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Dilemmas. Decisions. Due Dates and Deliverables. Observations from Austin.

     -     Jun 4th, 2014   -     Accounting Marketing, Creative Design   -     0 Comments

After attending my first AAM Conference in Austin – the 25th annual to boot (no pun intended) – the above words crossed my mind to sum up what I experienced and learned to be some of the challenges that marketers in CPA firms face day-to-day and week-to-week. If you attended the conference, I’m sure you felt as energized as I did. There were so many opportunities for me – both educationally and socially – to soak up the industry and the details of what it takes for CPA firm marketers to do their jobs.

Oh, the dilemmas…

As a creative person, I understand that it’s not easy to be in your position. To name a few, you find yourself encountering some of the following dilemmas:

  • You are constantly dealing with coworkers and partners that think in numbers and data, not alliterations or creativity and how to “sell” the firm’s products and services.
  • Often you are a department of one and you don’t have any support to bounce ideas or brainstorm out thoughts and strategies – in essence, you are an island.
  • Not only do you have to market the firm and it’s various points of consumer value, you also have to do the same for yourself. As a marketer, you not only have to build credibility in your function at the firm, but you also have to internally sell the importance of marketing itself.

Decisions, decisions…

You have ideas… You have LOTS of ideas.

  • Which strategy is the best for you to implement with your firm? How do you sell this idea to your partners?
  • How do get your partners to understand the importance of a social media presence?
  • What about your website? How do you convince the decision-makers that it needs an overhaul?
  • What about that newsletter series you want to implement? How do you get firm-wide participation let alone a set launch date?
  • And the list goes on…

There are so many decisions you are faced with day-to-day. Some major, some minor and some unaccounted for because they just “pop” up. Either way, work needs to get accomplished and choices need to be made however large or small.

What is the recurring theme here? As a marketer, you must be great at time management as well as prioritizing – whether it be day-to-day, quarterly or even annual goals.

As enthusiastic as you are about your ideas and strategies and ways to grow and make your firm better, you have to take a step or two back and select what needs to get done right now, later today, tomorrow, next week and so on. Accept that not every phenomenal idea is going to take shape immediately. It’s not possible to complete everything on your daily tack list and that’s OK. Sometimes you think you have your whole day outlined and expect it to go as you planned it… Expect the unexpected and be agile.

Get to know all the partners and employees that help shape and drive your decisions. Get a firm grip on their personalities and allow them to get to know you. The better you understand them and vice versa, the better agile you can be with your decisions and know when to push and when to scale back. Understanding their needs will better help you create decisions and market solutions. Perhaps the selling of the strategy will even become easier and better accepted.

The inevitable due dates and deliverables…

Staying abreast of all that is going on in your industry is what helps you to create and make the decisions that all inevitably will have a due date and a deliverable. Some of your deliverables may be multi-faceted and complex while others will be simple and uncomplicated. Whether you are developing a new ad campaign, launching a newly branded website or writing bios of your firm partners, they all have one thing in common – planning.

Part of the key to your success as the marketer of your firm is to be highly organized through planning. Great work and great successes are not the products of a poorly planned strategy. Prioritize the time and resources it may take to implement your decided deliverable.

As an example, consider the various levels of details and time it takes to design and rebuild your website in comparison to writing that partner bio. Ask yourself if you will need outside resources and tap into your professional network for help and advice – especially if you’ve never been through the process before. While many of you may be working on that one-person marketing island, take comfort in knowing you are not alone and that resources are at your fingertips whether it be online or on the line via a call.

In closing, I must reiterate what a great experience the AAM Conference was! There was so much more that I learned and feel excited about. The above thoughts were what really stood out the most to me after having attended sessions, listened, met and talked with so many of you.

In response to this post, I’d love to hear thoughts and ideas from accounting marketers, whether you attended the AAM Conference or not. Perhaps you can let us know what your biggest challenge is and how you’ve conquered it. We at FlashPoint Marketing would love to know!

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