Building AEC websites that attract new business and support operations

An architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firm’s website is its most valuable marketing asset — but its utility can be stretched even further with the right approach. Your website can be transformed into a state-of-the-art tool that both empowers B2B buyers to make decisions based on your portfolio and creates automated efficiencies for your business.

Scott Jacques is the founder of NK Interactive, a digital agency that designs websites and custom digital tools that solve complex sales and marketing problems for clients in the commercial construction sector. His team transforms client websites using a “single source of truth” approach to streamline internal data management while showcasing robust project portfolios.

In this episode of Spill the Ink, Michelle Calcote King and Scott Jacques discuss best practices and considerations for website design in the AEC sector, how firms can build functionality into their websites to meet a range of needs, website development and design trends influencing B2B buyers, and more.

Here's a glimpse of what you'll learn

  • What are the unique website needs of an AEC firm?
  • How important is web presence to AEC buyers?
  • What information and content should be included on your website?
  • What is the “single source of truth” approach?
  • How can AEC firms integrate digital tools into their websites to facilitate firm-wide content management?
  • What website development and design trends are influencing the AEC sector?
  • How often should a firm update its websites?

About our featured guest

Scott is the Founder and Principal of NK Interactive, a San Francisco-based digital consultancy with decades of strategic, creative and technical expertise. Their clients are forward-thinking businesses in the commercial construction sector consisting of general contractors and specialty contractors. A representative sampling of past and present clients include Rosendin Electric, W.E. O’Neil Construction, DPR Construction, Level 10 Construction, Build Group, Cupertino Electric (CEI), Nibbi Brothers, BCCI Builders, XL Construction, ISEC Inc., and the Associated General Contractors of California.

Typical client engagements cover the range of transformative websites to the design and development of custom digital tools supporting marketing and business development teams (collateral automation, single source of truth repository for projects and resumes, qualifications/proposal builders, and capabilities presentation builders).

Resources mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode

This episode is brought to you by Reputation Ink.

Founded by Michelle Calcote King, Reputation Ink is a public relations and content marketing agency that serves professional services firms of all shapes and sizes across the United States, including corporate law firms and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms. 

Reputation Ink understands how sophisticated corporate buyers find and select professional services firms. For more than a decade, they have helped firms grow through thought leadership-fueled strategies, including public relations, content marketing, video marketing, social media, podcasting, marketing strategy services and more.

To learn more visit or email them at today.


[00:00:00] Scott Jacques: The scale of the projects that they're building, like the level of execution, the level of focus of precision. Aren't those things that you want to plant in people's heads? When they come to the website, those are some of the things that pop into their mind, like, "Wow, look at the level of just execution. These guys have got their messaging dialed in."

Again, why wouldn't you put that same effort into making sure that that digital touchpoint is communicating those same messages and themes for your firm?


[00:00:32] Welcome to Spill the Ink, a podcast by Reputation Ink, where we feature experts in growth and brand visibility for law firms and architecture, engineering and construction firms. Now let's get started with the show.


[00:00:49] Michelle Calcote King: Hi, everyone. I'm Michelle Calcote King, your host and the Principal and President of Reputation Ink. We're a public relations and content marketing agency for architecture, engineering, and construction firms and other professional services firms. To learn more, go to rep-ink, that's ink with a K, .com. Today, we're going to talk about an architecture, engineering, and construction firm's website.

It's its most valuable marketing asset, however, many of the firms that we work with and many firms out there, websites are really just glorified brochures. They don't have additional functionality that meets AEC firms specific needs, which are quite specific to the industry. In today's fast-moving and competitive environment, it's essential to carefully plan for your next website to get the most out of it.

What should AEC marketers be thinking about when they plan their next website? How can they build in functionality to meet a range of needs? I'm talking about things like project proposals, qualifications packages, team resumes, branded collateral, marketing workflows. I'd like to welcome today's guest, and that's exactly what we're going to talk about, Scott Jacques, to this Spill the Ink podcast.

