Staying connected is important—a message from SMPS HQ leadership

March 17, 2020

Here at SMPS HQ, we want to express a spirit of solidarity and to share with you the support you can expect from us in the coming weeks.

Throughout our membership, people have the mandate to work at home full-time (perhaps a first-time experience for some) and many of our members are seeking ways to continue the business of their firms in thoughtful and responsible ways. Our professional team and volunteers are already developing content specifically to help you lead in the current environment. Along with the development of new content, we are making our latest online program available to you at no charge.

Members can get started today with our new A/E/Courses: use promo code HQcares2020 through May 31, 2020.

We know most of our chapters are canceling their events in the immediate future and considering what to do in the long term (probably through the end of the summer). We are also committed to providing our chapters the support they need.

During these challenging times, staying connected with each other is so important. When we cannot get together in-person, let’s do so online. For example, HQ is hosting a conversation thread in MySMPS to share and collect ideas on how to do business. Members are talking about how to work at home, implement business development strategies remotely, and developing crisis communications plans, for example. Please join this group today.

We are dedicated to your success. In the coming months, if you need assistance, please let us know at [email protected].

Please look for future correspondence from the Society as we continue to support you and your firm. In the meantime, thank you for your membership and resiliency.

Most sincerely,

Melissa Lutz, FSMPS, CPSM

Michael V. Geary, CAE
Chief Executive Officer

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March 2020 Events - Postponed

Message from the SMPS Oklahoma President

Our Hard Hat Tour and Mixology events scheduled for March 24th are POSTPONED (not canceled).  The health and well-being of our membership and the professionals in our A/E/C industry are top priority and we feel this is the most prudent course of action. 

Be on the lookout for the new date for both of these exciting events.  Our events, scheduled in April, are still on!  We appreciate your understanding and flexibility.

If you have already registered for these events, your registration will remain standing for the re-scheduled event.  If you require a refund, please email [email protected]

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Event Recap: Marketing Resolution 2019

2019 Marketing Resolutions | Nailing the Interview

What it takes to really win and win big! Bringing together the right message, the right team, and the right pitch

Frank Lippert, FSMPS, CPSM and Kathryn Ness, CPSM, Go Strategies

Great coaching skills are one thing, but there is so much more to a winning interview. The message must resonate with the client, but, almost as important, it must resonate with the team presenting it. The team has to gel, come together, support each other, and sometimes save one another. That doesn’t just happen. Marketers don’t just put the right people in a room, coach them to like each other, and believe a message they crafted – it’s much more, especially when you really nail it! Come learn how to craft a message for the interview that everyone believes in and wants. Learn how to pull a team together and develop chemistry that triumphs over those dreaded interview scenarios. Come learn how to sell it by just being real, being the best you can be, and by being on point. This is not about interview coaching – there are a lot experts that teach that – this is about creating a story and telling it so that everyone buys in and votes “yes!”

How do you win work?

By standing out amongst the rest. 

What does an rfp look like?

10-12 pages, 1-2 pages about the project  , Several pages of Legalese, 1-2 pages of instruction, Due date

In reality, it's this

2 inch binder, Lots of meeting notes, Several pages of Legalese, Maps, drawings, sketches, diagrams, Due dates, plural

winning firms have this

Volume of data:

2 inch binder, Lots of meeting notes, Teaming agreements, Maps, drawings, sketches, diagrams, Due dates, plural

what the client really wants: an apple

The apple that continues to deliver and “feed” the community and growth that will come from project.


knowing the pursuit

pursuit planning basics

  • Scalable, get in front of 3-6 months in advance
  • Develop a schedule and get commitment early
  • Hold to budget and schedule
  • Living documents
  • Probably means less proposals, but more winning proposals 
  • Quote me on it: “Investing upfront = less investment, more wins

decision maker breakdown

See spreadsheet, collect the facts, read the news etc., figure out what those connections are. How will you approach them?

decision maker breakdown

Social Styles:

  • Driver
  • Expressive
  • Amiable
  • Analytical

decision maker breakdown

See provided Decision Maker Breakdown spreadsheet

key point discovery template

How those people will fit into the project:

  • Management
  • Technical
  • Partnership / Agency  > getting to know other agencies influencing project
  • Public > how this will affect the public, controversy
  • Environmental > Impacts on the surrounding environment etc.
  • Political >
  • Psychological > The “weird” stuff that happens during a project

key point discovery template

Put together an excel spreadsheet (See provided spreadsheet), How much experience does your team bring, education styles etc.

winning team qualifications analysis

See provided Team Qualifications Analysis Spreadsheet

What type of experience does the client want?

ie: “project manager has to have a degree in a certain study”

  • Availability of your team
  • What info needs to be gathered?
  • Qualifications form > separate meeting with team
  • Think about current projects in the office as they may impact this project

winning team qualifications analysis


Management Structure > ie: One person in charge, not a large team

winning team qualifications analysis

Compare winning team and your team strengths and weaknesses

Team > Have honest conversations with team, Gap analysis

Strengths ie: List major abilities

Weaknesses ie: bad listener etc.

winning team qualifications analysis

The Home Team Stack-Up

  • Competition
  • Game Plan
  • Consider bringing competitor’s branding visuals into your team meetings. This will most likely trigger a different head space for your team.
  • If you hire on people who used to work for clients, potential clients, or competition, within the first week, pick their brain about their experience there.
  • If game plan is weak, it's okay to call it a no-go – proposals are expensive and time consuming
  • Why should we bother de-briefing after a proposal? To narrow down what went wrong or what went right. The client typically won't tell you if you lost.

pursuit planning basics


  • 3-6 month lead time
  • Develop a schedule and get commitment early
  • Hold to your budget and schedule
  • Living Documents
  • Reduce “clone” proposals and make your approach more strategic


Storyboarding a great message

Walt Disney pioneered this process

Bring in items that inspire creativity ie: box of crayons, sharpies, change up the space – consider standing, not sitting


  • Defines the problem and solution (big picture)
  • Lays out your specific approach
  • Memorable, but not always catchy
  • Succint, but not always “aha!”
  • Don’t over think it

key messages:

  • Identify the key messages: Acquired through listening to the client
  • Differentiator messages start here!!!
  • Challenges of the project
  • Important aspects of the project

There must be:

-       From the client’s mouth

-       Triangulated

-       Tested

Storyboarding – Concepts, gains, evidence

  • Concepts > How will you relieve each pain point?
  • Gains> What does the client gain?
  • Evidence> Where have you done it before?


Storyboarding – Concepts (A)

This is where problem-solvers thrive, let the team talk it out because they are actually practicing the interview Q&A portion

It's the “how” part of the story

  • Get geeky
  • Spend time here
  • Let the technical professionals talk this out at length


Storyboarding – Gains (B)

  • Juicy Stuff
  • Clients eat this up
  • This is where the client goes “aha!”
  • It’s the “why!”
  • You CANNOT teach the client something new in your proposal


Storyboarding – evidence (c

  • The proofs
  • Photoraphy and stories
  • Testimonials
  • Video (a plus when submitting electronically)
  • Captioning “This is why we are doing this”


Storyboarding – Conclusive pitch

  • Tell them what you told them!
  • Tell them why you are the best team to do the job!
  • Sell them with your knowledge AND your enthusiasm
  • Ask for it



  • Alignment with their vision.
  • Moving together.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
  • Creativity – problem solving in new ways.

What’s out?

  • Regurgitation of the proposal.
  • “Dog and pony show”
  • PowerPoints
  • Hard sells

What’s in?

  • Collaboration
  • Strategic Surprises
  • Interactive discussions with interviewers
  • Problem solving strategies


Questions to ask when you make the shortlist


How did we rank?

How many firms submitted and how many were shortlisted?


            What can we expand/improve on?

            Why were we selected?

            Any specific concerns?


            Was there anything specific you would like us to cover in the interview?

            Has anything changed since the RFP?


