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Marketing for Architects: Ideal Clients, Mindset & Maximising Your Global Reach with English

In episode 15 of Think Big, I share a conversation I had with Marina Sciarrino about all things marketing in architecture.

Marina is a coach who helps architects to attract the clients they want through marketing & mindset. A former architect turned marketing coach based in Milan, Marina is half Italian half-French and in our conversation, we discuss how this identity and past experience has given her a unique perspective in the world of architecture.

We discuss:

✨How her bilingual culture impacted her and gave her unique cultural perspectives

✨Her story from architecture to marketing

✨What she loves about helping architects with their marketing including how to connect to your values and understand your ideal clients and why marketing isn't as bad as you think.

Marina wants architects to see how important it is to understand marketing no matter where you sit in the hierarchy of practice from graduate to CEO.

Marina's details

Tara - ArchiEnglish details

✨ Connect with me on LinkedIn Tara Cull

Ready to take action to speak up and share your voice?

In November 2021 we are starting the very first ArchiEnglish practice - a group coaching program to get you confidently express your words. Come and join me and other professionals in the built design profession to share your voice and speak up with more confidence. ArchiEnglish Practice Course

Extended Shownotes




Gavetta - the first job you do in Italy once you finish your architecture studies

make a pivot - make a change

lead magnet - something you give to clients for free that has valuable information so you can collect their email and continue to share valuable information with them

ideal client - a typical client you would like to work with

niche - a specialized segment of the market



Quick Find Snippets - Take me straight to these sections


Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 00:00

You're listening to think big episode 15

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 00:14

Hello big thinkers and welcome to episode 15 of Think Big English for architects. I'm your host Tara Cull, landscape architect and Communication Coach for ArchiEnglish. As part of my work at Archi English I coach people in the built design profession who speak English as a second language to build outstanding communication skills and feel more confident to speak up. You can learn more about my coaching programmes and courses at In today's episode, I'm happy to share a conversation I had with Marina Sciarrino about all things marketing in architecture. Marina and I have been working together over the last 12 months and we've come to appreciate the work that we both do. She has taught me an enormous amount about marketing. She's helped me to overcome some of my mindset barriers when it comes to marketing. And I've gained a lot more insight into the importance of knowing what you value as an architect and why it matters when it comes to marketing. I've really come to appreciate the importance of having a niche and a focus area and really knowing your ideal client. And I've been delighted to also have her as a client, helping her with levelling up her English, given that she wanted to enhance her global reach in architecture.

Marina is a coach who helps architects to attract the clients that they want through marketing and mindset. She's a former architect turned marketing coach based in Milan. Marina is half Italian half French. And in our conversation, we discuss how this identity and past experience has given her a unique perspective in the world of architecture. Now, if you want to get in contact with Marina, you'll find all her details in the extended show notes at In today's episode, you'll hear lots of vocabulary when it comes to marketing, like lead magnet, or ideal clients. So as always, you'll find the key vocabulary and the transcript for today's episode at archi Let's get into today's episode. Well, thank you, Marina for joining me today. We've been working together for almost 12 months, which has been exciting, and it's been a nice journey. So just before we start, could you tell the listeners a little bit about who you are?

Marina Sciarrino 02:49

Hi Tara that thanks for having me here. Sure. So I'm, my name is Marina Sciarrino. And I am a former architect. So I have studied as an architect, I've made (did) what in Italian we would call Gaveta. So working for small (little) money for other architects, and then I've been employed, and then I have also owned my own studio with some associates, and you know path, the life path can be changing. And at one point, I changed. And they made a pivot. And I went into innovation and I went into marketing. So I jumped from architecture and designer into innovation, software platforms, marketing, and all these kinds of stuff. And actually, I now I help architects, designers, creatives professionals to get clients online and to to enjoy their work, actually. So it's about marketing. And it's also about mindset, so being able to do what we need to do in by marketing or in their communication, but also grow with the business in a way that feels connected to their values and having work life balance. And I'd like in improving and going their impact in your society, since I think this is the kind of professional who has a role into the society.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 04:32

It sounds like you found a gap in the market a little bit in terms of architects wanting to know more about how to market themselves and how to connect more to their values and to be able to reach clients. Is it would that be correct?