Scott is a guru when it comes to building these transformative websites for companies in the AEC sector. They have specific expertise in this industry. He's the founder and principle of NK Interactive, a digital consultancy with decades of strategic, creative, and technical expertise. Part of what his company does is develop custom digital tools that support marketing and business development, which we're going to get into in just a second. I'm excited to have you on the show.

[00:02:27] Scott: Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here.

[00:02:29] Michelle: Did I pronounce your last name correctly?

[00:02:31] Scott: You did. It's a surprise. I've heard some very interesting iterations.

[00:02:36] Michelle: I'm sure you have. My maiden name which I use as my middle name is Calcote. It looks French and people want to say, “Cal-CO-teh.” I'm like, "No, just that." Anyways, let's just start with-- I did a brief introduction, but I'd love to hear about you and your firm and how you got this expertise in the AEC sector.

[00:02:59] Scott: We got right into it. We've been working with clients in the AEC sector, and more specifically with the C-component of that, so commercial general contractors and especially contractors, for about 15 years ago, the first client that we worked with was DPR Construction. We didn't start small —

[00:03:18] Michelle: A common client of ours.

[00:03:20] Scott: We had a good fortune of being able to work with DPR Construction back then. Even back then, we were able to do some really innovative things with them. Some of those were using flash technology to build out these really cool microsite annual year-end reviews, which they previously were just doing through these just really beautiful print pieces that were coming out.

I think that was just an example of us being faced with like, "Hey, this is how we're currently doing it. Is there a digital way of addressing this as well?" We did that for a good five or six years with great success. It was just a lot of fun taking something that was this really beautiful print piece and finding out, how can we translate this into a digital experience? Because, more often than not, those really expensive print pieces that they were putting out there were probably finding their ways into recycling bins.

[00:04:12] Michelle: Absolutely.

[00:04:13] Scott: Pretty quickly, so somebody standing through that and obviously when it's digital, the many different ways that you can slice and dice that content and the shelf life of that content, it's unlimited. There are many different ways to drive people there and to educate them.

[00:04:32] Michelle: That's great. Let's talk about, is there this one-size-fits-all solution for AEC firms? Maybe talk me through what are the needs the AEC firms have that might be different from other industries?

[00:04:45] Scott: I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all solution. That said, there are clearly some things that I think any AEC firm needs to be communicating to the various folks who are going to be visiting their website, whether it's for sales and business development processes and supporting that process, or whether it's for talent acquisition, or even, in some cases, whether it's your own team members that are coming to the website.

I do think that what — again, not a one-size-fits-all solution, but when folks are coming to the website, clearly, they want to be able to find out what types of projects has this company worked on, what are their capabilities? Quite often, I think a website redesign process is always a great opportunity to step back and really think about how are you actually positioning your capabilities.

It's a great time to think about how you're positioning your market sectors, how you're positioning some specialized services that you offer. One that's been coming up recently with the project we're working on right now is this client has got some expertise in the mass timber space, which I think is becoming-- [crosstalk]

[00:05:55] Michelle: It's a big topic right now.

[00:05:55] Scott: The end result of those projects are just gorgeous projects, but how do they integrate that expertise into the new website experience, how do they talk about that, how do they showcase projects, and to really extend that out. Because that is a little bit of a niche area, how can they now even start to develop content, thought leadership content, articles, just general content that's going to be around that particular subject matter?

Not that that's going to be some silver bullet when you look at SEO, and that's going to result in them getting new projects, but it is a way for them to start thinking about creating some of this really useful content that they can publish to their website. It demonstrates their expertise in that particular area.

[00:06:43] Michelle: Do you still get pushback — I'm just curious because I've been around long enough to where I remember having conversations with AEC firm owners who, "No one ever looks at our website, this is a people business, it's all about in person, no one's ever going to Google us." Do you still get that pushback or do owners seem to understand the importance of their web presence now?

[00:07:10] Scott: I think they understand it, and I think even bigger picture outside of just even the website. I think they're understanding the importance of design, which is really exciting, which is actually one of the reasons why we actually, a couple years ago, as an agency, really decided to go all in on the commercial construction sector. If you happen to go to our website, you'll see that we're not talking about tech clients that we worked with, even though we have worked with a lot of B2B tech clients, professional services firms, even some consumer brands in the past.

