FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. — Architecture, engineering, planning, and environmental firms are often not nearly as engaged with social media marketing as the rest of the business world. ZweigWhite’s 2012 Marketing Survey found that only 15 percent of the 109 participating firms say the use of social media has reduced their reliance on “traditional” marketing methods, though a significant number, 43 percent, responded “unspecified” or were unsure about this. Twenty-nine percent of design firms say they don’t know whether their clients use social media at all.

Furthermore, firm leaders are having a difficult time judging if social media marketing is working. When asked if social media sites resulted in any inbound inquiries or opportunities, 17 percent said “Yes,” 45 percent “No,” and 38 percent didn’t specify.

Of design firms that used social media marketing successfully, 17 percent report such efforts have resulted in a median of five inbound inquiries or opportunities and 11 percent report that those inquiries or opportunities resulted in a project.

Design firms are hesitant to invest in marketing training, a finding that gives credence to the popular belief that the design industry doesn’t believe in marketing. The Marketing Survey found that only 34 percent of firms provide marketing training to all employees; 66 percent provide training to marketing staff. Marketing training is most often focused on customer relationship management (CRM) systems use (37 percent), proposal preparation (35 percent), interviewing skills (30 percent), and lead development (22 percent). Social media marketing didn’t even make the list, although it could have fallen within “unspecified” training category, at the 22 percent.

For more information about ZweigWhite’s 2012 Marketing Survey visit http://zweiggroup.com/surveys.