Research: AEC Content Marketing Pays Off

The AEC edition of the Hinge Research Institute’s Visible Expert℠ study report is a must-read for business owners. It shows why becoming a Visible Expert℠ is good for business. It also demonstrates why content marketing is an essential strategy for AEC experts.

The Hinge Research Institute studied over 530 professional services firms to identify their most commonly identified challenges and top-priority marketing initiatives. They also surveyed 1,026 professional services purchasers of which around 20 percent bought AEC services. Additionally, they interviewed 130 Visible Experts.

Visible Experts, according to Hinge, are well-known experts in their field. Other practitioners and media seek them out for leadership and insight.

Top business challenges

The top business challenges in the AEC industry are clear:

  • 2% of respondents said “Attracting & Developing New Business”
  • 7% of respondents said “Finding/Keeping Good People”

The report explores strategies through which firms can generate new business and succeed in a competitive marketplace, attracting the best talent at the same time.

How clients find Visible Experts℠

Around 31 percent of the interviewed buyers use online search to find experts. Recommendations come second (21%) and publications third (18%). Eighty percent of the buyers look at the service providers’ websites to check them out.

These result clearly indicate why online presence, done right, is essential.

How AEC firms will generate new business

In order to generate new business, AEC firms report these top marketing initiatives:

  • 2% plan to “Make Clients More Aware of Services”
  • 0% plan to “Increase the Brand Visibility of the Firm”
  • 9% plan to “Increase the Visibility of Firm Experts”

Content marketing is a perfect fit for these companies. By creating and promoting content that demonstrates the nature and breadth of firms’ and individuals’ expertise AEC firms educate clients. Educated clients make better decisions and understand the value of the firms’ offerings.

AEC experts mentioned the following tools as having the greatest effect on their brands. The scale is 0 to 10, with then representing the highest impact:

  • Books – 8.8
  • Personal website – 8.5
  • Other speaking – 7.6
  • Company website – 7.4
  • Keynote address – 7.1

Hinge calls “Fast Trackers” a group of Visible Experts who rose from the status of an average expert to Level 5 in about five years. It is interesting to find that 85 percent of Fast Trackers have written a book.

What is the payoff?

Becoming a high-level expert does not happen overnight. It takes talent, a lot of work, and incessant marketing and image-building. Is it worth the effort?

Hinge asked the purchasers how much they are willing to pay to engage a Visible Expert℠? The results are staggering. A highest level expert can charge up to eight times the rate of an average professional!

You can download the report at

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