Azione Unlimited’s recent spring 2019 conference, the Fulgent Fling in Florida, offered a diverse range of education for dealers and manufacturers, but it was the importance of partnering with architects that arose as one of the hottest topics, with Azione suggesting that integration firms need to pay attention, now.
There were a few sessions dedicated to this exact point, one being an insightful presentation of an architect marketing campaign, conducted by Tom King of 23K Studios, an award-winning advertising and design agency. King presented the group with inventive examples of successful direct marketing campaigns, digital and otherwise, that explored new ways to reach architects and establish dialogs.
“The importance of building and maintaining close relationships with architects specifically can’t be understated,” says Richard Glikes, president of Azione. “We need to be in lock step with architects to create relationships that are mutually beneficial.”
Throughout the conversation, two things were abundantly clear, one being the importance of tight relationships between architects and technology professionals and, two, that technology professionals need to become part of the conversation much earlier in the process. The combination of which not only helps prevent a lot of revamping of a client’s home or an architect’s drawings, but also helps improve technology experiences and how tech integrators are viewed and valued.
“Coming into a project late really upsets the flow of things,” says Glikes. “We don’t want to be known as the trade that causes upheaval and turmoil during a project, so getting in early is crucial.”
In fact, the Architect panel from the “Thinking Forward” series featured three influential leaders from the American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN). Panelists included architects Mary Cerrone, the current chair of the CRAN, Executive Committee; Stuart Narofsky, former CRAN chair; and Christopher Rose, CRAN Advisory Group. One key takeaway was that some architects have had less than positive experiences with the technology trade that are not representative of the industry as a whole. For this leading group of integrators, there is much opportunity.
“It’s clear from listening to the architects from CRAN and AIA that there is a sizeable disconnect between the architect and technology trades. Some have had bad experiences in the past that color their perception of our industry,” says Glikes. “Even if these experiences are not a good indicator of the level of work and service that is typical of our best integration firms, it’s still our job to respond to this challenge and change that perception by providing consistently better experiences. Technology has evolved and is an important aspect of an architect’s work. It’s our job to be their partner and a resource, not an obstacle or inconvenience.”
Azione member Gordon van Zuiden, president of cyberManor in Los Gatos, CA, couldn’t agree more. “One of the primary reasons that cyberManor built our new smart home experience center was to show our partner trades, such as architects, the importance of integrating smart home technology wiring products and solutions into the design and architecture of the home. When we tour architects through our home, they immediately understand the importance of our profession as a key component for providing the dream home their clients want their architects to design for them.”
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