Marina Sciarrino 04:49

Yes, totally. Because our studies do not teach us how to market ourselves, have to communicate ourselves, or even about knowing our own values as architects, it's more about acquiring the skills, the technical, or the creative skills we need. But there is some path which is really missing. And that's what they want to, to feel, to help with.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 05:21

Yeah, and I think that's such an important mission. And so what I would like for today's conversation as well is for people to see that it's not just marketing isn't just for the head of the architecture practice. If we all have an understanding of marketing, we understand how we sell ourselves, but we also understand how we can, in the big picture kind of connect to our clients in a better way. So I think it's going to be a fun conversation. So speaking of fun conversation, because we're not just architects, we're not just marketing experts, I always like to ask people, if they can share a fun fact about themselves. So what would you share about yourself?

Marina Sciarrino 06:04

Okay, so a fun fact is, I am Italian and French. I am both. So my father is Italian, my mother is French, I've studied in the bilingual school. And when I was an as you may hear, I have what we can, what we can call a soft hair. So with sound is a bit difficult for me. And what is funny is, but usually when I was younger, when I was in Italy, people will say, Oh, you are the French Ha, wow. When I was in France, they will say, Oh, you have a lonely Ah, but every time you ask, and the truth is not pronouncing it in the way I should never in French never in Italian, but there was kind of juggling with with this. Having two language to stay on the right path.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 07:08

So I guess it makes it difficult sometimes to, to feel like you're fully part of one or fully part of the other. Is that right?

Marina Sciarrino 07:18

Yes, that's I think it is, it is a path of growth, because I was identifying myself as both. But I think there was a moment where if I asked myself, I am, I am more French, or I am more Italian. And I'll do a mix of a culture of these two counties, and do I fit in really in one county or in another county. And so I think that there is a kind of moment you have when you are coming from two different types of cultures and Italy and France are not so far away one from another. So I can totally understand how much it can be difficult for people coming from culture, which are even more different between between them. And in the end, I just, I just feel I am myself. And so I am on a unique path, which has two kind of cultures, but it's like owning who I am. And I can be what they want.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 08:27

But important, I think I'm really glad that you mentioned that too, because I obviously work with a lot of people who speak English as a second language, or even have three languages. So being able to be proud of it, and just to be who you are, and to just be in the world as you would like to be is an important thing and being able to connect to your values. And And now you've thrown English into the mix as well. So you've got three personalities. So I think that's a great thing. You can adapt and do different things depending on which culture you're speaking to or which person you're speaking to.

Marina Sciarrino 09:06

Yes, and I do like what I do like the English coming in, because it's a way to be able to connect more globally with everyone. And it's, it's fun also because, you know, as I am a marketing, I don't know if I can say expert but I am a marketing coach and marketing educator. I have been training myself and usually I've got my trainings in English. And with one of my coaches, we were saying okay, but do you feel the same things in Italian? What you are actually learning in English. Can you really translate Can you can really feel them into another language. And I was like, Oh, let me check. If we if really if Bringing all the knowledge in, in the different languages. So what's really interesting to work on?

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 10:06

Yeah, that's so interesting. I think it's a superpower to be able to learn something in one language. Think about it in your own. Think about it, whether it would apply. So. And actually, that's a question that I hadn't planned for you. But I'd like to know, actually, so if, if you were working with somebody, on their marketing, and you're working with an Italian architect, would you apply different principles from an Italian architect to a French one? For example?

Marina Sciarrino 10:36

No. Okay, that's a good question. So the principles for me are the same. So it can be more about knowing what kind of mindset problem we can have behind we can be also cultural, and it's adapting on the tone of voice maybe that each language is as each language as because English can be more direct, and which is something I do like, sometimes, we need maybe two help the people to adjust to the tone of voice and to the way people are using their own language in their own county. But the principles are the same.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 10:38

So that leads me to my next question, which is, what do you love about helping architects with their marketing?

