The Worst SOQ I’ve Ever Seen


We are working with a large construction company to design and develop a Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) for one of their specialty divisions. During our preparation and strategy phase (pre-construction), their business developer shared a competitor’s SOQ that he magically obtained – it was horrible!

Let me explain to you why. First off, this competitor is not a small company that lacks resources; that is what infuriates me about it.

  • Lacked powerful first impression – The SOQ was a thick stack of paper with tabs and a spiral coil. It looked like a small company that lacked the money and capabilities of the large corporation that created it.
  • All about me – I am sure you’ve heard by now that you need to position your marketing to be about the client, not your company. This company obviously didn’t hear that; the SOQ read, “me, me, me”.
  • Clunky organization – The SOQ was broken into the company’s subsidiaries that have overlapping services and capabilities. Because it was about them, it confuses prospective buyers because they do not know which group to call; therefore they call no one.
  • Tab 1, 2, 3 – To make things worse, the tabs were not labeled by service or even by subsidiary; they were labeled as Tab 1, Tab 2, Tab 3, and so on. I’m not sure that the tabs even serve a purpose when labeled like that.

I believe this SOQ was put together by a well-intentioned marketing coordinator or executive assistant that was merely following orders. This is a typical marketing piece we see in the construction industry. Because it does not bring in new clients, it is seen by company executives as a big waste of time and money, and future marketing tactics never happen.

Have you seen marketing pieces that made you cringe?