AAM Minute - Meet a Member

Meet a Member

Name: Ian McManis

Title: Marketing Specialist

Years of Experience: 4

College Name & Degree: University of Cincinnati, B.B.A. degree in Marketing & International Business

Firm Name: Barnes, Dennig & Co., Ltd.

Firm City & State: Cincinnati, OH

Firm Size: 150

Email Address: imcmanis@barnesdennig.com

Professional Memberships: Association for Accounting Marketing

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/imcmanis


What were your thoughts on this year’s AAM Summit?

I felt this year’s topic was especially interesting because ‘Innovation’ is historically not a commonly used phrase in conjunction with accounting. Accounting is, by default, an industry based in last year’s numbers and trends. Yet, we are seeing the concept of innovation come up in accounting and accounting marketing more than ever. Whether this is due to the enormous percentage of millennials entering the workplace or an overall fatigue towards the way things have been done, I believe that innovation is, and will continue to be, a very interesting subject.


What is the structure of your marketing department?

Our marketing department consists of a principal of business development, a director of marketing, a marketing specialist, and a brand-new marketing coordinator. The marketing coordinator and specialist support both the business development and marketing initiatives of the firm. With four full-time employees dedicated to marketing and business development, we can work with the fluidity of a small team yet possess the experience and ability to take on larger initiatives.


What is your proudest career accomplishment?

Winning the AAM ‘Rookie of the Year’ may be a cliché, but to date, it is the coolest accomplishment that I have! I am humbled and honored to be a part of this industry, and I can’t wait to see what the future of accounting marketing has in store for me.


What have you learned the hard way?

You can’t just expect your marketing strategies to work and the effects may not be felt for some time. You can spend days or weeks on a marketing campaign without seeing any results, but without a method to measure your progress, it can be difficult to pinpoint the results of your efforts.


What is a must know for new accounting marketers?

Since accounting marketing is such a young profession, a lot of the tried-and-true marketing tactics of more established industries are novel here! You can be an innovator and an industry leader without reinventing the wheel.


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

I think my biggest skill is my resourcefulness. Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been told that I can find a novel solution to a problem by repurposing another item or thinking of a way to solve it that hasn’t been tried before.


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

Having a network to bounce ideas off of, or in some cases, a group to share difficulties with, has been a huge benefit! It’s often easy to overlook some of the issues that we all face, and sometimes the simplest solution is a quick phone call or email away.


Share one marketing tip.

Learn how to track everything that you do. Showing marketing return on investment is one of the most challenging aspects of our profession and that stands true in any industry. If you can show how marketing is benefiting your firm, you’ll be able to achieve additional investment and the trust of your management group quickly.


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

Achieving investment in marketing is the hardest part of being an accounting marketer. Since the tactics we employ are unproven, and much of marketing is subjective, it can be difficult to quantify our work and convince accountants to spend more money on us.


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

I would likely have gone into industrial design. I was accepted into an excellent design school in Cincinnati but chose business because of scholarship availability and wider career options.


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

Our firm recently merged in a firm in Indianapolis, which is roughly two hours away from our other two offices. I am working to try and bring them into the fold and establish our brand and presence in the Indianapolis market!


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

I would give our entire firm access to our customer relationship management (CRM) software and empower them to use it to track prospects and opportunities. I think that our CRM is such a powerful tool and believe our accountants who are setting meetings and following up with prospects would benefit from using it. The cost of additional licenses, and the cost of educating our staff is currently holding us back, but I believe that we will get there eventually.


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

I recommend Start with Why by Simon Sinek. It has a great mentality about how we approach initiatives in our lives. Too often, we rely on how we are going to accomplish our task, or what we are going to do next; understanding why we do the things we do can start some great conversations!