SMPS Southern Regional Conference 2022 Highlights

SMPS Southern Regional Conference
February 6, 2022

I recently attended the SMPS (Society for Marketing Professional Services) Southern Regional Conference in Oklahoma City, OK. Almost 300 architecture, engineering, and construction marketing and business development professionals gathered for this event. It was a fantastic conference, thanks in large part to the planning committee who did a great job of navigating the conference during the pandemic.

I heard some great keynote presenters and also attended some good breakout sessions. The SMPS Southern Regional Conference kicked off with Amy Downes as the keynote. Amy is a survivor of the 1994 Oklahoma City bombing. She told her remarkable story of being trapped for over six hours in rubble and making it out alive. She was only in her 20’s at the time. That experience totally changed her life, and she’s done many things since then to live her life to the fullest. I walked away with a new appreciation of being grateful for every day. She had the audience laughing and crying!

The other keynote was JonRobert Tartaglione, founder and CEO of Influence 51, who has produced a report for SMPS: Understanding the Neuroscience (Neuropsychology) in Client Decision-Making. This was the first report, and currently SMPS is working on the second report to have case studies of AEC firms utilizing and implementing his theory. It’s about how you present information to a client and how they perceive it. It’s very scientific and very interesting! JonRobert then did a breakout session after his keynote, which I attended, that walked you through brand perception and some exercises for evaluating your brand.

The other breakouts focused on internal marketing and retention of employees. That’s an ongoing battle with many AEC firms today. Laura Nick, with Garver, talked about their Corporate Giving program and how they have it set up. This program has two goals: 1. Engage employees, and 2. Give back to the community through employee volunteer time and Garver matching dollars. It encourages employees to find a charity or non-profit they are passionate about and get others at Garver involved. Employees volunteer off the clock, and they have had a great turnout of volunteer time.

The other breakout session focused on internal communications and engagement. Allie Horne and Melanie Meeks talked about how to keep employees engaged at the workplace. They provided an entire list of things a firm can do which includes:

  • Setting up a culture committee
  • Hosting an intranet to share communications with employees
  • Internal Newsletter announcing birthdays, work anniversaries, community involvement, project updates, etc.
  • Providing and encouraging professional development
  • Conducting and implementing employee surveys
  • Distributing firm swag
  • Volunteering and giving back to the community in volunteer hours
  • Showing staff appreciation

Company culture is extremely important in retaining talent. Employees who are engaged and happy at work are much more likely to stay with your firm. It’s beneficial to everyone to keep a pulse on your employees.

The SMPS Southern Regional Conference also allowed a lot of time for networking. I connected with some new people and had a chance to chat with some existing connections. As with any conference, there was plenty of good food and drinks!

If you are looking for professional development in the architecture, engineering, or construction industry, make sure to check out The SMPS Missouri Valley Regional Conference is taking place in Wichita, KS April 6-8, 2022 at the Drury Broadview Hotel in downtown Wichita. There are other SMPS conferences you can also attend. Check out

nu marketing helps architecture, engineering, and construction firms with their marketing and business development plans. Contact us today so we can help you!