            How many selection committee members?

            Where will the interview be and can we come see the room?


            How creative can we be with the interview?

            Can we rearrange the room?

            Can we make the interview interactive?

            Can we bring someone to observe/run PowerPoint (Marketing person)

Interview Prep

It is all about building relationships with interview members.

-       Grab coffee, lunch, dinner – anything to get out of the office.


-       Work together like a sports team.

o   Focus on goals, not individuals

o   Recruit the right players

o   Celebrate EVERY success!

-       Start training as early as possible.

-       Provide clear roles to each person

-       Expectations should be clearly defined


Visit the site together as a team. Envision the project! Provide food during prep meetings (people relax while they eat). Let people tell their stories, and LISTEN intentionally.

Fixing Broken teams

  • Be direct. Talk it out.
  • Be all-inclusive to team members.
  • Be empathetic when having difficult conversations.

Signs that you’ve got it

Laughter, fun, high fives, social media connections, increased empathy.

Signs that you need to keep working on it

  • The meetings drag on, and on, and on….
  • Eye rolling
  • Lack of interest (checking email, opening laptops)
  • Showing up late for prep

Starting Interview Prep

  • Go back to your storyboard! Put it on the wall, and start making talking points based on your proposal.
  • There should be 3 to 5 scheduled rehearsals before every interview. Start early!
  • Visit the site as a team, to envision the project.
  • Set deadlines – graphics, wording, info, etc.


People – them

  • Map out who you know/think attends the interview.
  • Show the team LinkedIn pictures for the people who will be interviewing.
  • Where are the influences who won’t be in the interview?

People – us

  • Map out team members who will have chemistry with their team members.
  • Who do you think our competition is bringing?
  • Introduce your neighbor, not yourself.
  • (Interviewer women should be matched with interviewee women, interviewer minorities should be matched with interviewee minorities, etc.)


Know the interview room layout! Taylor your presentation based on the room layout.

Talking points

Rough it out… but keep it simple. Use what works best for each team member.

Know the material! You can’t fake it.

Rehearsal #1

  • It will be hard to listen to/sit through. That’s ok!
  • It will drag on.
  • Schedule for double the allowed time-limit.
  • EVERYONE must be there.

Rehearsals to follow:

  • They should get smoother with each rehearsal.
  • Transitions and words get smoother, more natural.
  • EVERYONE must rehearse.
  • Time yourself at every rehearsal.
  • Ask the team about their attire – make sure it’s cleaned, pressed, ready to wear!
  • Use evenings wisely – help the team unwind and bind.
  • Talk to team members about their crutch words/awkward tendencies (nicely)

*Use a mock-panel with other co-workers. Have them ask real questions, without warning the team what they will be. Make the interviewees uncomfortable, so they will feel comfortable at the real interview.

Final rehearsal

  • Morning of, if possible.
  • Come dressed in your interview attire.
  • Time it!
  • Practice your eye contact and smiling.
  • Cheer each other on!


  • Be a giver, not a taker.
  • Be genuine.
  • Pause after key statements.
  • Short and sweet answers
  • Engage the interviewers

After the interview

  • Debrief with the team.
  • Write down Q’s and A’s that were asked.
  • Critique the interview *before* you get feedback from the interviewers.

Six lessons learned

  1. Keep the win-messages at top of mind
  2. Set daily agendas with goals (what by when)
  3. Be flexible, adjust to energy levels (work/life balance) (bend with the team)
  4. Build team chemistry (laugh/encourage)
  5. Technical expertise is important, but needs to mix with human side (empathy).
  6. Practice, practice, practice!
  7. Your competitors are!

Handout 1

Handout 2

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Event Recap: Personal Branding


Personal Branding – What, Why, How
Xavier Neira, Manhattan Construction Company (presenting for Rachel Mann, American Fidelity)

Marketing professionals spend their days supporting the brands of their companies but can struggle with creating their own personal brand. Having a personal brand will aide in our success both personally and professional. To create your personal brand, you must first understand the difference between a brand and a label. A brand proceeds you, a label follows you. Your brand although may align with your companies, will be a representation of you, not your company. These six easy steps will assist in you finding your personal brand.
Most importantly, BE YOU!

