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What Have You Done For Me Lately? A Look Back at the 2009-2010 Program Year

June 22, 2010

A letter from SMPS Boston President David Easterbrooks, CPSM, the Director of Marketing for Pare Corporation

What a year to serve as President of SMPS Boston! The worst economy since the Great Depression, firms and marketing departments downsizing, companies closing their doors, friends and colleagues suddenly among the unemployed.  And for those of us fortunate enough to maintain gainful employment through these unprecedented days, we’ve put in more hours and dealt with more stress and anxiety than I can ever recall in my 25 years in this business.

So it must sound odd when I say the past year has been among the most rewarding of my professional career. For in spite of the challenges facing the A/E/C industry, SMPS Boston has enjoyed a stellar year of strongly attended programs, educational workshops lead by our brightest industry leaders, and special events and networking opportunities for our entire membership and the 1,500-plus “friends of SMPS” in the greater Boston area (all those non-members who know a good thing when they see it and attend our events). 

The chapter’s Board of Directors and I had one overarching goal when we began the 2009-2010 program year back in September— provide increased value to our members.  Many firms have slashed marketing and business development budgets, so we recognized that SMPS Boston must provide more for less

More educational and business opportunities.  Less reliance on the registration fees of our members.  And how we have succeeded!  As of this date more than 25 programs and events have been provided to our members and the A/E/C community at large.   And almost across the board, registration rates for our members have been reduced from a year ago.

We succeeded in this goal by offsetting lower member fees with higher non-member registration fees (membership DOES have its advantages!) and through the creation of a new Sponsorship Committee to better coordinate and market our sponsorship opportunities.  We are on track to bring in approximately $40,000 in firm sponsorships this year— a testament to our sponsors getting unbeatable exposure to the potential business partners and decision makers that make up almost one-half of our membership.

In addition to the success of our new Sponsorship Committee, each of the chapter’s standing committees enjoyed major accomplishments this year:

The Membership Committee and Professional Development Committee went through an organizational realignment resulting in the transfer of the Ambassador Program (our pairing of new members with experienced SMPSers) to the Membership Committee, and the transfer of the Live@Five:30 networking events to the Professional Development Committee.  Each committee also had very successful events throughout the year.  The Member Appreciation Event, Holiday Party, and New Member Party had large spirited crowds at exciting new locations throughout the city.   The Live@Five:30 events provided some of the most relaxed but productive networking opportunities of the year.  And our Professional Development Luncheons were among the chapter’s most highly rated programs – not surprising with speakers such as Mike Reilly and Judy Nitsch!

The Program Committee put together five client-focused Breakfast Programs that packed the ballroom of the Langham Hotel.  The secret of success?  Bring in clients who, even in this economy, have continued to push forward with new work for our member firms.  From hospitals to housing authorities, transportation agencies to mayors representing some of the region’s most active cities, clients shared the latest news about their upcoming projects.  Our program in January featuring a client panel of area colleges and universities had the staff of the Langham scrambling to squeeze-in more than 180 attendees!

This year the Education Committee premiered the Getting on Track Education Series, which focused on programs covering the six critical domains of marketing knowledge.  Programs ranged from always-timely topics such as “Getting the Most From Your Web Site” and “Mastering the Public Selection Process,” to out-of-the-box topics like “Understanding the Financial Side of the House” and “Verbal Branding.”  The Education Committee also organized a well-attended CPSM Study Group (congratulations to our newest Certified Professional Services Marketers!) and a strong contingent of six SMPS-sponsored programs for the Boston Society of Architects’ annual Build Boston conference last fall.

The Awards Committee really set the bar high last year when they completely revamped and rebranded the chapter’s annual marketing communications awards gala.  Apparently they liked the challenge, for the 2010 SMPS Boston ROC Awards Gala was even bigger and better!  Held earlier this month, the ROC (Recognizing Outstanding Communications) Awards Gala was appropriately themed “Moving Forward” and featured emcee Frank Stasiowski of PSMJ Resources, communication award winners in seven main categories, and many special winners including Best In-House Design, Best of Show, People’s Choice, Marketing Executive of the Year, New Member of the Year, and President’s Choice Award (congratulations to Mike Reilly, Beth Dudek, and Mark Guarino for those three individual awards!).  The Awards Committee has truly transformed this premier event, and SMPS Boston is in the running for an SMPS National Marketing Communications Award in the “Special Event” category at this year’s National Conference.  Stay tuned for the results!

The Community Outreach Committee has also raised the bar this year.  Their biggest event of the year, the SMPS Boston Annual Charity Golf Tournament, has been moved from its usual date in May to July 14— the first day of Build Business, the SMPS National Conference.  We couldn’t be more excited about the National Conference coming to Boston this year, or about turning our charity golf tournament into a national event!   The tournament is also moving to one of the best golf courses in the area— Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy, MA.  As it has for the past 10 years, all proceeds from the tournament will benefit Rebuilding Together Boston.  SMPS Boston has also made significant contributions this year to the area’s Toys for Tots and Big Brother/Big Sister organizations thanks to the efforts of the Outreach Committee.

And finally I want to congratulate the Communications Committee for their many accomplishments over the past year.  Last year, thanks to this committee’s efforts, SMPS Boston won an SMPS National Marketing Communications Award for Best Chapter Web Site.  Well, you are presently looking at the Communications Committee’s biggest accomplishment of the current program year— the SMPS Boston Outlook Blog.  The blog replaced our e-mailed monthly newsletter and allows the chapter to communicate with members and friends on a continuous, interactive basis.  The Communications Committee didn’t stop there.  SMPS Boston also has a major presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and our online programs registration portal has been revamped.  What’s next?  Whatever it is, I’m sure the Communications Committee will have SMPS Boston out front taking advantage of the next wave of communication tools!

It truly has been a remarkable year filled with many committee and chapter accomplishments.  My deepest thanks to the directors, committee chairs, and many committee volunteers who have made my year as president such a rewarding experience— in spite of this challenging economy!  And my heartfelt thanks to you— SMPS members, participating firms, and our many colleagues in the A/E/C industry— for your continued involvement in this very special organization. 

Here’s to a great summer, a growing backlog of work for all our firms, and another exciting year of SMPS programs and events in 2010-2011!

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