Who’s Your Oprah???

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By Allan Boress, CPA - I am no fan of Oprah Winfrey or Senator Obama. But you gotta admire their marketing savvy this election season.

Most people don’t reason that politics is simply marketing. Instead of getting you to hire them to represent you in a personal injury suit, or to buy their insurance, these folks are selling you to get their votes.

Election season allows every CPA and marketing professional an opportunity to see what these pros are doing right and not, and how to apply the lessons to their firm. Check out my election 2004 marketing analysis at www.ihateselling.com

Situation dangerous: here we have a very inexperienced but charismatic junior senator from Illinois. He’s trailing the Hillary machine in the polls and he needs a boost. Voila! Let’s get one of America’s most influential people to endorse him!

Net result? Obama now leads Mrs. Clinton in the polls in Iowa. No small feat since the Hillary has been running for president since 2000.

How does this apply to you and your firm?

A couple of years ago I stopped traveling full-time as a marketing and sales consultant to our profession and went back to being a practicing CPA. Although I still do speaking gigs and training, 95% of my time is spent building and working our suburban Orlando practice.

Strategy #1 was to get known in my target marketplace locally. We might discuss that in a future blog, but Strategy #2 was to find my own Oprahs.

In our first year we obtained the president of the Chamber of Commerce and the executive director as our clients. Add additional board members and we have all sorts of Oprahs in the community spreading the word of how fantastic we are. Here’s what the chamber prez said when he introduced me to 130 local businesspeople at an event I keynoted: “Allan is the best CPA in Lake County, and he is my CPA. Saved me more taxes than my previous one did in 17 years combined.”

Needless to say, our practice has exploded with quality work. People and businesses come to us proactively, where we get to pick and choose.

That’s why every firm needs an Oprah. She gives your firm:

• Instant credibility
• Association value: people buy things and do business with people because they want to be associated with them. This is the purpose of all celebrity advertising. Snoop Dogg drives a Chrysler, so should you.
• Higher fees: Oprahs lead to more opportunities. More opportunities lead to being able to pick and choose. This leads to higher fees if you are smart about it (our fees have skyrocketed these last two years)

Will Ms Winfrey lead to an Obama surprise? I personally hope so. The Clinton machine has their own Oprah, Mr. Big himself. Only problem is that Oprah has more pizzazz and more power within the Obama target market. And the more Bill is around, the more tired people get of his shenanigans.

Find your own Oprahs. Makes marketing mucho bueno.

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