Marina Sciarrino 11:34

Oh, I really love the idea of empowering this kind of professional because it just is just hurts, when I hear architects who have great ideas, that sense of space, and we have so much (many) skills, and we skills, we can help people have like better spaces in which they live like houses, but also in the cities, and have better design, etc. And they can't reach the people they could help. And then and they could change their life in some kind of way. Because quality of space is also quality of life, I think. So it really gives me the sense of Yes, of empowering someone to have a bigger impact into a society. And, and I like also, when the clients I work with, usually we are also highly sensitive people. And sometimes they can't see fully how much they are able to achieve. And so also this mounting with kind of an idea and seeing them, like they kind of blossom. And so I really I really, really like that.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 12:58

Yeah, so what sorts of things do you help architects to see. So I know that we've talked about understanding values, understanding your ideal client and also connecting to your message. But could you talk us through a little bit how you might help an architect or an architecture practice to improve their marketing?

Marina Sciarrino 13:19

Sure, there are some I think unmissable steps you need to go through to improve your marketing, which is, first of all, knowing yourself. So if you are working alone, as a marketing and design that creative, it's not only, knowing yourself, but you can also apply it to a studio. So it's mean, what makes the values of a studio? What makes the values of each one? And what are the skills that everyone has. So it's got this kind of introspective side. So marketing doesn't come some from something which you can just like, put on you, it comes from who you are and from that, we need to go and have a look to the ideal client and try to have a better understanding of what where the client is. And we can also have many different idea clients, but which one, we would like to focus more on our marketing. So where do we put the light on in our communication in our marketing and which which needs to be related to where we are and what our values? And because the best way to match the client with ourselves is to have this kind of alignment. And then we go into more of a strategy. And the strategy is it's a fifth step system, which I usually recommend which goes from the visibility part. So being seen, and and then the attraction, so attracting someone near enough so you can have a way to get in touch with people this person back again and then nurturing, and educating and then the conversion which is when you would like go kind of flying. And then starts the on demand service because usually architects designer and creative professional which are service based or space based they need to fit their service based on the needs of a client. So, it's not so much of a product it's more of a service. And so there is this part, which is really, really a one to one partner, one one to one path. So this is the system I help my clients go through, and we build the different parts of the system, from the lead magnet from the way to inviting people to a demand and nurturing emails, etc. But the main thing about all that is having the understanding of where people is (are) in how much they know you and they, like you and men need you. And understanding that, it's not just that tactics and tools, if it's helping people who need you to find you to understand that you are the one, that can help them.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 16:38

So instead of I guess what you're saying to is, instead of saying, Yes, we can do everything and do anything that you want us to, we do the work beforehand to understand who we are as a practice or who we are as an architect who we want to work with and so we define those very clear aspects of those clients so that when they do come to us, we already know that they connect with what we need. So it's actually we're providing them a product, rather than just doing everything they want. Is that right?

Marina Sciarrino 17:12

Yes. Because usually, as a practice or as a professional, you, you are afraid to miss clients. And so people try to speak to everyone, because potentially, you could help almost everyone, but on the internet especially. And anyway, in marketing in general it doesn't work that way. Because there's so much noise, so you really need to say, okay, I can help everyone. But if I had the choice, the first one I would help would be and but will be the best one, I could help in the more unique and effective way. And so this is really making this kind of choice. So that the people who are attracted to you and come to you, they come usually from the space where you have been clearly articulating what you do and how you can help them. And it doesn't mean that you you can't have other clients. And it doesn't mean that you would need to say no to other types of ideal clients or potential clients and projects. But it's just to say, I will speak for this (these) kinds of people or for these kind of projects or these kinds of needs because I know but like my my superpower. Right now that we're in this kind of project.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 18:43

Yeah, it's it's definitely something that even myself to with the work that I'm doing with Aki English, I can see the benefit of it. So I do have other clients that I work with who I've worked with for a long time, but at the moment now focusing just on architects and being able to understand what their needs are and, and delving much deeper. It helps me to connect to people in a way that feels a lot more connected than just people coming to me and saying, Hey, I need you to teach me English, it's much more specialised. And likewise for when I was working as a landscape architect as well. I had a very specific clientele in mind. There were people that were liking that like native plants, for example, they want to look at having habitat creation in their garden, those sorts of things. So I was able to connect with those particular clients. So I have one more question in terms of the ideal client. How, how would you recommend somebody looks at at identifying what an ideal client is like, what what sorts of, I guess niches or what sort of things would they be looking for?

