Susan Gray, National Director of Marketing and Work Acquisition
Shawmut Design & Construction, Boston, MA
The marketing team is responsible for market research, advertising, public relations, sales, and client service. Coordination of strategic business planning, including the development and implementation of a company marketing plan, is usually the marketing manager's responsibility. An important area of activity is the day-to-day identification of new business opportunities, whether private clients or bid work. The manager is not a sales person in the usual sense. Trust, confidence, and relationships are primary to the sale. Building the public's awareness and recognition of the company is also the marketing manager's job. Communications and people skills are essential for the job, along with an optimistic and strong self-starting attitude to keep tracking down construction leads and knocking on doors. This position invites creativity and strong problem-solving skills, and requires an individual capable of juggling many activities (leads) at the same time. It is a necessity that the marketing team be able to get all employees involved in the marketing process.
There are two schools of thought on the type of background a marketing manager needs in order to be successful. Many construction executives believe it's best to hire a non-technical college graduate with prior sales experience, regardless of the type of sales involved. Others advocate the training of an energetic, personable project manager or anyone with a construction background and a sales personality. Both methods have been successful. A college degree and excellent writing and public speaking skills are desirable. As owners and developers (buyers of construction services) become more knowledgeable and increasingly hire their own consultants with construction experience, knowledge of construction systems may, however, become a prerequisite for the construction firm's marketing manager position.
Marketing managers often have the title of Vice President, and are considered part of the company's upper management team. If successful, their income is usually among the top two or three in the company. They sometimes become chief executive officer of their construction firm or owner of a construction company.