients. Then, you have your potential high value clients. You potential high value clients are those that do not have a business relationship with the firm yet, but leadership identifies them as ultimately becoming high value clients because of their similar characteristics. These are basically, I mean sales or something would say that these are target accounts.

Where an architecture firm benefits from high value clients, and from this eBook essentially and from this strategy is that, so let's go right in to context again. Traditionally, successful firms have paved their way to success by forging strong business relationships. Those business relationships that are strengthening, they keep coming back. They bring in more repeat work, repeat business and ultimately they bring in referrals so why not have a strategy to attain that? Why not have marketing refocus on making those loyal high value clients drive referrals. The new clients converting them to loyal high value clients so they keep coming back in the future and going after the clients that fit the profile of what you foresee as bringing in the projects that best align with business development.

You do want to have a strategy and this is what it should be focused on. Architecture firms shouldn't be looking for clients in a reactive manner so it's not like whatever work comes in we should be taking in. I know that sounds kind of privileged to be in that position, it is. When you're just starting out you may just need whatever client comes in, but eventually what you want to do is sit down and think what type of projects best benefit your firm and what clients fit that profile. That's what identifying high value clients is. That's what the eBook is about. The eBook is about how do you identify them and what kind of strategy you can have to engage these high value clients and mold them each step of the way so potentially if you don't have clients, you want them to become clients. New high value clients, you want them to become loyal high value clients and loyal high value clients you want them to drive referrals. That's what the eBook is about.

I'll tell you a story here and I think it's a great example of this. There's so much knowledge out there today that you could be doing a project with clients and you could be well into the project and guess what? That client is online and he's researched and he will find a firm that's writing about that project. That firm will have its own unique points of view. It might come back to the site or they might come back to the design and they say, hey, but we want to do this differently now or we want do this this way. Your firm says, “well okay why? We think it's best to do it this way.” Then, they might start to go back and forth and then it turns out that this person's actually getting a bunch of knowledge from another firm and it's valid knowledge, it's a different point of view and now they're not seeing at all eye to eye with you.

What could essentially happen in the future is that you could lose that client. That client has been lost because of thought leadership experience. Referrals is driving the decision making process, yes, but also thought leadership is. If your firm gets a referral, it's also good you have some thought leadership material to attain that client on your website. This is where really engaging those high value clients properly comes in to play. We have a strategy. We talk about it in the eBook. A strategy for each segment so for high value clients, for loyal high value clients, the one that's been around for a long time, you really want to have content that speaks directly to their interest.

Another great strategy that your audience can apply here is that you can invite them to do co-written material so let's say you're going to do and industry research, primary research. Why don't you invite them to come in and join you? That would really forge that business relationship and they'll good about it, they'll feel like they're definitely taken into account and that together you guys are making a change in the industry that will drive referrals and that will keep them loyal.

For new high value clients, we talk about how to convert them into loyal high value clients. How can they stick around? How can we always be the firm that they come to for their repeat business. What you want to do there is to create content that empowers them. You want to have research papers, blog posts that speaks directly to the projects that they are working on. That will empower them with knowledge and when they're out in the field, they will talk about your opinions, your knowledge and they will say hey, you know what my choice is? It's these guys. These guys really know their stuff and I'm really pleased with them. They've got future for the top of mind and when a new project comes in, they will come to you.

For potential high value clients, which do not have a business relationship with the firm yet, the first thing you want to do is profile them. You really want to understand that profile of the type of clients that bring in the best work to your firm. The one that you enjoy the most that brings the most profit. Have that profile ready, go out and research clients that fit that profile. While you're doing that research, understand what they're about, what they're interested in, what they're upcoming projects are and start writing content about that. Start engaging with them online. LinkedIn is a great place to kind of reach out. It's friendly, it's not pushy, not to get people calling them.

I actually read an article on LinkedIn yesterday written by a principle and he said why we need to shift from becoming ruthless salesman. I said, “Wow, where's he working?” It seems that he had this perspective where entire architecture firms really the way they're getting new clients is just by tactic. So they're saying identify and then call them and then try to meet with them. It's just a tactics approach and it's not really about aligning our services with their interests. That's what you want to do, you want to align as best as possible your services to their interests. You're only going to do that by research them and truly understanding what those potential high value clients are looking for. Definitely marketing at architecture firms should be focusing on high value clients, on obtaining their goals in all aspects.

Enoch Sears: How much time would you say that small firms, maybe a principle who is working for him or herself right now or maybe has a couple of employees, how much time should they devote is reasonable per week on marketing efforts to get results, Ivan. I'm talking about to get results.

Ivan Lares: To get results, that's great, that's great. The first thing you want to do is make it so your marketing efforts are as much aligned as possible with your day to day work. Not to see it as something different. Not to see it as something I'm going to go in and mechanical, I'm going to go in and Tweet four times a day because that's what this blog post said over there. Not to make it mechanical and not to separate it from your day to day work. That's one thing.

If a small firm that can't devote resources just marketing, so people would just be marketing all day for them, what they should do … It's definitely a fine balance. You can't sacrifice your work, you don't want to sacrifice quality [that with 00:36:23] expertise and again that's where blogging about your experiences and your knowledge comes into play because that aligned with your day to day work. I would say typically you want to say something like 20%, but that seems high for somebody that running a small business and only really has to obtain the clients right? Its a bit high, but definitely find that balance.

