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Winter 2017

Content: Currency in the Attention Economy

Buyers of accounting services are growing more demanding and price sensitive. How can your firm break through those defenses and build the kinds of relationships that lead to profitable engagements? Two social networking experts share how to use “content as currency” to become more visible in social networks and more valuable to buyers.

Using Analytics to Drive Content Decisions and Drive Leads

It’s a good bet your CPA firm utilizes digital marketing to create lead opportunities and drive brand loyalty. If so, your task is straightforward: Develop and deploy fresh and relevant content on your website, and promote it through social media and outreach platforms to help partners, principals and staff convert site visitors into new business. In the article, “Using Analytics to Drive Content Decisions and Drive Leads,” we highlight some of our favorite methods for collecting rich insights from websites, and we share examples that detail how these methods can be utilized. Examples include: (1) Google Analytics: Through these reports, you can learn which landing pages drive the most traffic—then streamline your content accordingly. (2) Google Search Console: This tool provides a listing of the search terms that people type into Google and, ultimately, use to land on your site. (3) Heatmap: This software informs of you of behavioral patterns of your site visitors, which allows you to make informed decisions about where to place specific messaging and call-to-action requests in priority positions.

Innovative Accounting Firms Are Offering Marketing Services

Since traditional accounting services are considered a commodity, is can be difficult to differentiate your firm from the competition. It is imperative for marketers to present the unique value their firm can bring to a relationship. High growth accounting firms are branching out and offering business advisory services in areas such as wealth and investment management, CFO, human resources, training, and information technology. Innovative firms are taking it one step further by offering marketing services. KPMG and Deloitte are among the many firms that are either buying advertising agencies or investing in the talent and expertise to form their own marketing services group. It is estimated that eight of North America’s top advertising agencies are now owned by Big 4 accounting or other large consulting firms. This article discusses the many benefits firm realize by offering marketing services. A case study is also presented on the high level of success Skoda Minotti has achieved.

Take the Shortcut to Growth

In Take the Shortcut to Growth, The Accountable Growth™ Coach suggests three straight-forward steps and detailed tips to streamline your firm’s time and money investments for faster growth: (1) Identify your “Next-Gen” Growth Leaders with the help of proven characteristics. (2) Use the scorecard to assess “Growth Leader Mindsets” against eight criteria that have been developed with input from hundreds of professional service firm partners and senior managers. Potential Next-Gen Growth Leaders can anonymously complete the scorecard and see how they compare to others by visiting http://www.accountablegrowth.com and clicking the “Growth Leader Mindsets” button. (3) Launch a “Next-Gen Growth Leaders Program”, sponsored by an active senior leader and facilitated by a seasoned coach (internal or external). Follow the recommended approach fastidiously. Take the Shortcut to Growth and expect increased engagement, effectiveness and results from your Next-Gen Growth Leaders.

This Accounting Podcast Is Boring Booming!

When Rea & Associates set out to launch unsuitable on Rea Radio in the fall of 2015, the firm’s practice growth team’s objective was simple: produce a podcast that would accurately reflect Rea’s unique culture while demonstrating the expertise of the firm’s industry leaders. Today, just over one year later, the podcast has racked up more than 11,000 listens on SoundCloud (with about 200 new listens every week), established a loyal fan base, received several national and global accolades and, perhaps most importantly, has positioned many of the firm’s experts as thought leaders in their respective fields. Read on to learn more about Rea’s successful podcasting endeavor and walk away with some best practices you can use infiltrate the airwaves with your own show.

Capitalizing on Uncertainty

Political uncertainty is an opportunity for accounting firms to apply agile marketing techniques. In this article, K·Coe Isom’s Debra Helwig explains how her firm capitalizes on uncertain situations by creating timely, explanatory materials and using them to reach out to customers and potential customers. By staying agile, the firm creates credibility, anticipates guidance that customers need, uses expertise to lead conversations that can shape policy and support businesses, and reminds customers that they are not alone in facing changes.

Fall 2016

Fostering Emotional Intelligence In Accounting Firms

Emotional intelligence (EI) is one of the single biggest predictors of success in all types of jobs, and yet many dismiss emotional intelligence training as “fluff” or “soft skills.” These individuals most likely are not aware that nearly three-quarters of organizations that perform EI assessments report positive revenue growth, compared with 56% of organizations that don’t assess EI. Marketing and business development professionals can make a profound impact on their firms by helping to foster emotional intelligence that their professionals need to connect with and engage clients and potential clients. In this article, learn how Top 10 accounting firm CliftonLarsonAllen is improving its professionals’ “intelligence quotient” and building better business developers in the process.

