Are Marketing Agencies Useful to AEC Firms? A Marketing Coordinator Changes Her Opinion to Yes!

As a veteran AEC Marketing Coordinator, I held a jaded view of outside AEC marketing agencies. Translating the AEC industry to traditional ad, public relations and branding agencies is difficult and costly. My one successful experience with an outside agency has been vastly outnumbered by deep frustrations and contract terminations.

So, when the opportunity for me to work at Smartegies presented itself, I jumped on the train. The AEC industry has been greatly underserved by the traditional marketing agencies and I felt that I could offer my two cents worth. Now having worked for Smartegies for three months, I am energized by working with my fellow AEC marketing veterans to finally fill the gap for the firms I have known and respected.

Here are my initial observations and discoveries how Smartegies can complement and improve in-house marketing capabilities for AEC companies.


A firm immediately gains an objective point of view when they employ an agency. Being constantly in the trenches of marketing and getting work done greatly reduces leadership’s horizons. Additionally, it is challenging to remain objective despite the work politics and stale processes/procedures. Almost immediately when I began to work at Smartegies, I can look at my clients’ work and offer an unbiased viewpoint about what works and doesn’t work.

Firmly Holding Onto the Vision for Others

Being a detached team player also can reveal hidden potential. I am amazed to witness C-level executives unaware of the esteem and thought leadership they hold in their hands. To hear, “I’ve never thought of that!” is so rewarding. What’s even more rewarding than giving someone a larger vision is to work alongside with them to achieve it.

Being the Missing Link

Schools do not require marketing classes for students in the AEC professions, and not many firms started with marketing executives on the payroll. AEC firms can become very successful without either of these. However more often than not, there is a critical point when the administration wants to take their firm to the next level and doesn’t know how to get there. As an agency, we are in a great position to show clients how to bridge their present to their desired future with strategy, feasible tasks and an extra set of hands to surpass their expectations.

Improving the Marketing Game

Working for an outside AEC marketing agency, I help not just one, but many firms improve their marketing capabilities. We are constantly providing clients honest assessments, implementing marketing plans and providing strategic creative that they could not otherwise do on their own or do as efficiently. Ultimately, I feel like I play my part part in improving the marketing game across disciplines throughout the Southeast.