Engineering firms provide clients with a range of services, including professional advice, feasibility studies, plans and designs, technical services, and evaluation and management of engineering projects, according to the research firm IBISWorld. IBISWorld notes that the industry was worth $199 billion in 2013 and was forecast to return to growth with increasing demand from sectors such as construction. Developing a marketing plan will help engineering firms take advantage of sector growth.
The marketing plan begins with your marketing objectives. You may aim to increase business with existing clients, find new clients in the sectors where you currently operate or enter new market sectors. Set measurable objectives, such as increasing sales to existing clients in the mechanical engineering sector by three percent in the next twelve months. The most popular measure for marketing programs for engineering, architectural and construction firms was the number of orders or contracts, according to the Construction Marketing Association.
Carrying out market research enables you to identify and compare growth opportunities. You may find that demand for construction engineering services is increasing faster than demand in the mechanical engineering sector. Research firms such as IBISWorld publish detailed market studies that include information on market size, competitors, success factors and drivers of demand. Use the research data to identify target markets and evaluate potential competitors. The data may indicate opportunities in niche markets that large firms ignore but where you can offer specialist skills.
Your marketing plan should identify new services you need to develop to achieve your objectives. If you currently offer clients engineering consultancy services, for example, consider developing project management or implementation services to generate additional revenue. If you do not have the skills in your firm to offer new services, consider partnering with another professional firm to supplement your own resources.
The section on communications describes how you will raise the profile of your firm with clients and prospects. The Construction Marketing Association notes that, while brochures, sales material and emails were the most widely used forms of marketing, websites, branding and networking events were regarded as the most-effective initiatives. This reflects the importance of building a strong reputation, so that potential clients consider your firm when they are searching for new suppliers. You may be able to make use of marketing materials available from professional organizations such as the Institute of Industrial Engineers who offer members a set of integrated marketing services. The service includes media information, lists of relevant exhibitions, email services and advertising opportunities.