Ask yourself:

-What do you cherish?
-What do you support in the community?
-What do you value for yourself?
-Do you value your rest?
-What hobbies do you want to make time for outside work?

-What do you bring to the table?
-What can you offer that makes you unique?
-Helpful websites:
How to Fascinate?

How do you distinguish your brand from your company’s? Share with important people in your life. Gather feedback. Peers may recognize different strong suites than you might.

It’s okay to say NO. Ask yourself if the opportunity aligns with your brand? Stand with your values and filter everything through your brand values.

Attend and engage in events and groups that support your values. When someone asks what you do, share your brand statement (keep it natural). Don’t forget to use business cards. Promote your personal brand through an online presence. Photos and posts should be professional but reflect your personality. It’s great to share your passions and values but don’t only self-promote. Remember to post with purpose. What you had for breakfast doesn’t promote your brand!

-Use Canva to create your brands look and feel.
-Get a memorable headshot -professional but fun!

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Event Recap: Local Media Panel


On Tuesday, September 11th we had the pleasure of hearing from some of the most well-known news outlets in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Panelists Molly Fleming from The Journal Record, Jason Collington from The Tulsa World and Meagan Farley from Newson6 told the audience what it takes to get our stories publicity. Detailed questions and answers can be found below.

Is the press release dead?
• Building relationships are very important
• Press releases are welcomed but if you have a personal relationship it will help your story get heard
• They are always looking for stories so send everything
• Building a relationship and talking to someone over phone or coffee will communicate story better than a press release
• Clearly communicate what the news is and be sure to find the right person to get it to – reporters are clearly labeled on websites.

Other than companies reaching out, where else do you get your story ideas?
• Paying attention to trends
• Getting lost in our own cities and seeing signs around town
• AIA meetings
• Leasing transaction from brokers
• Bills from legislators
• Tulsa World has a software for social media for certain words and people that will notify them of alerts
• City Council agendas/meetings
• By approaching developers to try to get to them for stories before actual groundbreaking

What are your thoughts on saying “no comment” when approached by reporters?
• No comment is a bad idea. You are just saying you don’t want to say anything right now but are delaying it which makes the reporter know they just haven’t found everything out yet, which makes them dig more
• Goes back to relationship building. Let the reporters know what is going on and explain why it can’t get out yet. They will sit on the story until you are ready as long as you tell them why and let them know when they can release it
• “Off the record” is just as bad as “no comment.” Reporters are not here to make anyone look bad, just communicate like normal people.
• If anything is public record it is going to be talked about so you might as well talk about it.
• No comment = what are you up to

What time should we contact you with a lead or press release? What is your deadline? What is the process?
• Editorial meetings at 9:30am and 2:00pm. The list has been made by the time that meeting happens.
• If you have already reached out at a different time, Meagan suggests reaching out again at 9:00 or 9:15 to refresh their memory.
• Make sure press release explains the benefit that will make it stand out and be seen.
• Send by email directly to reporter.
• Stories will not be aired unless there is a rendering.
• Timing is constrained so have everyone ready and someone who can communicate the message well when interviewing.
• Make it as visually entertaining as possible
• Editor meetings 9:15 and 3:15.
• Don’t just give words but if you have visuals that will help be seen and will give a leg up.
• Tulsa World has a gallery for upcoming projects so there are no time or spaces constraints. Submit everything.
• Workforce Series is a new series about people who actually do labor outside and not in an office.
• If it’s still a few weeks before you want to release the story, still send it.
• Phone calls are great to talk it all through.
• Send everything. Maybe the story you are pitching won’t work how you are thinking but they can figure out a different way to share your story.
• Don’t call between 2-4pm as they are working on deadlines.
• Don’t overthink press releases (don’t stress out and wait for a quote because it likely won’t be used).
• If reporters request something and you can’t get it in time then just tell them so they can move on

What is the biggest misconception about your job?
• We are not the enemy. We are not secret spies.
• We won’t be here forever. You want your story in there but you don’t read it or watch it and they can tell that you don’t. You need to support and subscribe to journalism so that it doesn’t go away.