Client Experience: A New Frontier in Accounting Marketers’ Career Path

In recent years, we have witnessed the continuous evolution of marketing, not just in this industry, but also as a profession. The rapid advancement of technology has enhanced opportunities for brand recognition and awareness, yet this is still very much a relationship driven profession. The client experience involves both pieces, as it relates to communication and messaging from a firm (its brand promise) and the face-to-face client service and relationship (execution of the brand promise). A new career path has emerged in the CPA profession that is perfect for marketers because it pairs traditional marketing areas of focus with client feedback and training to further develop a culture that is centered on the client experience. In this article, Leisa Gill and Mitch Reno provide insights into their new roles and the rewards that they and their firms have gained in the process.

Walking a Blended Line: The Changing Roles of Marketing and Business Development

The conundrum for today’s marketing and business development professionals can be summarized this way: every firm views marketing and business development differently, and every firm gives different latitude and responsibility to the person who sits in the lead marketing/BD role. As a result, there is a lot of confusion about what skills we as professionals need to have in order to be successful in the future, and what systems and leaders the firms who want to be best-in-class should put in place to manage marketing and sales. To cut through the confusion and get a glimpse of what the future holds, we talked to a handful of leaders across the country who have a wide range of different titles and responsibilities, but whose perspective is similar on what really matters on the path to creating a firm known as a client acquisition powerhouse.

Budgeting for Success

When it comes to preparing an effective Marketing budget, proper preparation and a thoughtful strategy are key to gaining support and ultimately reaching success. In a world (and industry) focused on the numbers, it’s increasingly important to approach the preparation and presentation of your budget with confidence, strategy and most importantly — full understanding of your firm and department. Find out more about the ways in which you can tackle your budget like a pro and get the best results for both you and your firm.

The Future of Accounting Marketing: AAM Rookies of the Year Look Ahead

While Katie Butler and Ian McManis share AAM’s 2016 Rookie of the Year title, each have different experiences and unique perspectives on the accounting marketing profession. Butler is a one-person marketing department working with more than 65 professionals at Houston-based Weinstein Spira. McManis works within a marketing department of four people serving the 150 professionals of Cincinnati-based Barnes Dennig. Growth Strategies invited Katie and Ian to discuss their perspectives on the future of the Accounting Marketing profession including evolving marketing roles, client service culture, the rise of review sites, mission-critical marketing tools and how marketers should best invest in themselves.

Summer 2016

Social Times: Moving from a LinkedIn Profile to Developing New Business Socially

This article explores the significance of social media in the decision-making process and delves into the need and opportunity for online content marketing. It discusses how to move partners from waiting in a country club for their next lead to using LinkedIn to build a cult of followers that bring in business. It provides best practices and approaches to content marketing creation (e.g., how to get your partners to write) and sharing. It looks at how to make your partners into thought leaders through practiced sharing and calculated approaches that balance the sharing of third party content and original firm content.

Going Mobile…Without an App

It’s an increasingly mobile world. But don’t panic if your organization isn’t prepared — financially or logistically — to develop an application for Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android operating systems. Leverage today’s popular platforms to tap into the power of smartphones and other internet-enabled devices. From email and video to social media and responsive websites, hitch a ride directly to clients, prospects and others faster and with less expense … no app required.

A New Way of Thinking About Referrals: 10 Things You Need to Know

In this article, we dispel many of the misconceptions around referral marketing—the lifeblood of accounting firms. Learn how to make the most of the marketing and business development techniques that help your firm capture referrals and turn them into clients.

Spring 2016

8 Steps to Provide the Right Content for Your Clients

Practical steps shed light on how to develop a content strategy that supports your business goals.

Converting Digital Into Dollars The Process of Transitioning Leads From Marketing to Sales

Last year’s AAM Marketer of The Year shares best practices on how convert to digital leads into sales.

It’s Time to Add Video to Your Firm’s Marketing Mix

YouTube is the second-most-visited search engine on the Web. Some firms are grabbing their share of this traffic by creatively using video. Read how two early-adopter CPA firms successfully added video to their marketing mix.

Social Hiring: 3 Ways to Use Social Media in Your Recruitment Strategy

Recruiting talent is one of the biggest challenges facing the accounting industry. Learn how social media strategies are being used to fulfill recruiting needs.

How to Stand Out in a Crowded Industry 5 Ways to Utilize Client Satisfaction Surveys to Grow Your Firm

The U.S. Census Bureau reveals there are 7,456 accounting firms in the United States. With all that competition, can client satisfaction surveys be utilized

Winter 2015-2016

Happily Ever After: Strategies for a Successful Merger

Navigating the ins and outs of a merger can be a daunting task. This article offers guidance on how to succeed.

