Why Architect Marketing Fails (Tales From Archville, Chapter 2)

Why does architect marketing fail? Read this tale to find out why architects fail when trying to using traditional marketing techniques.

Do you know why architect marketing fails? Architects try to use traditional marketing, only to be disappointed when those methods don't work to market an architecture firm. Continue reading about Archville to discover where architect marketing goes wrong …


Archville, 6 a.m.

Suitcase in hand, the motivated architect walked across the bridge towards the locked gates of Sunshine Island.

‘Let me in!' yelled the architect, wanting to join the other architects who were earning exceptional income doing fulfilling work. These were the two requirements for living on beautiful Sunshine Island, the rich and trendy quarter of Archville.

The yelling awakened the mayor of Archville, who was also an architect living on Sunshine Island.

‘Be quiet, man!' the mayor called from his bedroom window, ‘You can visit Sunshine Island, but you cannot live here until you qualify.'

‘But I do qualify,' said the architect. ‘I’m a marketer of architectural services FIRST and an architect SECOND. I listened. I understood and have done that.'

‘Very impressive,' said the mayor, despite not sounding very impressed. ‘How many high-fee, fulfilling projects are you working on right now?'

‘Technically speaking, none at the moment, but …'

The mayor interrupted, ‘Then you cannot live here, son; you need to show some real results, not just spend money and waste your time like a fool.'

You see, the mayor knew something that the architect did not.

Knowing about marketing and marketing effectively are two different things!

‘But I AM trying and nothing is working!' protested the architect. ‘I’ve spent a lot of money on this!'

‘Tell me, exactly, what you have done.'

The architect revealed how he had rebranded his business with a new logo, updated the website and even placed ads in an expensive magazine.

‘The response has been amazing,' remarked the motivated architect. ‘So many people have mentioned that they have seen my ad. Everyone loves my new branding.'

‘Have any of these raving fans hired you?' asked the mayor.


‘Then is your marketing really working? Do you want people to compliment your new brand or do you want good fees and fulfilling projects that allow you to live in a place like Sunshine Island?'

They both already knew the answer.

‘My marketing is not working,' the architect admitted. ‘I’ve spent so much money and invested so much time that I’m almost broke. Why do I have no phone calls after all the effort?'

The next thing the mayor said almost sat the architect on his backside.

‘That’s because …

‘Marketing does not work for architects!'

The architect was so stunned and confused that he went silent and motionless for the next three minutes, gazing into space.

The architect then turned towards the mayor as if the mayor’s next sentence was going to reveal the secret that would transform his life forever (because it was).

‘You’re copying huge companies like Nike and Coke and Apple with unlimited budgets,' said the mayor. ‘You don’t sell sports shoes or fizzy drinks; you sell high-value professional services. Traditional marketing … advertising and branding … will not work for you.'

The mayor continued, ‘People don’t hire an architect because they like his or her logo. They don’t see an ad in a magazine and call an architect. This is not how people buy high-value services like ours. Why would you waste your time and spend your money on something that doesn’t bring results? You’re not selling Coke.'

Feeling foolish, the motivated architect started to justify his actions. ‘Well, a media rep told me I needed to get my name out there,' replied this very motivated architect.

‘‘Get your name out there’?' the mayor exclaimed. Now he was beginning to look agitated. ‘That’s stupid. Sounds like marketing BS that gets money out of your pocket and into the pocket of the media rep. You’ve been conned!'

The architect couldn’t argue. ‘No money and no clients – that’s me.'

The mayor explained that, for an architect,

The ONLY purpose of marketing is to get you face-to-face with prospective clients who can pay your fees!

That definition simplified everything for the architect.

‘So what type of marketing does that?' he asked.

‘Listen, my little friend, you asked me a life-changing question like that at 6:05 a.m., talking to me from a bridge. I’m going to go back to sleep. But,' he paused, reluctant, ‘if you come back here at 8 p.m. tonight, I’ll share the secret of Sunshine Island with you.'

The mayor added, ‘I like you because you’re foolish, but you’re also motivated. You remind me of me.'

And so the motivated architect decided: He was going to come back at 8 p.m. that night and NOTHING on earth was going to stop him.

‘Sunshine Island is worth it.'



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