It's because I think folks are starting to understand that, yes, it's a relationship-driven business, but the website can really help support some of those relationships. It can help nurture relationships with existing clients and strategic partners, but it can also help support creating some of those relationships. We understand. I always love to play that little — the myth buster game as well because one of the things that we had heard in the past as well is we want to be number one on Google for general contractors. If you're coming into it with that mindset, there's no rational reason that that should be what you're striving for.

[00:08:29] Michelle: Helping them understand the business strategy and what the priorities are with that goal and whether it should be a priority.

[00:08:40] Scott: Yes. We're definitely seeing a lot less of that because I think people realize that, yes, it's still a relationship-driven business, but there is this whole new wave of folks who are now entering into the industry. Yes, they're going to continue with some of those relationship-driven methods, but they also have different ways of just educating themselves on your expertise and go back to what we talked about a little bit earlier, just, "You claim to be experts in mass timber," as an example, "How can you demonstrate that to me?" Through your projects, through your portfolio of work.

Also how you're able to articulate your understanding of that particular specialized service and what some of your core differentiators are as it relates to that particular service and who are some clients you've worked with in that space. I do think that there's less of it today. Quite often we do still have to have those conversations with some folks about, like, "Listen, your goal should not be about being number one on Google," because when you think about it, this isn't residential, you're not remodeling bathrooms, these are large scale projects, large scale commercial projects,  $5, $10, $20, $200, $1, $1.5 billion projects. That's not how people are going to be looking for your services.

[00:10:09] Michelle: Yeah. B2B it's a reference check after they've come onto their radar, so it's not-- It often is not the introduction, it is they've already been introduced in some way and they're checking to see is this firm who I think they are? Do they have the experience that I think they have? That kind of thing.

[00:10:34] Scott: Yes, they're validating, they're not just randomly happening upon your website based on arbitrary Google search. Nobody's going in there typing, "We're going to spend $50 million on a lab environment build-out in San Francisco."

[00:10:51] Michelle: I'm curious, is there anything that when you're educating AEC firm leaders about how prospects and clients use the web? Are there insights that you find they really need to understand in terms of how clients use their sites and what's the most important thing to think about?

[00:11:15] Scott: One thing that we do is we do communicate with them based on trends. Some of our clients are smaller, regional, all the way up to national builders. There are some areas of the site where we know people are going to. It's projects, it's looking at leadership teams, bios, and it's also in career sections. Obviously, it's a huge pain point, in the industry right now, hiring and retaining talent, whether it's folks out in the field or in the office.

I think it's really helping them understand how the website can really help them in those areas and support their efforts.

[00:12:06] Michelle: Yes, and making sure that people get to the information they're looking for fast and easy too. I know that's often a real challenge is thinking through that flow and making sure that they're getting to that right information quickly.

[00:12:22] Scott: Yes, and that just really comes down to process. When you're involved in a project, the website redesign, design will take care of itself. You'll get to design eventually, but the most important part really is identifying that architecture for the site's content strategies, understanding how people actually consume content online, and not throwing paragraphs and paragraphs of content at people. People scan and they make decisions.

At some point, yes, they're going to want to maybe dive a little bit deeper, maybe download a datasheet or actually get into a project and really learn more about a project. I think projects are an area where a lot of clients are opening up their-- or are realizing that, "Hey, we can actually go beyond just a couple of data points, a short paragraph, and a couple of small photos that are thrown in there."

Projects on these websites are really an opportunity to go pretty deep and to do some storytelling around those individual projects where clearly you've got your project summary. You've got video that you can integrate into the experience. You've got immersive photo galleries, but it's also an opportunity to also integrate some other content into those whether it's a little micro case study or whether it's going a little bit deeper with calling out some key team members who are responsible for making that project a success.

It's really helping these clients understand that, "Hey, yes, in some cases, yes, your project may just consist of a rendering and just a short write-up because that project has just kicked off. For those high-profile projects, put some effort into it and go deep with some of the storytelling that's possible there.”

