Seven Steps to Perfect Firm Marketing

By Alexandra DeFelice

Marketing is challenging, whether you're a seasoned professional or the designated marketing person in your firm because there's no one else to do the job. John Jantsch, president of Duct Tape Marketing, shares his strategies.
 
Generally speaking, people who fall into one of those two categories don't often think the same or benefit from the same conference sessions. However, I attended a presentation by John Jantsch, president of Duct Tape Marketing, at the Boomer Technology Circles Summit earlier this month that addressed issues pertinent to both groups. One interesting part of the session outlined how to incorporate some key external marketing strategies to get buy-in for internal projects.
 
Internal use will be explained later in this article, but in order to understand the execution, Jantsch's "seven steps" - know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer - and his overall marketing tips must be explained first. 
 
What is marketing? Getting someone who has a need to know, like, and trust you. Then turn know, like, and trust into try, buy, repeat, and refer in order to build the marketing momentum, Jantsch said.
 
So how can one accomplish that? Provide insight over information, condense information in a digestible fashion, and provide proof over promise.
 
External Marketing
Everyone should have a results review, according to Jantsch. Go out thirty to ninety days after you delivered a service to see whether the clients received the result they were promised. Have a process in place to attempt to measure and quantify the results your clients are getting. This process helps you truly understand the value your clients are receiving and understand what's of concern, which often they won't tell you until you ask. 
 
Sometimes those unsatisfied clients will become your greatest ambassadors, Jantsch said. Develop your referral champions. Have events including strategic partners. Look at your entire business and ask where the gaps are and what's being done to move people to various levels. But start with tiny commitments so they don't feel pressured.
 
Create campaigns in reverse. Determine what you want prospects or existing clients to do forty-five to ninety days after an event. When they RSVP, what do we want them to do? These things are often afterthoughts, but should come first, according to Jantsch. Give clients a good experience so they want to go to another event, bring a friend, etc. 
 
Survey clients when they buy a new service asking how satisfied they are with that service on a scale of one to ten. If they answer eight to ten, ask what went right and for a referral. For four through seven answers, ask what went wrong; many things are easily fixed. For numbers below four, figure out how to get it right.
 
Internal Marketing
Marketing shouldn't be an island, yet too often, other professionals within a firm think of it as a department. As a result, the marketing staff may lack regular interaction with their colleagues who often have more direct interaction with customers.
 
"Marketing, sales, service, education, delivery, follow-up, and finance are all marketing experiences," Jantsch said. "You can bring people in every department in your organization together."
 
Jantsch recounted a story of a professor who asked his students to take a personality test. No matter which answers they selected, all of them received the exact same results; 88 percent said the results were spot on. The point? Most of us buy into something we participated in.
 
Step 1 - Know: Participation also can be the driving force to achieving internal buy-in. "If there are challenges internally, it's usually an alignment problem," Jantsch said. "Marketing creates alignment if done right."
 
For example, say your firm wants to install a new customer relationship management (CRM) system. It's one of the most challenging things to get people to change their behavior. But what if you thought of this challenge as a campaign? Interview users externally and internally about pitfalls and benefits they've experienced in the past. Interview folks internally to find out what they want and what doesn't work for them. 
 
It's not necessarily the features, but you get buy-in when you ask people for their opinion, Jantsch said. 
 
Step 2 - Like: Assemble a peer-to-peer panel so they can talk about the challenges of a CRM. Maybe even bring in competitors.
 
Step 3 - Trust: Educate your "champions" and start talking about the path. Misalignment often happens when IT dictates how things will work based on their time lines. What if IT lays out all the steps you go through? 
 
Step 4 - Try: Create beta user groups.
 
Step 5 - Buy: Champion groups become the teachers. Help create training materials. Create best practices lists.
 
Step 6 - Repeat: Measure results, introduce more features. Give them more "toys." 
 
Step 7 - Refer: Reward people for bringing in more people and best practices. Have events, just like you would with external campaigns.
 
More details about how to develop the seven steps are available in a free, twenty-two-page eBook.  
 
Related articles:
 
About the author:
Alexandra DeFelice is senior manager of communication and program development for Moore Stephens North America, and a regional member of Moore Stephens International Limited, a network of more than 360 accounting and consulting firms with nearly 650 offices in almost 100 countries. Alexandra can be reached at adefelice@msnainc.org.

You may like these other stories...

Many firms these days claim the bulk of their new business comes from referrals, essentially saying their existing clients do all the business development for them. But this won't work unless you can build true client...
No field likes its buzzwords more than technology, and one of today's leading terms is "the cloud." But it's not just a matter of knowing what's fashionable. Accounting professionals who know how to use...
With tomorrow being Tax Day, you might see some procrastinators at your office filling out forms, printing out paperwork, or getting last-minute tax advice from their accountant so they can meet the IRS’s filing...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 17
In this exciting presentation Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA shares tricks that you can use with pivot tables every day. Remember, either you work Excel, or it works you!
Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.