Jeff Krieger: Sunshine Island Hero of the Month

Struggling to get quality clients? Welcome to Part 1 of the Sunshine Island Hero of the Month series, which highlights the marketing success of architect Jeff Krieger.

Welcome to Part 1 of the Sunshine Island Hero of the Month series, which highlights the marketing of architect Jeff Krieger. We celebrate the way he takes action and gets results. Sunshine Island is based on AMI marketing coach Richard Petrie's story about the mystical city of Archville … where architects can live in the Old Quarter, the Artists Quarter, the New Quarter, or the best quarter … Sunshine Island.

On the island, architects win projects that bring fulfillment AND earn high fees doing them. When “living” anywhere else, architects typically struggle to find clients, are afraid to ask for the fees they deserve and spend a lot of time doing work for free.

Architect Marketing Institute provides the tools, resources and mindset to move from whatever quarter you are now to Sunshine Island. Jeff, here, uses those tools wisely. Let’s find out how he made his way to the paradise where every architect can find success.

This is Jeff’s story.

When Jeff Krieger started his Pittsburgh firm in 1992, he tried marketing on his own. But he couldn’t get motivated. No one was keeping him accountable, and, like many architects, Jeff was busy trying to stay afloat. 

The right clients just wouldn’t appear on his doorstep. The problem was, he admits, “In my mind, marketing was selling and selling was something I avoided. Architects are supposed to do good work and clients would magically be drawn to us.”

So his small firm continued to struggle to get clients who care for quality design. Fresh off the recession and a health scare, Jeff was ready to recharge. 

Jeff heard about the Architect Marketing Institute and arrived, skeptical, at the New York City Business Development Summit in 2016. 

Halfway through, he wasn’t sure the teachings were right for him because the first couple of seminars focused on niche marketing … and Jeff had spent 25 years building a generalist practice. 

But then Richard showed how specialization would help Jeff build on this. Jeff could have the best of both worlds. 

Actually, Jeff realized, he did not need to become a specialist firm, rather his marketing needed to be specialist in its communication. Marketing is like fishing, if you want to catch three fish then you need three dedicated fishing rods in the right location with the right bait. This made sense to Jeff.

“Richard deconstructed my objections to marketing and made me realize that my distaste for marketing was rooted in a fear of rejection,” he explains. “He enabled me to change my mindset by considering marketing not as selling but as client education.” 

Shifting mindset, as always, brings success. The firm is now known for transforming the Philadelphia area’s large historic homes, melding history with modern life.

In addition, he has gained a community of peers and a healthier practice. His firm has grown its network of clients and referrers. Jeff now gets paid for initial consultations that he used to do for free. 

As a result, today Jeff’s busy with clients who appreciate his niche design skills. Jeff stays in touch with his network through monthly newsletters. “The Dirty 30 strategy is perfect for staying in touch with existing clients,” he says.

For the people Jeff wants to reach, the firm writes customized blog content. Even better, he has strategies to connect with prospects before they know they need an architect. 

Always striving to achieve a balance between work, family life, teaching, recreation and travel, he just got back from cycling in Montana, ready to return to his projects. 

Professional success, for Jeff, means landing projects that rekindle his passion for architectural design. The work he’s doing now makes an impact and inspires both his team and his clients. 

“We do projects that remind me of why I decided to become an architect and why I wanted to start my own architecture firm,” he says. “Our clients engage in the process yet trust our practical knowledge and creative instincts.”

Jeff says things have gotten better — a lot better.

All because Jeff now realizes he has TWO jobs:

  1. Marketer of architectural services 
  2. Architect 

Jeff Krieger is this month's Sunshine Island Hero of the Month.


About Jeff

Jeff Krieger possesses a love of the historic and of the modern. At once easy-going and intense, client-focused and collaborative, he brings it all together with his trademark “clarity” at Krieger + Associates. Founded in 1992, the award-winning Philadelphia firm specializes in custom residential projects in the Philadelphia area, and from Florida to Maine. One part of the practice focuses on new homes in established neighborhoods; another, adapting older homes to new patterns of family life. Highlights in his career include working with famed architect Frank Gehry on the Lewis Library at Princeton University, Jeff’s undergraduate alma mater. Another, winning several of the coveted Chrysalis Awards and Society of American Registered Architects Awards for residential design. 

For 30 years, Jeff has also taught design in high school and college-level studios, including at Drexel University. He serves on the board of the first charter high school in the country to have a design education curriculum. Building on his graduate work at Carnegie Mellon University, Jeff has continued his own education, taking classes at the Harvard School of Design. He cycles 3,500 miles a year and is a founding member of the non-profit, Breakthrough Bike Challenge, that raised $500,000 for cancer research in just three years. Jeff and his wife have two grown children currently on their own pursuit of lifelong learning.

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