[00:14:13] Michelle: Could not agree more. Yes, there's a concept, I don't know if you've heard of it. I use it a lot when talking to clients. I think the Nielsen group put it out, called — They say people on the web are “informavores” was their term, like carnivores, but they're following this information scent.  They used the term scanning. They're hunting through pages to find what they want.

That's why you've got to make it very scannable, very easy to find, but they will go deep if they land on that, what they've been kind of following along. I've always loved that “informavore” concept because we get the pushback a lot that nobody reads anything, and we say, they do, if they can find what they're really looking for, they can go deep.

[00:14:59] Scott: Yes. The other thing with the ability to go deep to and this is related, too. Some companies might refer to it as their thought leadership hub, their knowledge hub, their blog. Where I see a lot of clients make some mistakes there as well is— Let's say there's an article in ENR, and they're just dropping maybe some scanned PDF in there or it's just a short little blurb about it. It's like leverage that content. Maybe pull excerpts from that content, drop in some pull quotes from that content and actually publish that content on your site.

It's actually a page that somebody can actually dive a little bit deeper and read more while they're on your site, and they're not going off-site. Of course, provide a proper credit to, "Hey, here's the original article link which may require registration but you can go view the full article online," which would then go to Silicon Valley Business Journal, ENR or one of those trade publications.

[00:15:59] Michelle: We have a whole article on how to do that. Because often they have to buy the reprint. We still say reprint but they have to pay the rights to the media because we do PR. Pay the media, lets rights to publish that full thing. As long as they link back to and pay the reprint rights, but yes, I can't agree more. 

Well, what I'd love to dive in is your firm's custom-- Basically your custom content management system and how you've looked at what AEC firms needs are.

AEC marketers, bless them because the ones that I know, they're just buried in requests all day long. Proposals, qualifications, packages, resumes, all these things. What I really loved when I first saw your tool was how you really thought through that and then integrated it with the website so that there's not a lot of this. Talk me through how you guys develop that and what it is?

[00:17:02] Scott: I think a lot of this is just really being exposed and just hearing some recurring themes, whether it's themes or just pain points from either marketing folks or maybe, in some cases, some of the clients we work with don't even really have a marketing department, so it's the principals from that firm or it's a project manager. A lot of that was— What that really resulted in is—

I always like to say what we do is way beyond websites because what we like to think about— Some of our clients, just even hearing how they react to some of the tools that we've built for them and some of the things they've referred to it, even though it's not accurate where you've heard the term CRM. It's like, "Well, I don't think you exactly know what CRM means but I get what you're saying, is you're saying that you actually have this single source of truth for some of this data."

Maybe you wouldn't be shocked or surprised because you probably been in the trenches and worked with these clients, but small regional firms all the way to some large national firms. When we are in the midst of these website redesign projects and it was a matter of collecting and understanding, where's all your project data? You write-ups on your projects, your photos? You'd be surprised.

It's, "Well, photos are over on Dropbox, and we've got a local drive, it's got all of our project write-ups, it's an Excel file." This was something that we just saw happening time and time again. What we also realized is that, why isn't that? I realize that there are some platforms out there that purport to do some of this stuff in terms of the single source of truth for projects or for resumes.

Through the process of just building these content management systems that really set up a data structure that's very unique to that client, but there are some common themes and structure around that data for some of these clients. What they started to realize is like, "Okay, all of our project data is sitting in this system right here." This is powering our website, but how cool would it be if this data, now that it's referred to as the single source of truth, we've got all of our projects in there and we've got the write-ups, the short excerpts, the project budgets, who the architect was, all those familiar data points?

A lot of his clients started to realize, and this was, again, through conversations was there's no real way because we're trying to put together a qualifications package or put together a proposal package. We're reinventing the wheel. There's only one person internally who can generate these documents, they're having to open up InDesign and create this. Every time they do that, they're spinning away and thinking about, "Well, where should the photo go on this one? What font should I use?" It's wasted time but it's also just really generating just inconsistency with the output of that. What a lot of our clients really love about the content management systems that we build is that that's a component.  It gives them that single source of truth for their projects which powers their website. It powers the portfolio section on their website, but it's also powering the automation of collateral for them.

