Case Study: Boston Society of Architects

Marketing Systems

Brief

DPS produced the first online edition of the BSA’s bimonthly Chapter Letter, which allowed member firms to build targeted website traffic to their most recent projects. The online edition raised the bar for project web marketing even as it lowered a barrier for smaller firms to participate. This caused many firms to more closely couple their traditional public relations with web content development activities.

FAME Online: A Lean (And Green) Project News Machine For Member Firms

The Boston Society of Architects has over 860 member firms that publicize recent projects and employee news through the BSA’s bimonthly Chapter Letter. Two years after the BSA had rolled out a new website built on a Drupal content management system, members could submit their news directly through an online form, but this popular section of the Chapter Letter did not appear online due to the level of difficulty involved in implementing it.

DPS championed the addition of this feature to the BSA website’s news section to give member firms the additional benefit of link building. Firms of all sizes and capacities could use the online resource to build visibility around their latest projects. Only a small number of firms posted regularly. An online edition would give more firms incentive to participate. BSA staff lacked the time and technical acumen to explore how the method could be produced cost-effectively; the existing method, once developed, was relied upon but little understood.

Design-product Systems converted member-submitted images and text to online formats, and added them into the website’s Drupal-based content management system. Working with the BSA’s communications team, DPS developed a highly automated process that made the project achievable within a limited budget and production schedule. After the pilot, DPS made refinements to the process. Once the online edition had been routinized, DPS worked with the communications team to publicize the added benefit of the online edition to all types of marketer – from principals to junior marketers – through the BSA’s marketing channels.

The creation of this new marketing resource is expected to change project marketing within this community, improve the quality, coordination, and timeliness of news, increase diversity among participating member firms, increase the value of participation, enhance individual web marketing initiatives, and allow a broader selection of design work to be featured.

Projected impact of this new marketing resource:

  • change project marketing within the design community,
  • improve quality, coordination, and timeliness of news,
  • increase diversity of participating member firms,
  • encourage smaller firms to participate,
  • increase the perceived value of participation among member firms,
  • improve individual web marketing initiatives,
  • feature more and better design work

An Ironic Postscript

With the launch of Fame online, the BSA was able to cease printing the Chapter Letter within the year – thus realizing a major milestone on this AIA chapter’s sustainability roadmap. This happened significantly in the year that the chapter president happened to be an outspoken proponent of the AIA’s 2030 Commitment for Sustainability.

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editions of the BSA Chapter Letter appeared in print and online

member-reported projects appear in each edition

%

of Projects appearing in each issue are completed

%

of all Projects in an issue appear on company websites at time of publication