one dozen reasons why architects should market their expertise not value

Architects often focus on defining their value at the expense of defining their expertise. Here's why they should preference expertise over value.
  1. People don’t usually go to other professionals, doctors, lawyers, dentists, engineers, etc, for the value they bring. They go to them because they value their expertise. Marketing to clients is about what clients value not what the profession values.
  2. Expertise is unequivocal. What clients value may vary.
  3. Value tends to be focussed on the outcome: sustainable, aesthetic, functional, innovative, etc. The practice of architecture is not just a matter of good design. Expertise covers all aspects of the practice of architecture and the delivery of the client’s project.
  4. Expertise is weightier in perception and terminology, and more persuasive than the value you bring.
  5. In the debate about the merits of architects v building designers v drafts-people, between the three expertise is the clear differentiator.
  6. Expertise is definitive. Value is more abstract and is in the eye of the beholder.
  7. People pay for expertise. They only pay for the value they perceive.
  8. Pricing correlates with expertise. As an expert you can charge a premium. Value has no fee scale.
  9. Expertise can be learnt, developed and compared. (This has additional benefits – see previous point.)
  10. Expertise instils trust and confidence. Value is an as yet substantiated promise.
  11. Expertise defines what you know and that you know what to do. Value doesn’t.
  12. Architects are experts. They must own it.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels [cropped and edited]

Hi! I’m Michael

I’m an architect and coach. I help architects rethink their practice and support them as they uncover better ways to work. I’ve worked in architecture for over 25 years, and I ran my own practice for 14 years. I understand architectural practice from the inside out. Fun Fact: my NSW architect’s registration is #10 007 and I have a license to skill.

I believe improving practice takes asking hard questions and deep listening.

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