Marina Sciarrino 19:56

Okay, so but their client, it can be a niche like I like the, my niche and your niche which which is like architects, designers. So it's, it's, it's a job related niche, but you don't always need to have this kind of niche. So it can be a niche about the type of projects. So it can be around this eventual projects instead, but commercial projects, or it can be a niche about the family situation. Or it can be a niche about the kind of space. So you can really niche down in very different ways. But very important thing is when you niche down, it's understanding how much who you are, and what you already have, can be of help to his kind of niche. And now you can be different from one other. Because in any kind of niche, you will find over over people who are providing the same similar type of services. So if you are an architect's it, you won't be the only one on with this kind of space, you can have more crowded spaces, and less crowded spaces. But when you when you set up yourself to choose an ideal client in some kind of way, in any in any space, you are just talking to a part of the space. And this is your narrow your focus and your wording.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 21:45

I can imagine too over a process over a period of time. The more that you narrow that process down, the more you get to know yourself and what your practice is like and what you're capable of. And you just get better and better as well.

Marina Sciarrino 22:00

Sure. You and the growth goes quicker.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 22:06

Yeah. Yeah, well, it sounds like the ideal client, knowing your ideal client is the way to go. And understanding what your values are and how to connect your message is very important. So another thing that we've talked about a lot, obviously, because I'm in Europe, and you're in Italy, as well, and we've talked about English and how improving English or having more of an understanding of that as a second language can actually help widen your reach. Could you talk me through a little bit about that, and maybe even talk about, for example, why you feel like it was important to to work with me on your English as well.

Marina Sciarrino 22:48

For the English, I think that you have two ways of using English to expand your, your reach. And one is. So let's say that you are a local architect or a local designer, so you don't want to go global. And you are in one county, and you may say, Okay, in this one county, I just want to help people who are locally near me, because I will need to go in building sites. And they will know too. So I have some kind of activities. And so if I think it's geolocate geo located into some kind of parameter. But using English helps, you get in touch with people that can kind of project or can also need local, but who are coming from other counties, because it's anyway, international language, that can help people connect all around the world. It's not the only one we can speak between our selves because but it's it's sure, for sure. The more used one. And so having this ability to to broaden your communication, your marketing also in English, and to help someone who can be from another county, even if your project is located in your own county is a way to get a niche an audience that you would miss anyway. And the other way to see that is you may also want to expand globally. So you may want to have the more team you may want to be able to to make projects with different counties in another counties and so trying to participate in some kind of hours. So having the knowledge of the reach of English and being confident enough to try to let your message go through and people understanding what you want to say even if it's not perfect anyway, it's it's really a way to, to expand your your global reach. So that was the case for me, because I am in the second case, which is being able, being able to help people, also from other counties. Because I'm not, yes, I am walking from th intenet. So I can from everywhere. And so that was my aim. So you have these two ways you can use English to expand your ability to reach clients.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 25:40

Yeah, and I guess from what I've done with my research as well, having English on your website as well, even if you're in Italy, or in my case, in France, it expands your SEO reach by having English and the other, the other language, French or Italian. So it helps to connect to a more global audience, even if your clients are only as you say, in Italy, or in Germany, or France. And yeah, when you were saying that I was thinking about a couple of clients I have in France, who and a number of their clients actually are Russian, American. And so the language that they can speech, they can speak between the two cultures is obviously English. And so they have seen their business expand outside of France, because of having the opportunity to speak English, even between countries in Europe as well. So it's important. So my last question for you. Is there any? Is there something that you would like listeners today, I think you have given so much valuable information I've, as I've been listening to speak, I've had so many ideas pinging off in my head. So what's the one thing that you would like listeners to take away from our conversation today?