The Marketer’s Role in Shaping Women’s Initiatives

From educational workshops to sponsorships, the marketing team can help drive these programs forward. 

Is Your Firm Ready for Strategic Growth? 10 Things to Consider when Bringing a Business Development Executive (Salesperson!) into Your Firm

Growth-minded managing partners questioning whether to hire professional sales people. This article lays out some criteria to help in the decision-making process. 

Introducing AAM’s Code of Ethics The Value of Professional Conduct for the Association and Its Membership

Learn about what the code means to AAM and its individual members.

Beyond the Paycheck 2015-2016 Compensation Trends for Accounting Marketers

Do you believe you are paid fairly compared to your peers in other industries? One survey indicates that the majority of accounting marketing and business development professionals don’t believe they are. This survey provides firms with a comprehensive set of salary benchmarks.

Fall 2015

7 Sales Habits of Highly Effective Professionals

Selling is not the forte of most accountants. This article simplifies the necessary elements.

Stretch Goals to Achieve Better Results

When you use goals to give yourself focus and guide your actions, you and your CPA firm will achieve greater success.

Improving Event and Sponsorship Results

These best practices aim to capitalize on opportunities before, during, and after an event to give marketers the best probability for ROI success.

Deciphering Web Analytics

Each year, the analytics offered by digital platforms gets more sophisticated. But with that comes the fear that we are measuring the wrong data.

Summer 2015

Beating the Longevity Odds: Career Paths of 3 Marketers

Marketers are achieving partner, principal and chief marketing officer status. Hear how three of them did it.

Turbocharge Your Growth:Build Your Own Rainmakers

Building more rainmakers seems like a reasonable way for firms to accelerate their growth. But how? 

What to Expect from Outside Agencies and Consultants

A glimpse at what our peers look for in an agency relationship and what matters the most to their firms.

Establishing Credibility: Tips for both new and experienced marketers

Does more than a decade of accounting marketing experience prepare you for a new job in another firm?

Spring 2015

What Is Marketing’s Responsibility with Respect to ROI?
A snapshot into how several firms are handling this challenge

Partners love to measure. The problem is that what they measure is not always the same as what marketing measures. This article shows examples of how focusing on the right ROI can move marketers closer than ever to becoming a prime factor in driving firm revenue.

Cultivating a Growth Culture: Assessing How to Improve Your Firm’s Sales Culture

This article is more of an assessment tool, or one of those consumer magazine quizzes on steroids. It provides a Growth and Sales Culture Rating Sheet to score your firm on each of 10 variables. At the conclusion of the process, you’ll be able to tabulate the rating and get a better understanding of where your firm is today and what adjustments it may need to improve its sales and business development capacity and culture.

Eight Ways to Guarantee Your CRM Implementation Project Fails

Doesn’t the name say it all? For years, firms have been complaining about this very topic and most problems stem from poor user adoption and commitment. Hear about some real-life scenarios gone awry and learn how to avoid making the same mistakes.

Winter 2014-2015

Gaining a Seat at the Table

This article outlines proven ways to build a marketing and business development plan that can make a profitable difference for your firm and earn you the attention of key decision makers.

Accounting Firm Benchmarking: Metrics That Matter

Knowledge of traditional firm metrics will help marketers speak the language of firm economics and better connect with partners on the issues that are of most concern to them.

Think Like a Business Developer

Differences in perspective directly impact how marketers and business developers approach ideas, opportunities, initiatives and even personal interactions.

Marketing Strategy: The Art of Tactics

Learn the steps to positioning the marketer as a business partner.

Is Marketing Automation a Good Investment for CPA Firms?

It’s easy to get excited about what marketing automation software can do. Making it work in order to pay off the investment? Not so easy.

Fall 2014

Leverage Competitive Data to Build a Better Marketing Budget

Learn how your peers/competitors are spending their marketing dollars and use this number-rich article to talk to your partners about reallocating your budget.

Happily Ever After? Managing Branding and Communications in a Merger

Marketers aren’t always among the first to know about a merger, but they clearly play an important role in successfully communicating the new message to clients and prospects.

The Road to Thought Leadership

Advice from some of today’s most respected thought leaders in the accounting profession.

Lights! Camera! … Stop! More Effective Use of Video in Accounting Marketing

Video may be among the hottest new trends, but don’t dive into it without thinking through why and how.

Engaging Your Professionals in Social Media

Social media is not new, yet firms continue to struggle with which channels to embrace and whom to involve.

Summer 2014

Why Value Pricing?

Improve your pricing strategies by focusing on deliverables, results and outcomes.  

