SMPS Member Spotlight: Rick Craft
How did you decide to have a career in the A/E/C industries?
I began my college career on an engineering track. Based on this direction, I joined a transportation and civil engineering firm to gain exposure and learn more about the profession. I was working as a drafter at the time, and one day the “presentation person” was out. I built my first presentation for marketing, and I was hooked.
How would you describe your role/job?
I manage the six-person corporate marketing team and am charged with overall brand awareness and external communications. I work to connect the firm’s business development strategies with the various external communication channels to drive messaging.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job is seeing the final product of any effort when it successfully accomplishes the intended goal. (And it’s also pretty nice for the team to win SMPS awards.)
What have been the challenges and rewards of your career?
The biggest challenge is managing the expectations of the numerous groups within a multidisciplinary firm. It’s much like acting as an agency catering to multiple (very diverse) clients, all with different goals and methods for developing business with their own clients, yet somehow communicating a consistent brand and message unifying all. Perhaps the greatest reward is when we manage to pull this off in a manner that truly benefits each group (as opposed to a compromise that only somewhat satisfies their goals).
What has been your most meaningful project?
Two come to mind: 1) my first design/print project, which was a Texas state map with the firm’s offices, projects, and related client experiences, and 2) our recent 85th anniversary campaign at Walter P Moore.
How has membership in SMPS helped you to advance your firm and your career?
SMPS has been invaluable to my career development and was critical in my early marketing years. Over the past 17 years, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in strategy and projects with some of the great marketing minds from our chapter and I’ve learned how to improve communications, how to manage clients (internal and external), and how to determine brand differentiators. My SMPS network has also been a tremendous source for gaining industry knowledge and building lifelong relationships.
What has contributed to your success?
A large portion of my success comes from learning from great mentors, such as Mary Beth Perring (formerly with SMPS Houston), and working for a great firm that truly appreciates marketing and the value it brings to business operations.
What advice would you give to someone who is about to enter the marketing or business development field?
My advice would be: 1) Learn the industries—it is critical to understand the work, the audience, and how to communicate within the industries, 2) Learn your firm—the relationships you build within your organization will help you better represent and market your firm’s capabilities externally, and 3) Learn your competitors—couple this with step 2 and you will have the recipe for understanding your firm’s differentiators and how to effectively connect with clients/potential clients. Without this knowledge, it will be
difficult to communicate how you and your firm can help solve your client’s needs.
What is the best advice you’ve received regarding your career or working in the A/E/C industries?
The best advice I have received comes from a former boss, “Do not let perfection get in the way of success.”