Marina Sciarrino 27:00

I would like them to think to change the way we think about marketing. And, and say to himself, okay, this is something I definitely definitely, need to explore. And, and as you said, wherever you have your own firm, your your x, you are working for someone else. Like building the skills, and understanding what it is and how it is helpful to grow. I think not only professionally, but also personally because marketing is like personal development, I think, I think so it's it's way too, okay. This is something I haven't explored, or I have been afraid of and I would like to go a bit more in depth, and understanding what it is really meaning and what, how I can change my business, or how we can change the way I show up. Because it's, it's an attitude, also. And there is a resource I usually give to my architects and designers, which can be found on my website, which is a free guide on the three step system I have spoken about. So it won't give answers to everything. But it is a starting point for people to say, Okay, I understand a bit more about that, and maybe something what can grow my, my, my personality, and what can grow my business.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 28:41

Okay, great. Well, we'll put a link to that resource in the show notes, and people can see if they can find it. Another thing I was thinking as we were talking is if if you do want to know more about marketing, we we did watch a few Seth Godin videos. So if you want to know a little bit more about marketing, definitely watch a few Seth Godin videos to understand what we're talking about

Marina Sciarrino 29:05

He is so great. And there is a big misconception about marketing, which is like marketing is if it was something about sales or sales or sleazy marketing has tactics. And when you start exploring that to just understand how much it is fundamental. In how we buy things, and in how our clients find us and how we can help people. So it's really, really important to go out from this kind of belief that marketing is not for intellectual and creative people and technical people like architects, designers, etc, but instead understanding how it empowers, these kinds of professionals.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 29:58

There was something that you said to me once which was marketing is a way for people who need you to find you. And, and they will benefit from that. And that really shifted my mindset, a lot about marketing in that it helps people who need your help to find you. So, I think that that was the best wisdom that you gave me. Thank you.

Marina Sciarrino 30:23

Thank you for, for saying that. Because yes, but it's really a shift of mind.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 30:30

Alright, well, before we finish today, Marina, is there anything else that we've missed that you were dying to share that you would like to to talk about before we finish?

Marina Sciarrino 30:39

Oh, what's the difficult question because I would like to share so we can talk about marketing. Okay. You got me really excited about marketing, that's for sure.

Marina Sciarrino 30:49

And I really I really, like marketing and I like marketing connected over mindset. So are we see how we feel when we do things? etc? So, yes, one question or I couldn't dance. I don't know, maybe what's why? Why the mindset is useful i would say. And it is essential, because Many, many people don't market themselves, or don't market their firm, or don't market it enough, because they have some beliefs behind about how wealthy they are. Our capable they are, how much people really need the valuable work. And where he is with failure, the fear of failure, fear of rejection, right? So much (many) things coming in, like, Okay, but what if I make the most beautiful website and nobody comes my website, but will be a failure. And it's like seeing things in bad way, and not seeing, but you're just putting one step after another to reach the people you want to work with. And so mindset is really an essential part of marketing. And I think marketers don't think and don't talk about not so much as we should, because that is what usually comes into their way. It's not tactics. It's just like, stopping and when you should go on going on something which is not the right path, because you're afraid to change your path. And so it's also yes, all these kinds of things. So that will be covered. I will talk about my

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 32:49

Yeah, that's another topic. But I would say exactly the same thing. For English or speaking English, it's, it's, for me, the biggest part is the mindset aspect. And that once you overcome that mindset aspect, or you, you work through that mindset, then you can start taking steps to improve and and see the improvements that you're making. So even when if I was working with somebody who was trying to reach a more global audience, often they might say I'm afraid to say things because they're afraid that people are going to judge them. But it's about taking those little steps. And then really looking back and saying, Look how much progress I've made. Because it's getting me closer, you're not going to be from zero to 100 in by clicking your fingers. It takes time. So I think it's important. And I'm glad you mentioned that. All right, well, I think we'll leave it there. Otherwise, we'll be here all day. And we'll talk about marketing all day. But thank you very much, Marina, I really appreciate the conversation. I had a great time talking to you, as always. So thank you very much.

Marina Sciarrino 33:54

Thank you very much for having me here. And yes, I feel we will have so much more time. And we'll have so much more conversations about that.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 34:05

Sure. We will have not we can do another conversation next year perhaps and I'll definitely be excited to share that for sure.

Marina Sciarrino 34:14

Thank you, everyone.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 34:15

Thanks again for the conversation Marina and for sharing your valuable ideas about marketing, and why it's so important. I certainly hope that it's helped a lot of you to shift your mindset when it comes to understanding more about the importance of knowing your values, and also the importance of marketing. I'm sure that it has sparked some thoughts for many of you. If you appreciated today's episode, be sure to share it with somebody who might find it useful. Thanks again for listening, and I look forward to sharing my next conversation with you very soon.

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