Now they've got these project sheets which are branded project sheets, which are now being generated. Nobody needs to create those. We think about the design up front. We think about, "Okay, will all of these projects conform to a one-page sheet, or do we need to consider maybe how these could break potentially to two or to three pages to support just variances in the content on those project sheets."

It's really created a lot of efficiencies for these team members and it's not just one person who can do it. Folks on the website can download project data sheets, but also internally folks can download those sheets that maybe have some of that more secretive information that you don't want to make available that's on the website. It might have some of those references baked into that project sheet that's only accessible to internal team members when you want to download some that data.

The same thing with resumes that we've been doing, where the clients are able to drop in all their resumes for their team members into the system and to generate that collateral. Those resumes really have nothing to do with the public-facing website. It's just a place for them to just have this single source of truth through these resumes and manage different versions of those resumes because that resume may need to be tweaked for a data center project versus maybe a TI project.

It gives them that ability to have some standard information, the photo, the person's name, their bio, maybe any lead credentials they have, but be able to spin up different versions of those resumes based on the opportunity that they're pursuing.

[00:21:51] Michelle: I'd love to hear, for firms that were in that, "Oh, it's in one place and it's over here, and we don't know if we've even got it" clients, to then implementing your system, what has been some of the feedback that you've heard from them in terms of—? I can imagine it's revolutionary for them because it would really change the day-to-day life of a in-house marketer or a principal who's trying to deal with that.

[00:22:18] Scott: With one of our clients, a mechanical contractor down in Silicon Valley, the word's directly out of he's now the president of the company because they head a transition of all senior partners retiring and all the junior partners now come in. He literally said, "I've been waiting 10 years for something like this. I can't believe that it even exists." What he was referring to goes way beyond what I was just talking about where it's automating project sheets and it's automating resume sheets.

It was more of a way for them to actually to create qualifications,  proposal packages, all from within the system. Everything from even just being able to create org charts, which if you give somebody the ability to just create those at will, then they're going to be wasting time. There's inconsistency.

[00:23:11] Michelle: I can't tell you how many org charts we've designed for clients. [laughs] It's just—

[00:23:15] Scott: It's a process that typically takes hours and maybe there's only one or two people internally who can do it, but now you've opened it up, so now you've got all these different folks who can actually come into the system and create a qualification package or a proposal package in minutes. Now what this does not mean and I think what that does is that actually allows you to focus on the proposal, the stuff that actually gets dropped into the proposal.

That cover letter, that's where you should be spending your time and really putting all your effort. It's not in, "Which project do I want to point?" How can we re-think about maybe redesigning the lab of these project sheets? All that stuff is just drag and drop within the system. They're just dragging in all the relevant project sheets. They want all the relevant resume sheets, but then it really frees up that time so that you can focus on that high-value stuff, which is the actual writing of the proposal.

[00:24:17] Michelle: That's great. Are you seeing any trends in any kind-- because websites are like fashion and that some things go into style and other things go out of style. Are you seeing anything? I'm always just curious as to what's happening. Even from a tech, obviously, for a lot of our clients, we don't do web at all, but ADA compliance was an issue for a while. What are some of the trends you're seeing?

[00:24:46] Scott: It's interesting you mentioned the ADA compliance because we just had an issue that just came up. A lot of the ADA compliance, that's stuff that we already start to address even in the design phase of a project. It's not something that you developed a site. That even has to do with just the contrast of typography that might be on top of photos and how you apply tents to that so that the text is readable. ADA--

[00:25:09] Michelle: Maybe we should back up before we just explain to the audience who's not aware. Do you want to explain that real quick for someone who might be listening and thinking, what are they talking about with ADA compliance?

[00:25:20] Scott: Yes, I don't even know exactly the American Disabilities Act.

[00:25:26] Michelle: The Americans With Disabilities Act.

[00:25:27] Scott: It might be somebody who maybe has—

[00:25:33] Michelle: Visual impairment or might be hearing.

[00:25:38] Scott: It's making sure that that website is going to function for that individual. If they can actually use some technology they may have on the computer that is reading through screen texts and it does it in a logical, hierarchical manner that is mapping to how that page laid out from the page heading to an intro snippet to maybe some subsequent bullet points that start to maybe dive a little bit deeper into a particular subject matter.

