SMPS Dream Big ConferenceAs in past years, the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) provided the perfect stage for marketers of all levels and from all over the US and Canada to learn, share and connect at their Build Business 2013 annual conference from July 31st to August 2nd in Orlando. This group of marketers from the architecture, engineering and construction industry celebrated a year’s worth of collaboration and hard work from SMPS chapters and their leaders. The tag line of this year’s event was Dream Big and the educational program made up of keynotes, workshops and breakout sessions definitely supported this theme.

Over 750 came to hear experts speak on a variety of topics ranging from blogging and content marketing, social media, and of course, proposal writing best practices. But with over more than half of the workshops and breakout sessions focused on leadership of all types, I recognized a change in the focus of the marketer, and their role in helping their firms succeed.

I recently posted a six-part series of articles focused on helping marketers in the A&E space to take a more strategic approach to their firm’s success. I discuss the challenges of overcoming the outdated culture in the A&E firm that views marketing as a proposal writing function, and often does not include their marketing staff in their strategic planning process.

However that is not the case for the marketing professionals that attended SMSP Build Business 2013 this year. This group represents a different breed of marketer that is confident, experienced, and intent on being a pivotal leader in their organizations.

This trend is even more apparent at the annual awards gala where SMPS chapter members and leaders are recognized for their role in their firm’s project wins, quality of collateral, brand, and online presence. Many who were recognized, such as Kathryn Mulanney, President of the SMPS Chicago chapter, and Director of Business Development at Cotter Consulting, gave an emotional acceptance speech for her award as Chapter President of the Year. Here are Kate’s sentiments about the Chicago chapter’s accomplishments this year, and the recognition of her efforts by SMPS National at the conference:

I’m so proud of what the Chicago Chapter achieved for our members this year, and it is surely a direct result of the efforts and leadership we have had over the past several years – Board leadership, as well as passionate, accountable volunteer-leaders. One of our cornerstone initiatives this past year was creating a free leadership symposium as a thank you to chapter volunteers for giving back to the Chapter. It was just a tremendous honor to be recognized among our peers and chapter partners at the Conference Gala.

What impressed me the most at the conference was the focus on improvement, and openness of the members to help each other succeed. Even competitors work together in this environment to collaborate in the spirit of raising the bar for the marketing profession and success in the A&E industry.


Ron Worth, CEO of SMPS, is a constant supporter of the organization’s members, and the annual conference. Ron is very proud of the conference and its growing success and increased attendance year over year:

The cards, emails and messages we have received to date, all illustrate that Build Business 2013 in Orlando was one of the best ever.  The speaker ratings were off the charts, and the venue was fun and convenient.  We were blessed again with amazing sponsors and exhibitors.  Several new authors and their publications were highlighted providing valuable and relevant new methods to enhance everyone’s ROI.  The Marketing Communications Gala continues to impress me with the quality of the marketing effort that is evolving within the AEC Industry, from social media, to websites, to thought leadership.  I always leave motivated, enthusiastic about tomorrow and thrilled to play my small part in helping to making it all happen.

If you have not attended the Build Business event I highly recommend that you look into attending the 2014 event in San Antonio next summer. By getting involved in your local chapter, you can start to increase your own network of A&E marketers, and be ready just in time to for the ultimate networking event at next year’s awards gala.

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