Success Tips for the New Proposal Writer

Create sales documents that stand out from the pack in both content and presentation.  

Price and the RFP: Differentiate, Don’t Devalue

Approach your RFPs with the intent to rise above the battle for the bottom price.

The Price vs. Value Conundrum for Clients and Prospects

Uncover your prospect’s underlying needs, wants and fears for powerful proposals.

Accounting Marketing 2020: The Five Year Forecast
Marketing Professionals Today Are Concurrent Agents and Victims of Change

Collective wisdom from top accounting CMOs on the trends most likely to impact our trade within
the next six years.

Spring 2014

Personal Brand Power: Underdog Strategies for Competing Against National Firm Brands

A well-developed personal brand for middle market professionals can overcome the Goliath brands of national firms, particularly at key points in the sales
pipeline.

Do You Have a Personal Process?

Some professionals are blessed with a natural propensity for practice development. For those without such gifts, a more disciplined approach can lead to greater market success. 

People Don’t Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It
Weaving Your Firm’s “Why” Into Marketing

Prospects buy with both logic and emotion, and when firms capitalize on the latter, their connections — and results — improve.

How Accounting Services Purchasers Search for Subject Matter Experts

What does it take to be an effective SME? Besides pure desire, a measured approach can lead to better personal branding.

The Impact of a Leader’s Interpersonal Strategies

Accounting marketing professionals need to focus on their firm’s brand as well as the personal brands of their professionals. And it starts at the top.

Winter 2013-2014

How to Create New Solutions in a More Competitive Environment

Many firms talk about new solutions, but like many product introductions, they fail. Here are some considerations to drive success.  

Social Media: Proven Methods That Win Clients and Influence People

Social media is the rage in B2B marketing, but how can a firm manage that process effectively with multiple partners and a myriad of online channels? 

Care and Feeding of an Advertising Agency Relationship
How to Hire or Review an Advertising Agency

The right agency can be an ally and brand builder to the marketing professional, but the wrong one can lead to costly frustration.

The Business Discipline of Practice Growth
Unlock the “Strategy Safe” and Watch Your Firm Grow!

The Research Call is a process being used by firms as a more strategic approach to firm growth. Learn about what’s inside your firm’s “strategy safe.”

Corporate Culture and Its Impact on Your Brand

Your people are your brand, and your brand is your people. In this article, a marketing veteran of multiple industries frames the brand values related to firm culture.

Fall 2013

Demand for Sustainability Services Builds Slowly But Steadily

Accounting firms have an opportunity to take a leadership position in a nascent but growing niche. While demand for sustainability assurance in the United States lags other countries, CFOs and other C-suite leaders are becoming more engaged in corporate sustainability reporting and are starting to demand high-quality assurance of those reports.

The Growing Trend of M&As

Mergers and acquisitions are a current trend in the accounting industry. Firms are looking to expand and cast a larger net to serve clients and generate new business; mergers and acquisition is an effective way to do this.

Summer 2013

Science Comes to Marketing
Are You Incorporating Predictive Analytics Into Your Plan?

Imagine if you could predict today what a client or prospect will do tomorrow and apply that knowledge to your marketing and sales efforts. In this article Chris Bailey discusses the basics of predictive analytics: how it is used, how to create a PA model and how to leverage it. The same data could be used to measure a client’s response to a campaign and the likelihood that a client will leave. These educated predictions could have a big impact on your bottom line.

Spring 2013

New AICPA Chairman’s Vision for the Accounting Profession and What It Means to Marketers

The AICPA’s 100th Chairman, Richard J. Caturano, CPA, CGMA, identifies the changes and opportunities in the CPA profession and how they align with marketing needs.

Demystifying Legal Services Marketing
Tips for successful collaboration with a legal marketer

What is it like to walk in the shoes of a legal marketing manager? What differences and similarities help or hinder joint marketing efforts between CPAs and attorneys? This article shares the insights of experienced marketers who know how to get things done.

Winter 2012-2013

Can Marketing and Sales Play in the Same Business Development Band?
Harmonizing Around These Four Concepts Would Help

Can the cacophony of “disconnectivity” between marketing and sales be smoothed into much-needed harmony? Tune into experienced marketing and sales professionals who discuss the key elements in blending their efforts. Then, remix insights from Suzanne Lowe, author of a seminal book on the topic, on how to achieve effective integration.
 

Fueling the Growth Agenda
Tie Thought Leadership Strategy to Reputation, Relationships and Revenue

How can professional services firms stand out from the crowd? By building a rock band made up of partners and managers with distinct points of view about issues that matter most to clients, and by harmonizing those messages across multiple channels.