AAM Minute - Best Practices

My Guerilla Marketing Career

Jennifer Cantero, Sensiba San Filippo LLP

 

Most of us are familiar with the term guerilla marketing — an innovative, unconventional, and low-cost marketing technique with the goal of obtaining maximum exposure for a product. Now, how about a guerilla marketing career? That is how I would describe my career journey. An innovative, unconventional, and low-cost marketing education aimed at obtaining maximum speed and growth in my position. Very few marketers I meet actually went to school for marketing. There are a few, but most of us have had to learn on the fly. Sound familiar?

 

I grew up in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area and went to college during the dot.com boom. I was double-majoring in graphic design and photography. It was long before social media, websites were still being hand-coded, and I was still having my mind blown with layers in a shiny new Photoshop 3. It all seems so ancient now.

 

Fast-forward a couple decades later, and I amm now the head of marketing at the 18th fastest-growing accounting firm in the United States. Crazy, I know. During that time, to say the concepts and strategies of marketing have changed dramatically is an understatement. So, how did I keep up with the changes, stay relevant, and end up where I am today? I sometimes wonder myself.

 

Now, I am still no marketing genius, but here are a few resources and ideas that I leverage to grow and stay in the accounting marketing game.

1.       Join associations…and do not just join, you must participate, too!

a.       Association for Accounting Marketing (okay, duh)

b.      Legal Marketing Association (make a legal marketing friend and have them take you along to their meetings and classes as a guest)

c.       Speaking skills: Toastmasters

2.       Embrace online learning

a.       National Association of Photoshop Professionals (All Adobe products, not just Photoshop)

b.      Lynda.com (design, business basics, leadership, etc.)

c.       Dale Carnegie (leadership, communication, time management, etc.)

3.       Read and listen
Keep this quote by Earl Nightingale in mind as you train yourself to make continuing education a habit: “One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you’ll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.”

a.       Audio books (use your commute time for learning)

b.      Podcasts

                                                               i.      Social Media Marketing Podcast

                                                             ii.      Copyblogger FM (content marketing and writing skills)

                                                            iii.      Marketing Over Coffee (general marketing, more conversational)

                                                           iv.      Branding for Accountants (extra points if you can get your accountants to listen to this; it is new and coming to iTunes soon)

c.       Blogs

                                                               i.      Just about every marketing software company has their own, each one has good content

                                                             ii.      The Moz (search engine optimization)

                                                            iii.      Seth Godin (general marketing)

                                                           iv.      Mari Smith (social)

                                                             v.      Brian Solis (general marketing)

                                                           vi.      Wishpond (digital marketing)

4.       Mentors and coaches

Yes, there is a difference between the two! Mentors in either a formal mentoring program or informal relationship focus on the person, their career, and support for individual growth and maturity, and a coach is job-focused and performance oriented.

a.       Find one or two people to meet with regularly, at least one mentor and one coach

b.      Look for someone that you know and admire or has a skill or trait you would like to have

c.       How do you find one? This great article from Forbes provides insight on that if you need a little direction

5.       Give back

Not only is it rewarding, but volunteering in my community has helped immensely, and the connections you make will be invaluable. Find a cause you are passionate about and volunteer or join the board. A few hours a week makes a huge difference for the charity, your soul, and your career.

 

So, this is my guerilla marketing career and the low-cost, maximum impact techniques I use to stay relevant and current. Make your own list and get your guerilla marketing career going!