The Seasoned Marketer

Engage Summit Recap

Katie Tolin,
Chief Growth Guides
CPA Growth Guides, LLC  

Michelle Golden River’s “Communication Value and Pricing to Clients” session was hands down my favorite. Some of my favorite takeaways where:

  • Advantage pricing is not value pricing – it’s a fixed price with options.
  • The word “value” has received some baggage over the years as people think value equals cheap. What it’s really about is the worth in the eyes of the buyer.
  • When you have the ability to fall back and charge for overages (change orders), you are not using a true fixed price.
  • When you include three pricing options, you are actually setting the scope of what is, but also what is not, included.
  • You get your foot in the door at the entry level price (your desired profit margin) and let the prospect move themselves up your offerings.  
  • You can include add-ons at the bottom of pricing table (e.g., additional rounds of trial balances).
  • You don’t need to honor an agreed upon price IF the client upgrades after the start. The information, the situation and staffing has changed so the price may be different.
  • Always price the customer and not the service. And never price alone; include others in that discussion especially the prospect.
  • Proposals are typically filled with your task list and that’s not compelling to the buyer. Unless it’s a need-to-know detail, don’t put it in a proposal.

Phyllis Sossi
, Marketing Director
HW & Co

My biggest takeaway is that I have to stop expecting the CPAs to provide any written content...they simply won't do it.  If I want/need articles I have to play reporter...interview them and then write the articles myself.  Abbey Kanellakis' session was a game-changer for me, and an answer for something I was struggling with.

Jaimi Koechel, Director of Marketing

I am currently building a business development culture at my firm, so I gained the most knowledge from the various sessions on growth. I was reminded that I am trying to change behaviors, and this doesn’t happen overnight. One part of changing behaviors is teaching the professionals the art of delegating. Things that can be delegated to somebody else will free up more time for the delegator to spend on business development. Besides coaching professionals on delegation, it’s important to figure out their “why”. Ask the professionals to list their top 10 reasons as to why they want to grow the firm. Use their “why” to remind them of why they are doing what they are doing when it gets tough. 

There is one thing that I don’t think I will ever forget from the conference and that is Carl George’s explanation of the Starbucks burnt cheese story. This made me think about the breakfast sandwich that we need to change at Henry+Horne to be a better firm. This is important for growth because without adaptation and transformation you will not be able to enhance the value of your firm. 

Why do I keep coming back? I have been attending the AAM conference for 14 years to stay on top of industry trends and bring new ideas to the table. Besides education, I have built many professional relationships over the years and I not only have colleagues that I can reach out to, but I have made some good friends over the years. It’s great to go to the conference every year and reconnect with my AAM friends.

Julie Manteria, Director of Marketing

  • Content for Conversion (AAM1905):I hadn't previously put a lot of thought into the concept of sending a "break up" email for people who typically do not respond to our emails; and if no engagement, remove them. I had the old school notion that "bigger is better" when it comes to your list – have the MOST people on your list. But that really doesn't fly anymore. You want the most targeted list that focuses on your most valuable leads. I think it takes a bit of bravery to cut your list, but I'm ready to take next steps on this.
  • 8 Simple Techniques to Grow Your Business with Video Marketing (AAM1915): This was by far, my favorite session and I find myself continually sharing the introduction of Antoine's presentation with colleagues and friends. He started with a screenshot of changing the clock in his car - and spoke to how he made a YouTube video (for himself) to remember how to change the clock in his car. When he went back a year later upon the next Daylight Savings, he found more than 30,000 views of his video. The key was that his video answered a question, a specific question. His presentation gave us some great tools to find out what questions our prospective clients may be asking and how to answer them with a video. This concept resonates with all of us, since this is how we search for information. Videos answer our questions. This is something I am looking to implement with my firm soon.
  • Coaching Teams & Individuals to Maximize Performance (AAM1920): I went into this presentation thinking I would be learning about how to coach the team of marketers that report to me, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a more holistic presentation. Adelaide focused on ways to change behavior for your team, the service professionals you work for and for yourself. One of the key takeaways was about dividing your time into 3 buckets: Delegate when it is something anyone can do, Teach/Transition when it is something someone else can do, and Protect it if it is something only you can do. This is a mindset shift that I need to start working on immediately.

Rachael McGrew
, Business Development Director

  • Simon Sinek: Why would we ever expect an accountant to lead without teaching them to lead? I could never be expected to be an accountant without any training. Double down on leadership skills because we overvalue skill and undervalue humanity.
  • Party of One: Using the top firm issues from AICPA’s PCPS MAP survey, determine how you can help the firm. What can you do in each of those areas to make an impact? But remember, you can’t do it all. Understand where you are most likely to succeed and where you can offer the most support to the firm. Work with those willing to work with you.
  • Inside the Mind of the Managing Partner: As a Chief Growth Officer, you goal is to enhance the enterprise value of the firm. Do this by:
    1. Truly understanding the business of public accounting by reading, listening, asking and knowing key metrics, trends and clients.
    2. Be a “treasured partner” and valuable resource for those who are leading the practice.
    3. Showing firm leaders the ROI of marketing, sales and community development.
    4. Being a steward of the brand.
    5. Having a seat at the table. And earn it by being a leader, focusing on results and protecting senior leadership.
Why do I keep coming back? THE PEOPLE. It’s so great to get to know other like-minded people you can lean on for support and ideas. Without them, I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I have so quickly at my firm.

Jean Marie Caragher
Capstone Marketing

Why do I keep coming back? Attending the AAM Summit has been a highlight for me for the past three decades. During this time, I’ve met many smart, fabulous and fun people and created lifetime friendships. AAM has taken me from print brochures to the advent of personal computers; fax machines; email; websites; digital marketing; and, social media. Literally, from the dark ages to artificial intelligence! I keep coming back to Summit because AAM members don’t hesitate to share their ideas and intellectual capital and I always learn something new.

Thank you to everyone who submitted their Summit revelations. We hope to see you all again next year, May 5-8, 2020 in Philadelphia! Until then, go put on Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now,” crank it up and channel your inner champion.