AAM Minute - Meet a Member

Name: Crystal Mapp

Title: Marketing Director

Years of Experience: 17 professional; 13 in marketing

College Name & Degree(s): Drury University | B.S. degrees in Public Relations, Advertising, & Communications

Firm Name: KPM CPAs & Advisors

Firm City & State: Springfield, MO

Firm Size: $15.5 million

Email Address: cmapp@kpmcpa.com

Professional Memberships: Association for Accounting Marketing, AAM Minute Committee Chair; The Network, Member; Leadership Springfield, Board Member; Junior League of Springfield, MO, Public Relations & Marketing Committee Chair

Community Involvement: Junior League of Springfield, MO, Volunteer (various causes/events); Cents of Pride, Volunteer; United Way of the Ozarks Day of Caring, Volunteer; Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Annual Walk Participant

Twitter Handle: @Crystal_Mapp

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/crystal-mapp-92928355


What are your thoughts on the proposal and pursuit process?

I believe it is important to define your role in this process. Beyond putting together a proposal, what value can you add? If you are functioning without a sales team or business developer, can you help fill some of those roles? Who is better at marketing the firm than you? I know for our firm, I really like to attend meetings and talk about the value-added benefits (like articles, videos, our upcoming app, etc.) that we provide to clients in addition to what we are doing in the community and any recognition/awards we have recently won. There is more to discuss in a post-proposal meeting than just the technical aspects of the service delivery and fee schedule.


What is the structure of your marketing department?

My marketing department currently includes myself (as the marketing director) and my marketing coordinator. I am, however, in the process of hiring a business development coordinator. When I started with the firm nearly four years ago, my department only consisted of me –marketing had always been a one-person department. I believe the addition of not one but now two additional professionals really shows how much I have grown our marketing efforts.


What is your proudest career accomplishment?

My proudest career accomplishment has been rebranding KPM – everything from the firm name (addition of Advisors), logo, design collateral, positioning/message, new website, branded community program, video strategy, social media launch, etc.


What have you learned the hard way?

I have learned to better delegate and ask for help. I am a perfectionist, and at times, it is hard for me to accept that things will not be as perfect as they might have been. It is important for me to focus on the here and not “what if” scenarios.


What is a “must know” for new accounting marketers?

The professional services industry functions a lot different from other industries – it is important to understand the nuances of partnerships/companies with multiple owners and the kind of environment and expectations this creates. In addition, learning about utilization, the almighty billable hour, and other metrics by which accountants measure themselves is incredibly important to understanding the operations of your firm.


What are your special skills or what is something people may know about you?

I process information in a different way. My signature strengths are Strategic, Analytical, Maximizer, Achiever, and Futuristic. When I approach a situation, I immediately find strategic solutions in terms of how they can be beneficial in the future, how something can be maximized, and what data is needed to support theories or prove success. A fun fact: my Achiever strength causes me to add items to my project list just for the satisfaction of checking them off. It also means I keep lists for everything – I go through a nightly checklist at home to ensure everything is in order before I go to bed.


What is the biggest benefit you receive from your AAM membership or what affect has AAM had on your career?

I know many have likely mentioned connections to other like-minded professionals as one of the biggest benefits and I am going to have to agree. In addition to the AAM Summit and other activities provided by the association, the addition of AAM Connect has been invaluable when I have wanted feedback/advice on a topic.


Share one marketing tip.

Brand everything. Seriously – I only think in terms of how we can market something for KPM. I am willing to put our logo on just about anything. Even children born to employees are not safe - #KPMBaby anyone?


What do you feel is the biggest issue is facing accounting marketers today?

Traditionally, accounting marketing has been late to the party in terms of advanced marketing methods (as have others in the professional services industry). However, it now seems that many partners expect their marketing departments (no matter how small) to immediately be able to duplicate what they are seeing at other much larger companies – though we know it takes time to lay the groundwork to achieve the more sophisticated strategies. As marketing methods also have become increasingly digital, marketers have been expected to just “figure it out,” and in smaller firms, you are often expected to be good at everything – design, content, strategy, etc. Educating your leadership on what is needed – more staff, outsourcing assistance, etc. – will be the key to successfully navigating these evolving needs.


What would you be doing if you had not become a marketer?

Growing up I always wanted to be a teacher or fashion designer. Knowing what I know now, I am incredibly happy to be a marketer!


What is the biggest project that you are working on right now?

I am currently working on launching a KPM app. I am really excited because not only will it be available on the two largest app stores, but the features make it a huge benefit for both clients and employees.


If you had an unlimited budget, what is one thing you would implement immediately?

If I had an unlimited budget, I would automate a lot more processes and outsource more. It is hard to not become involved in the minutia when you do not have the staff to support your marketing efforts. I am working on staffing up my department and working with a few consultants so I can get out of the weeds and continue to remain at the strategy/oversight level on projects.


What books have you read recently that you feel would be beneficial to other AAM members?

I recently delved back into strengths training with ‘Strengths-Based Leadership’ to learn more about being a leader and using my strengths. If you have not had the chance to take the Gallup StrengthsFinder quiz and learn your strengths, I highly encourage you do this and request your team members do the same. In addition to learning more about yourself, you will learn how to work with your team’s strengths, invest in these areas, and better understand how to give feedback/approach situations based on these characteristics.