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Senior Member Profile: Kathy McMahon

February 2, 2011

Kathy McMahonThis month, meet Kathy McMahon, Director of Marketing at CBT Architects.

How long have you been working in the marketing industry?
18 years – 16 years for Architecture firms.

What has your involvement in SMPS been like?
I have been committed to SMPS since I joined in 1995.  First by taking the Education series, then joining the Education Committee, chairing that committee for two years, becoming a member of the board in 2000, then chairing the Awards Committee for two years and assisting the Program Committee in 2006-2007. 

How has the industry changed since you started?
Marketing was a relatively new function in Architecture firms when I began.  Believe it or not, the industry was just transitioning from off-set printed, pasted-up cut sheets to producing and customizing marketing materials in house via desktop publishing software.  There were still architects using slide shows with actual slides and making presentations with old fashioned overhead projectors!  I have seen the transition to utilizing software that has changed the way we represent our firms, our staff, and our experience.  The way we market architecture has also changed as some firms are getting much more specialized and generalists are fewer and far between.  Also, I have been through two recessions as well as a tremendous boom time so I am old enough to tell those “remember when” stories!

What is a lesson learned from your time in the industry as a marketing professional?
I have learned that the people you are selling are as important as the project/firm experience, the pace and “last minuteness” of the work we do is a constant and needs to be both accepted and managed, and that boilerplate must be a starting point never an end product. 

What piece of advice would you tell a young marketer just starting out?
Be flexible to stylistic and personality differences in your firm but find a common language.  Write well and be that resource for your firm, it will make you invaluable.  And questions when you don’t understand technical terms or marketing strategies so you can build your knowledge bank.  Pay equal attention to both getting the key message across and the details like spell check and graphics.

What would you advise marketing professionals to do in terms of “showing their value” to firm principals?
Learn the “business” aspect of the business – how your firms makes money, what impacts profitability, what the overarching business goals are and how what you do day to day in marketing can affect that.

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