We could probably spend an entire show actually talking about this and I think provide a lot of value for your listeners, but there are some really amazing— Again, it's got to be baked into your design process and into your development process but there's also some really nice tools that are out there that actually allow you to essentially plug and play and you can actually enable an accessibility widget directly onto your website.

Through that widget, through just applying some standards and some best practices around design and development, when you're looking at the website, and also just through having an accessibility statement on your website which talks about, "Hey, these are the existing standards that we're conforming to, but if you happen to notice there's any areas for improvement, reach out to us. Let us know." There is this faction of attorneys that are out there who are opportunists and I think that they're--

[00:27:04] Michelle: Lawsuits.

[00:27:06] Scott: Exactly. Not unlike what I saw happen just out here in San Francisco in the restaurant industry, and I'm sure it's not unique to San Francisco where attorneys would show up at a restaurant store with a demand letter. It's essentially saying, "If you pay us $25,000, we're not going to bother you about some of these ADA issues that are related to your restaurant," and issues that probably couldn't even be fixed because of just permitting issues related to a city.

That's not to say that those concerns aren't valid. You should absolutely strive to make sure that the website is compliant with that. It's an ever-evolving process. It's not you just implement something now and-- you want to make sure that you're continually tracking that. A lot of these external providers actually have these auditing tools or you can actually just plug in your domain name, run it through a quick audit, and it gives you a hit list of like, "Hey, here's some areas where you can improve some things. Here's where you're scoring really great."

That's definitely a very relevant and timely topic.

[00:28:18] Michelle: What about design trends? It's funny you started out talking about flash, but for a while there it seemed there was this trend of websites being all one page. Are you seeing any other trends come about right now or have we settled on a pretty clear idea of how people navigate the web, and are there new things that people are having to think about?

[00:28:41] Scott: I think that there are some pretty solid just standards that are in place right now. I think when you try to innovate too much, I just don't think that the construction sector is where you should be doing any of the innovation.

[00:28:53] Michelle: It's not a place for shiny object syndrome.

[00:28:55] Scott: I think the next release is Spiderman's movie. That's where they can push the envelope. Keep in mind, people, they're just coming to the website. They don't want to be entertained. They're there to just gather information to vet your firm and to get that information and to share it with colleagues or to make that decision as far as whether or not they want to continue the conversation and take a next step.

I would say this is not the industry where we want to be setting any new trends for design, but I think a lot of it it's just common sense. If you understand, "Hey, people are going to be coming to this website, let's make sure that they can find information easily." I know that a lot of architectural firms, with their projects to have these beautiful photos, but there's no context.

It's almost like this game of Whack-a-Mole where it's like, okay, well let me now hover over this photo to see what this project name was, where its location is. It's finding that balance.

[00:30:00] Michelle: I see that on marketing agency sites too but they have these big visuals of their creative work and there's no clear context. You don't really understand why they did that creative, what the strategy was. Our industry can be guilty of it too.

[00:30:17] Scott: I think all you have to do is really just go back to some of those just basic user experience design principles is understanding, this person's coming to my website, how can I just create this pathway for them to easily find the information that they're looking for?

[00:30:36] Michelle: My guess is obviously construction companies are taking longer but, if a client comes to you and says how often should I be redoing my website? Is there a lifespan to websites that you see, that you say, "Look, if it's more than—" I'm guessing consumer brands updated a lot more often.

[00:30:58] Scott: I think that can depend on a few things. One is, let's say, a construction client they've gone through a big redesign but in three years they're actually doing a rebrand. Clearly, that's going to be a time you're going to have to rethink all the design systems. I would say that, and it's not to say that, once you launch a site, it's done. There's always an evolving process adding new features, adding new sections. I would say that‚ what we typically see with our clients is that five-year-

[00:31:32] Michelle: Five years.

[00:31:32] Scott: -timeframe. Sometimes I think clients may get a little bit of sticker shock when they explain to them this is the investment for this project and I like to refer to it as an investment because you really are. You're investing in your firm.

[00:31:48] Michelle: Absolutely.

