Marketing for Architects

Marketing for Architects
Lucy works exclusively with for architects

Friday, 1 March 2013

Making the most of MIPIM - it's all about people not projects

Are you going to MIPIM?  Have you done your homework?  Are you prepared to make the most of going all the way to the South of France?  Will your trip to MIPIM be a success?  Will it have been worth all that money? 
For an architectural practice, MIPIM may seem expensive but it can be very cost effective if you are focused.  For a few large practices which depend on international work, MIPIM may be their main marketing effort.  But even for small practices who work exclusively in the UK, going to Cannes may be the easiest way to get 'face-time' with potential clients. The unique thing about Cannes - is that everyone likes the idea of going there - so you can be sure the Chief Executive and Managing Directors will be present in person.  This may be the best chance of talking to the decision-maker directly.  You can find out in advance who is attending and let them know you are coming.The other aspect to MIPIM is that a lot of the action doesn't take even place in the Palais des Festivals - the journey there and back can be just the place to make new contacts - whether by bike, train or plane.  The bars along the Croisette are all good places to meet potential clients and glean valuable information about projects from breakfast time to late into the night.  And then there are the cocktails, dinners, lunches, parties on boats, in villas and hotels ... it's important to pace yourself and wear comfortable shoes!In other respect, networking at MIPIM is like anywhere else:
  • Have your message ready.  Make it short and sweet and to the point.  
  • Practice introducing your self in a single sentence.  What makes you unique? What is your point of difference?  
  • Don't forget to take several boxes of business cards to hand out - but don't bother with weighty brochures or books. 
  • I recommend thinking about what you are going to wear - there are a lot of suits - so it's an advantage  if you can stand out from the crowd.
  • It's helpful to have a note book to jot down who people are - or write directly onto the business cards you receive before you forget.
One architect who went to MIPIM for the first time last year, told me they were surprised how easy networking was at MIPIM.  Everyone is there to meet people, so they are open to being approached and starting a conversation with anyone.  Just be aware that architects are situated quite low down in the 'food-chain'.
  1. investors looking for projects to invest in or selling (completed) projects
  2. developers looking for financing for new projects or end-users (tenants) for (completed) projects
  3. cities with development sites looking for investors and developers
  4. agents looking for end-users or new owners (investors / developers)
  5. construction professionals like architects (also contractors, QS, engineers) looking for developers or investors as clients but also for information about new projects from agents, cities and others
Don't be disappointed if you don't come away with an actual job - MIPIM is about the long term.  Your objective should be to initiate, develop and nurture relationships with important decision-makers in the construction industry.  Raising your profile at MIPIM should lead to future projects coming your way.

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