Name: Jeanne Hall
Title: Marketing Manager
Years of Experience: 27
College Name & Degree(s): Frederick Community College (A.A., business management)
Firm Name: LSWG CPAs
Firm City & State: Frederick & Rockville, Maryland
Firm Size: 40 employees
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Professional Memberships: AAM, National Federation of State High School Associations (high school volleyball referee)
Community Involvement: Community Foundation of Frederick County marketing committee; active volunteer for Downtown Frederick Partnership and Celebrate Frederick; USAV volleyball coach and former board member of the Frederick Volleyball Club
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeannehall/
What types of strategies is your firm engaging in right now in order to continue growth during the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertain times ahead?
This pandemic has definitely put a damper on things. Community involvement has always been a fundamental element of our marketing plan (we have a large nonprofit base). We have stayed-the-course with our planned sponsorships, but with so many events and fundraisers being canceled or postponed, networking and exposure has been significantly impacted. We use Industry Newsletters for our monthly e-newsletter and have utilized their OnTarget option to keep our clients and friends informed of new, and actionable, developments regarding COVID-19 relief and tax deadlines and updates. Principals and staff have also made a concerted effort to reach out to clients and make certain they are doing okay; helping them navigate all the relief program options and assisting them with their relief applications.
What is the structure of your marketing department?
Just me and I’m part-time (24 hours a week). Ten years into my tenure I established a marketing committee. The committee assists in the review and approval of New Business Compensation (LSWG’s incentive program for new business development), providing suggestions for articles for our electronic and print newsletter, brainstorming sponsorship involvement, and serving as my marketing ambassadors (helping to keep our fellow colleagues updated on the firm’s marketing objectives and tactics). It’s a diverse committee (with representation from each of our service departments). Membership rotates every two years, but always includes a couple of the firm’s principals, department managers, and younger staff members.
What have you learned the hard way?
You can’t please all of the people all the time, so when it comes to making decisions, go with your gut, get buy-in from at least one principal, and then have the courage to stand by your convictions. Marketing is something most CPAs don’t have time for until they see something they don’t like. Then everyone has an opinion. But when you’re developing and coordinating a program on a tight deadline, seeking consensus from everyone is just a pipe dream.
What is a “must know” for new accounting marketers?
Tax deadlines. Develop your marketing plan with tax deadlines in mind. Get programs in place that you can effectively manage on your own during crunch times.
What are your special skills or what is something people may not know about you?
Far from being a creative marketer, I’m more of a logistics person. Spreadsheets and GANTT charts are my comfort area. Got a great idea? Tell me about it, and I’ll get to work making it happen.
What is the biggest benefit you receive from your AAM membership or what affect has AAM had on your career?
I can’t begin to tell you how much I have appreciated AAM’s list serve, both in the early years of my accounting marketing career and still today. It gets pretty lonely being the only marketing person among a bunch of accountants. The list serve reminds me that others are facing the same challenges I face and are coming up with creative ways to meet those challenges.
Share one marketing tip.
Search stock photography databases using conceptual key words (teamwork, successful, family, happy, excited, relieved, spring, fall etc.) to provide visuals for your newsletters. Just because your article is about the Paycheck Protection Program doesn’t mean your visual should be a paycheck. Some of my favorite sites for free stock photography: pexels.com, pixabay.com, unsplash.com, and freeimages.com.
What do you feel is the biggest issue facing accounting marketers today?
Utilizing technology. Programs and software designed to make our life easier, better, and more productive, require a lot of work (set-up, updates, multi-factor authentication and other security measures that both protect your data, but also make more work). I don’t want to see marketers get so caught up in the technology that is great for expanding our reach and measuring results that we miss out on the human element of marketing and business development.
What would you be doing if you had not become a marketer?
If I had a stronger foundation during my developing years, I would have chosen a career in science or medicine.
What is the biggest project you are working on right now?
I’m in the twilight of my career and am planning to retire in two years (if my 401(k) manages to recover…). So my current “big project” is documenting all that I do, reviewing with management their vision of the future of LSWG and what they are looking for in a marketing manager/director, and pulling together the profile of what we would like to see for my replacement.
If you had an unlimited budget, what is one thing you would implement immediately?
I would like to see LSWG be a top-level presenting sponsor/supporter of a specific nonprofit organization. Because we have a large nonprofit base, we try to support most all of them, sponsorship dollars are spread thin, which means that although we are supporting a lot of worthy causes, our marketing exposure is practically invisible. I would like to continue supporting those causes but also identify a cause that best speaks to our firm’s values and our clients and generate a high level of involvement from principals and staff.
What books have you read recently that you feel would be beneficial to other AAM members?
Don’t judge me, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done any professional reading, especially in the past several months when I have been worn out trying to get my head around all of the COVID-19 relief programs. When I get away from the office, I like to read historical fiction and just finished The Lost Girls of Paris.
Jeanne Hall was interviewed by fellow AAM Minute Committee member, Jenna Ward
About Jenna Ward
Working as the Marketing Manager for a regional CPA Firm, I work alongside the Chief Growth Officer, the Firm Partners, and Staff. With three locations throughout Western New York, I lead the firm through our day-to-day internal marketing efforts and managing our public relations relationship. I also oversee the proposal process, community sponsorships, social media, firm volunteer efforts and assist with our wellness program.