[00:31:50] Scott: If you break that out over the course of five years, it's really not a whole lot. If you say this project is going to be a $100,000 project but if you break that out over the course of the next five years that's roughly $20,000 a year to have this publishing platform that's in place.

[00:32:11] Michelle: Especially if you make it work to where it's solving other problems for you. Helping you with all the other marketing needs that you have. Also, like you said, these are clients that are building $50 million facilities. Letting your website hurt your brand is really short-sighted when it comes to a purchase that large.

[00:32:36] Scott: We're talking right now to a client. They're a pretty substantial elecrical contractor and they found us by way of another large electrical contractor we're working with and they really like the work that we did. They admittedly said, "Listen, we know that we need to start to place a big focus on design," and design to me, obviously there's a visual component to it.

I think design also relates to messaging and that creates a lot of efficiencies because now you have one way— you have your canned elevator pitch so people don't have to rethink, like, "What's our short pitch? What's our long-form elevator pitch?" You have that messaging and it's all in one place. People internally can use that. This firm was telling us that, "We realize this is a relationship-driven business. We've got great relationships, but there's also turnover with some of those relationships."

That person who may have been one of those folks that you had that strong relationship, maybe they've gone to another firm and now there's a new person who's moved into that position. They let me know that, "We actually lost out on a project." It was a follow-up project for same client but because they were dealing with a new person, they just weren't putting the time and effort into creating these materials, whether it's proposal or quality.

They said, "We lost that project because the quality of the proposal that this new person was reviewing in spite of the relationship that we had with the client." I always say, “Why would you take that chance? Why would you take a chance of losing projects?” Again, we're not talking about making major investments in some of these tools, in some of these systems to have those in place, but why would you risk that chance? So many of these clients that we work with, when you look at something like job sites, they are so proud of, like, "Look how locked in, look how clean this job site is."

It's like, why don't you take that same mindset and apply that to your digital presence as well? I just don't know why they wouldn't do that. Why would you run the risk of somebody coming to your website, whether it's an existing client or it's a prospective client or partner, and having them walk away with that? Obviously, it's probably not even reflective of how they do perform work on the job site, but why run that risk of that potentially happening?

[00:35:37] Michelle: I use that phrase a lot. I say we're making your brand reflective of the quality of work that you already deliver, so they have to match up. You're right because it's such an oversight, it's such a loss really to put so much into doing quality work, then people assume that you don't do quality work because they come to your website and it looks elementary. There's typos, there's bad graphics, whatever it is. They can't find the information they need. There's no information. You spend all that time getting your business straight. The two have to marry up.

[00:36:14] Scott: When you do think about the scale of the projects that they're building, the level of execution, the level of focus of precision, aren't those things that you want to plant in people's heads? When they come to the website, those are some of the things that pop into their mind, like, "Wow, look at the level of just execution. These guys have got their messaging dialed in."

Again, why wouldn't you put that same effort into making sure that digital touchpoint is communicating those same messages and themes for your firm?

[00:36:46] Michelle: Love it. Thank you so much. I know we could talk for a very long time but I think we should wrap it up. Great conversation. I've been very impressed with Scott's work at NK Interactive and what they're doing in terms of their content management system. I know that you are also rolling it out as a software as a service. Is that correct?

[00:37:07] Scott: Yes, that's in our roadmap because we realize that this is something that we're not trying to find product market fit. We understand that what we've developed, there is product market fit.

There is a need for something like this. That is definitely in our roadmap is to be rolling out a software as a service platform for this concept of a single source of truth for projects, for resumes, the automation of collateral, and then the tools that are built on top of it, whether it's qualifications, proposal builder or whether it's the ability to spin up a quick digital capabilities presentation.

[00:37:49] Michelle: That's great. If people want to learn more, where should they go?

[00:37:53] Scott: I think our website is probably the best place to go, and it's just

[00:38:04] Michelle: Great. Thank you so much.

[00:38:06] Scott: Thanks for having me, Michelle. 


[00:38:09] Thanks for listening to Spill the Ink, a podcast by Reputation Ink. We'll see you again next time, and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.


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Scott Jacques

NK Interactive


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