No audience means no business.
• They do this because they care about the community are passionate about it.
• They are genuinely interested in the stories and really want the stories to benefit the viewers.

What do you see happening the next five years in the reporting business?
• Everything has moved strongly into digital. The demand is on the reporter to do Facebook Live, tweets, etc. all day long, maybe before it even airs. – NEWSON6
• Newsworthy stories get read no matter what.
• Largest audience reads stories online.
• They keep putting relevant news online that people care about.
• People get the app or breaking emails.
• News outlets are working to conform to our lifestyle. If its important it will get to you.
• They try to get stories to people that others follow who will share it so it reaches larger audiences
• People seek the truth so they strive to tell the truth to people. That is their reputation.
• All the news outlets can complement each other to get the big picture across.
• Stories that have a challenging piece are great.

Jason Collington shared helpful links for Tulsa World.
Beat info and contact info:

Download the app to get free push notifications:



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Event Recap: Change Management


On June 12th, SMPS Oklahoma had the pleasure of hearing from speaker Jeff Wilkie on the subject of Change Management. Jeff is leader of Human Capital and Organizational Strategies for Hogan Taylor Advisory Services. Jeff is also a faculty member for the University of Tulsa’s ELITE Program. He Is an engaging speaker who has spoken at SMPS Nationally as well as recently speaking at SMPS-SRC.

Jeff spoke about the relevance and application of change management in which he compared change to a stream. Much like change, a stream is always moving, it has obstacles and it modifies the environment. He then spoke about the impact that change has on people as it is often times a new beginning which can be hard to accept for some. In addition, typically after change occurs, performance goes down because of resistance. There are four strategies for personal change: be a role model, use the grapevine, encourage each other and practice “intrapeneurship”. (All four of these strategies can be found on the attached card for more details.) The best thing to do when change is happening is to help people see how they could do things differently and give them tools and opportunities to do so. We all need to know how we are affected by chance to be able to help others. Change is a process and when there is an emotional connection to change transition is required. It is best to apply personal strategies when times of uncertainty occur.

 For more information on managing transitions, coping with periods of uncertainty and strategies for personal change management see attached handouts from Jeff.

Jeff Wilkie Handout 1

Jeff Wilkie Handout 2

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Event Recap: Marketing/BD Leadership Panel


Want to transform your business? Let Marketing have a seat at the table.

  • Be strategic about your time. Sometimes you can’t get where you want to be in one organization and may have to make a change.
  • Ask for what you want from your company/peers but you must be prepared to deliver.
  • Educate yourself and share information with others. This will help you gain respect.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Call mentors.
  • Get involved. Being involved in groups like SMPS will help give you confidence and will build leadership skills.
  • It is difficult being a woman in a male dominated industry. People want employees who are aggressive but it can be seen in a negative light compared to men. You need to understand the financial drivers of your organization. Educate yourself in what you do to move to the top.
  • Educate others of the importance of what you are saying. Whatever you do give your reason for why you are doing it.
  • Women have to work harder and longer to move up. Be more strategic than who you are working against. Use blocks as motivators. Earn respect by working hard and proving yourself.
  • You succeed when you go with the firm’s business style.
  • Find a mentor outside of the company and make it someone who will encourage and help you succeed.
  • Understand all facets of the company brand.
  • Be seen as a trusted advisor on a topic that you are good at.
  • Think of yourself as a leader of the organization, not just of marketing. Be seen as more than just your job title. If you see a need somewhere, fix it yourself.
  • Recommended Books:
    • Inside the Magic Kingdom – book about customer service
    • EQ vs IQ
    • Simon Sinek TED Talk “Superchickens” – about how to tell a story and gain emotional connection.

Marketing at the Table_Roadmap V2

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