I don't want to commit anybody to a number. It depends on everybody's discipline and everybody's knowledge and strategy. What I will say and my take on it is try to align your marketing as much as possible to your day to day because that's what it is. The definition of marketing is communicating the value of a product or service. It's not about making up things or lying or soliciting, it's not about that. It's about communicating the assisting value you already have. If you aligned your marketing, you understand that it's just communicating, telling the story of your firm and to me the value of your firm. There's tons of ways you can do which actually compliment your day to day work and actually help you grow as an architect.

Enoch Sears: I'm going to finish up with one question here, Ivan. This is a little bit more personal, but it's going to be a great conversation here. One of the question I get often times from architects is I'm either too young or too old. A lot of times they'll say, “All my contacts are retiring, I've been doing this for a long time, it seems like the young guys are coming up and they're taking my lunch. They have lower overhead, the get all the social media website stuff which I don't get. They can use these technologies tools like Reddit and all that stuff is kind of, I don't really want to get in to it at this point in my career.” Or the younger guys and ladies are saying how do I compete with these other architects that have so much experience? When I go meet with clients, they look at me and they say, “My, you look so young. I can't understand how you would have that experience.”

My perception of you is that you look young which is probably a benefit. I would say have you experienced this in your life as you're meeting with architecture firms and talking with them, does age come in to play and if it does, how do you deal with the fact that someone might prejudge you based upon your age?

Ivan Lares: Great. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about that. Age is a big factor. Generations are really marked by the way they think things through, logic, it's a really strong demographic. For us, one thing we find often is that we talk on [inaudible 00:39:04] which is sometimes even two generations up from us and their perspective is totally different. Sometimes it's a benefit. Say they'll look at us and they'll say these guys are probably innovative, they have another perspective, they're ready to dig into. Sometimes they'll say wait a second, but I have a Marketing Manager or Marketing Director here that has been 30 years of experience and they really know their stuff. That's true. Right?

With age it really comes down to listening, it really comes down to proving. Usually, there might be some kind of prejudgment on aging and most of our team is quite young. I'm 30 years young right now. If there is some kind of prejudgment, usually it kind of fades away within five, ten minutes of the conversation or when they read our material. That's the thing about leadership and knowledge based material. If you can communicate your values, most people won't judge. Same goes back and forth. It'd be more than rude for us to kind of judge somebody and say something like you need to emulate because your ways don't work or your ways are wrong. That's not the right approach.

We work so closely with marketing teams and architecture firms and with leadership. It's an integrated, it's a real partnership that the insights we get from clients, it's amazing. The way they've been doing business for 30 years, the way that they can get things going, they can align a team to get the writing done. They waited for [inaudible 00:40:54] I mean if it's a maturity that is unvaluable. I think it's a back and forth thing. I think there's only good things from a multi aged I guess partnership where you've got people generation and another coming in.

For those that say that they're too old or they're clients are retiring, that doesn't make sense. If you feel young man and you're getting up there and you still have that spirit in you to communicate and to bring value, that's what it's about and same with the younger folks. I think it's more, if it's a thing of arrogance or something and some younger guys want to go after the older guys and say that they're outdated or the older guys want to go with the younger guys and say they don't have experience. I think it's more of a thing of arrogance more than age. [inaudible 00:41:50] find and I don't think it should be a problem. If anybody in the audience here has ever felt like that, they should just wave it off. Nobody's too young or too old to obtain something. [crosstalk 00:42:04]

Enoch Sears: Great. Thanks for addressing that Ivan. Yeah, absolutely. We all have insecurities at some time and the message, the reason why I do this show, Ivan, is to let people know, let you know, our listener, let you know that you can succeed no matter your situation, no matter your age, no matter your experience level. That we are all surrounded by opportunities. Thank you Ivan for joining us today helping our listeners understand how they can take advantage of some of these opportunities. We look forward to keeping in touch. I will put links to the resources we talked about in today's episode on the show notes page so you're going to have to go to BusinessofArchitecture.com. Look for the episode with Ivan Lares and you will be able to see on there a link to their eBook on, and let me get the title here, on How Leading Architecture Firms Use Inbound Marketing to Engage High Value Clients and I'll also put a link there to the LinkedIn group platform that you have that they can join to become part of this conversation and learn from what you and your partners are doing over there at Sea Level Media. Thank you Ivan for joining us on the Business of Architecture today.

Ivan Lares: Thank you so much for having us. You have a great show. I think it's great what you're doing and you're building a strong community to work together with this type of platform we can really advance the practice of marketing for architecture. Thank you for the opportunity and all the best.

Enoch Sears: That is a wrap. Thank you for listening today. If you're looking for more time, freedom, impact and income as an architect, get instant access to my free four part architect profit map by visiting freearchitectgift.com. The sponsor for today's show is Arch Reach, the client relationship management tool built specifically for architects. If you want to systematize your marketing and business development, Arch Reach will help you do it. Visit ArchReach.com to learn more.

The views expressed on this show by my guests do not represent those of the host and I make no representation, promise, guarantee, pledge, warranty, contract, bond or commitment, except to help you conquer the world.


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Enoch Bartlett Sears is the founder of the Architect Business Institute, Business of Architecture and co-founder of the Architect Marketing Institute. He helps architects become category leaders in their market. Enoch hosts the #1 rated interview podcast for architects, the Business of Architecture Show where prominent guests like M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. and Thom Mayne share tips and strategies for success in architecture.


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