Meet A Member

Aaron Welch

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Name: Aaron Welch
Title: Content Marketer
Years of Experience: 4
College Name & Degree(s): B.A., English — University of California, Berkeley
Firm Name: BPM
Firm City & State: San Francisco, CA
Firm Size: 800+ colleagues, $127 million+ revenue
Email Address: awelch@bpmcpa.com
Professional Memberships: AAM
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-welch-writer/

What types of recruiting strategies does your firm employ?
In addition to traditional recruiting activities, we recruit at colleges both in-person and virtually. We also leverage advertising opportunities to promote our firm culture, lifestyle, and diversity. We are currently in the process of launching our talent branding campaign, which itself will be a component of our firm’s overall rebrand. This effort will feed into our cross-functional talent acquisition strategy that has brought together the Recruiting and Marketing teams.

What is the structure of your marketing department?
Our department is divided into two sub-units: Marketing and Business Development. Both are under the supervision of our Chief Marketing Officer. Our Business Development team is led by our Director of Business Development and Partnerships, who manages a team of about 10. The Marketing department is further divided into three teams: a Digital Team, a Communications and Brand Team (where I live), and a Marketing Accounts team consisting of exactly one (for now).

What have you learned the hard way?
Version control is critical. In a collaborative industry like ours, it can be easy to lose track of documents. But trust me, when you’re up against a deadline or working with a firm leader, you don’t want there to be any confusion about which document contains the latest, greatest, and most importantly, approved content. 

What is a “must know” for new accounting marketers?
This is a partner-driven industry. As a marketer, you have to prove yourself not only to your managers and team members, but to each partner and their practice. Take the time to get to know each partner and learn the nature of their practice. This will help you balance their (sometimes conflicting) needs and ensure that no one feels underserved.

What are your special skills or what is something people may not know about you?
I’m a singer who’s been a part of choirs, a cappella groups, musical theater, and other ensembles, although haven’t had the opportunity to use this skill in my professional work — yet.

What is the biggest benefit you receive from your AAM membership or what affect has AAM had on your career?
Besides connecting me with talented and welcoming individuals, AAM has kept me informed on numerous topics ranging from marketing technology to strategy to career advice through the AAM Connect forums.

Share one marketing tip
Thought leadership should never be about your firm or your services. People don’t care about your firm; they just want useful or entertaining content. Always keep content vendor-neutral until the very end — and even there, I’ve found a soft sell approach is far more effective than an aggressive or intrusive message.

What do you feel is the biggest issue is facing accounting marketers today?
It’s hard to speak on behalf of the industry, but one issue I’ve observed facing accounting marketers is demonstrating our value to client services leaders. Many see marketing as an add-on or non-essential function and just want to keep their heads down in the work, which is an understandable impulse. However, it means winning over the skeptics and demonstrating our value is critical. I believe organizations like AAM are doing a great job of elevating the caliber of accounting marketers and cementing our status in the accounting and marketing communities as a respected, knowledgeable group of professionals.

What would you be doing if you had not become a marketer?
I’d probably be in academia studying Victorian literature or 20th century British literature. I still read these texts in my spare time. In fact, I recently finished “Middlemarch,” an 880 page-long novel by George Eliot — and loved it!

What is the biggest project you are working on right now?
We are completely revamping our content strategy from the ground up, questioning everything from the medium of our communications to cadence to production process to topic selection. We know we can’t be great at every single thing, so we are going all-in on content and making it the cornerstone of our lead generation, growth marketing, and PR strategies. Already this is translating into new business opportunities for our various practices.

If you had an unlimited budget, what is one thing you would implement immediately?
I would set up a “research institute” or something along those lines, dedicated to surveying and reporting on accounting and advisory topics relevant to our target industries. We have dipped our toes into original research and have found that it really gets our target audiences interested and engaged, a result which ultimately translates into greater awareness for our brand.

What books have you read recently that you feel would be beneficial to other AAM members?
“Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This” by Luke Sullivan is a classic I always return to when I need creative inspiration. D&AD’s “The Copy Book” is another book that illuminates the often-murky process behind creative advertising.

What blogs/social feeds do you subscribe to that are helpful?
AAM’s! Other than that, I like to read the business press — Bloomberg, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, etc. — to stay on top of the discourse, and my feed reflects that accordingly.


Aaron Welch was interviewed by Rachael McGrew

Tanya_Doescher.jpgAbout Rachael
Rachael McGrew is the Business Development Director for Landmark CPAs, one of Arkansas’ largest accounting firms. In her role, she wears many hats, including overseeing the firm’s marketing and business development strategy, managing internal and external communications, maintaining the firm’s social media and web presence, planning and executing firm events and community outreach programs, coordinating recruiting campaigns, and serving on industry association committees.

Rachael is a graduate of the Leadership Fort Smith program, an Arkansas Business and Northwest Arkansas Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree, a Fort Smith Chamber Ambassador, a member of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Arkansas’ Western Council, Co-chair of Immaculate Conception’s Spring Festival Silent Auction, and a Home Room Mom.