Suggested Reading: Effective Writing Advice for Proposals

Posted by smpsarizona on February 26, 2014
Blogger, Resources / No Comments

Suggested Reading: Effective Writing Advice for Proposals


An interesting, tongue-in-cheek post on about how your high school (and MBA!) English classes have ruined your proposal writing and 5 rules by George Orwell on how to overcome these bad habits, presented by Thank you Jana Brickey for sharing!

How Your High School English Class is Ruining Your Proposals (Don’t get me started on MBAs)


George Orwell’s 5 Rules for Effective Writing


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A New Twist on Client Relations: Psychographer Jack Dermody

Posted by Sommer Caraway on January 26, 2010
Blogger, Construction, Event, Marketing/PR / No Comments

For the January SMPS Arizona Monthly breakfast, Jack Dermody of Four Windows spoke on psychographics, the component of marketing that many of us in the A/E/C industry may overlook as we interact with our clients and create marketing vehicles to communicate the benefits of our firms. Jack successfully condensed his client relations workshop into a 45-minute sneak peak into the application of Four Windows with an interactive exercise in proposal writing.

Mike Godbehere introduced Jack and shared a number of experiences using the Four Windows methodology in his every day client relations practices for GCON, the general contracting firm that he owns. Mike knows what kind of presentation to make: just the bullet points for Orange but be prepared to have the evidence to back it up for Green; the type of information to include in a proposal: include all of the procedure details for Gold; or the perfect meeting place for his clients: Orange would like a quick meeting at Starbucks and Blue would rather meet with the entire team at a comfy, neighborhood locale.

All attendees were asked to take a survey prior to attending to evaluate their colors. Every individual exhibits a gradient of all Four Colors: Gold (guardian), Green (rationalist), Orange (artisan), and Blue (idealist). This system of understanding human behavior in four group types has been used throughout history by Hippocrates, Carl Jung, Myers/Briggs and Keirsey. In 1978, Don Lowry introduced the concept of the Four Colors, an easily understandable way to gain powerful insights into temperament typing and human behavior.

“When you connect with other people’s strengths, you get their attention, you gain their respect and you inspire their cooperation,” Jack Dermody told the audience. These are certainly the goals of any A/E/C firm for their clients.

Each attendee was asked to sit at the table represented by the color least like them. My first three colors are represented quite evenly: Blue, Green and Orange, respectively. Gold is my last or “least like me” color so, I sat with my fellow non-guardians. After the basics of the Four Windows was explained, Jack presented an example paragraph from an RFP and tasked each table to re-write the paragraph to the color least like them. After all, the most difficult task for anyone is to ask them to communicate to those least like them. This exercise stretched the marketing abilities of the entire room.

Most governmental employees are Gold or guardians so, at our table, we imagined our proposal needed to communicate to a municipality. There were a number of blue/green first color types at the table so our paragraph started out Blue and ended in a quick Green review of what we would do for the client. We asked the client to refer to the appendix for a full explanation and documentation. But Mike Godbehere who is experienced in applying Four Windows to client relations made us realize that if we are writing to a Gold audience, we had better put all of the detail and procedure right up front. Only Green and Orange would be okay with checking out the detail later. Our opening needed to change as well. It talked about teamwork and people – a little too Blue for the Gold people we wanted to reach.

After each table had re-written the paragraph, a representative from that table got up and read their paragraph aloud. Persons who had that color as their first color then critiqued the work. Oranges wanted the paragraph to get to the point quicker, Blue wanted to hear how the team was going to work together, Gold wanted every thing spelled out and Green wanted to see the proof of any percentages or numbers were presented.

As marketers and business development professionals, we can take the Four Window principals and apply them not only in proposal and collateral work but to the entire client relations plan for our firms. Four Windows gives us unique and successful tools to differentiate our firm’s approach to our clients and a new, unique way to connect with one another.

RSVP to a full version of the Four Windows Client Relations workshop Jack Dermody is presenting on February 16, 2010.

Patricia Krogh is the principal of KroghCreative, a marketing and business development firm in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Building Arizona Welcomes New Blogger!

Posted by Sommer Caraway on October 05, 2009
Blogger / No Comments

kimberly headshotBuilding Arizona would like to welcome Kimberly Mickelson as a new blogger!

Here is some more information about Kimberly:

Kimberly Mickelson has been in the A/E/C industry for over six years. She began at Circle West Architects as Marketing Coordinator and is currently Marketing Associate at Small Giants.  Her services at Small Giants include proposal development and reviews, social media planning, event planning and scheduling, website management and presenting social media for the A/E/C industry.  Kimberly currently serves on the Media Relations and Programs committee for Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS). Kimberly is also involved in Valley Partnership and Urban Land Institute Young Leaders Group.

She can be reached at

SMPS Arizona Members Win Top Honors at National Conference

Posted by Sommer Caraway on August 05, 2009
Awards, Blogger, Marketing/PR / No Comments

AllisonHalfToneColor12SmallA BIG contratulations to Building Arizona blogger Allison Van Dyke (@jolttoaction), who was recently honored with two SMPS Marketing Communications Awards!  Read the press release below for details.





SMPS Arizona Members Win Top Honors at National Conference

(PHOENIX, Ariz.) — The Society for Marketing Professional Services honored Arizona-based design firms DAVIS and DFDia for their design of marketing brochures, as well as awarding the Arizona chapter an ‘Outstanding Certificate,’ at the national conference in July.

SMPS Arizona member Allison Van Dyke, of JOLT! Marketing Communications, accepted 2nd place for the design of a DAVIS brochure and 1st place for the design of a DFDia brochure in the small-firm category.

Arizona chapter president Barbara Vo accepted an ‘Outstanding Certificate for an XL Chapter’ on behalf of the SMPS Arizona chapter, which was awarded the honor based on its successes and progress in the 2008-2009 fiscal year. Specific evaluation criteria included program/education goals, management overview and benefits, communications, and financial health. 

Vo believes the chapter’s biggest accomplishments of the year were:

For more information, visit.


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Building Arizona Welcomes New Blogger!

Posted by Sommer Caraway on August 04, 2009
Blogger / No Comments

darla_webBuilding Arizona welcomes Darla George as one of our new bloggers!  Below is a brief introduction to Darla:

Darla George has a diverse background that spans 15 years.  Her past professional experience includes being a marketing coordinator for RNL Design; marketing manager for Poolside Studios in San Francisco, Calif.; marketing communications specialist at CIGNA Healthcare of Arizona; and currently, marketing manager at Deutsch Architecture Group.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Phoenix and has a Marketing Design Master’s Certificate through Sessions School of Design.  Darla currently serves as branding chair of the Society for Marketing Professional Services and formerly served as communications chair, as well as on the hospitality committee.  She will assume her position as membership director of SMPS Arizona in September.