Marketing core services and niche practices after Sarbanes-Oxley

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 turned six years old on July 30. One result of the many far-reaching effects of the legislation has been the growth of specialized practices in small and mid-sized accounting firms that auditors are prohibited from providing by the Securities and Exchange Commission's post-Sarbanes rules. The specialized services, called the niche practices, are designed to meet the needs of clients audited by larger firms, and have become an important focus for marketing in the smaller firms, in addition to their ongoing marketing of core audit and tax services.

Ramp up your brand - sledgehammers and service brand preference

By Mike Schultz and John DoerrSwing the HammerImagine the strongman game at the carnival. You lift the sledgehammer over your head and swing it down onto the platform. When it strikes the target, a metal cylinder rises up and up - 20 feet up the pole until it rings the bell. On its way down the pole the cylinder passes the same words it passed on the way up: strongman, tough guy, athlete, junior, and weakling.In a way, establishing a services brand follows a similar process.

Marketers Unite!

By Rob Nance, AccountingWEB PublisherThe first Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) annual conference I attended was in 2001 in Toronto. Last week's gathering in San Diego was a stark contrast. Oh, sure, some things haven't changed, such as few CPAs in the mix. These conferences are outstanding opportunities for a firm's managing partner to accompany the marketing director they are sending. Hopefully, someday that will be the norm rather than the exception.Just as marketing, business development, and public relations have grown within our industry, AAM has grown too.

Managing the sales negotiation process

By, Michael SchatzkiHow many times have you heard:
Practice Management

Business Development: Resources to Use, Part 4: Hiring a Telemarketing Firm

For most accountants and CPAs, selling is often not a favorite part of the job. In order to develop and maintain a solid book of business, however, selling is a must whether you are a sole practioner, seasoned partner in a large firm, or a new associate.

Use online press releases to get prospects

Online press releases offer the ability to speak directly to a large audience that includes your best prospects and the media. The days of solely reaching the media alone via press release are over - press releases now have an extensive reach worldwide. Our featured guest in this episode of Small Business Trends Radio is Joe Beaulaurier, Interactive Marketing Manager, PRWeb. Joe discusses the benefits of using press releases to reach your best prospects. For instance, did you know that:Bloggers are - the new media.
Practice Management

Useful Resources for Business Development: Part 2: Public Relations Counsel

Public Relations' role in a CPA firm is larger than dealing with a crisis and media relations. For a CPA firm, effective Public Relations counsel provides proactive and measurable communication objectives to propel the firm forward and assist in business development.

Marketing to women takes center stage

Marti Barletta has been studying women as consumers since 1999, when she started the Trendsight Group, a consulting firm specializing in gender and marketing. She's a leader in articulating the importance of women as customers. In her book, "PrimeTime Women: How to Win the Hearts, Minds and Business of Boomer Big Spenders," Marti takes it a step farther.

It all boils down to marketing

By Allan S. Boress, CPA, CFEWhat are the biggest problems or concerns you have with your accounting practice?

The Friendship Strategy, by David Maister

Many firms claim that what distinguishes their organization is that their people are client centric and act like trusted advisors. However, few of these organizations, when they hire, have programs to select for these attitudes and skills and few have systematic programs to help their people develop them. An organization where everybody did have a consistently high level of friendship skills would truly achieve a differentiated strategy! David Maister uses the lessons of our personal lives to explore how the habits and skills of friendliness can be applied in a business setting.

Stand and deliver: Tips for exhibiting

Exhibitions are a great way for businesses to showcase their products and get up close and personal with potential clients. But in order to make the experience successful, and ultimately profitable, firms need to think about the message they are trying to convey. The cost of exhibiting can be a considerable sum for small businesses, so you want to make the most out of your investment.

AICPA Study: Online marketers miss more than half of e-ad responses

U.S. spending on online advertising is growing at more than 20 percent per year and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 15 percent through 2010. However, marketers are missing more than half of all responses.

Marketing yourself…Developing a personal brand

It is not only accounting firms that need to build a brand in order to be successful, but the individuals within the firm also need to commit to personal marketing. That means that you must market yourself - and you should realize how significant this is for you and your firm. Your brand is your promise, your image, your good name, and a way to distinguish yourself from others in your market. It is useful for you to have a personal brand that can work on your behalf, building your own career and reputation as a leader - at the same time as you are building loyalty for your firm.

Sales secrets: How to cherry pick your prospects

Many of us spend our time painstakingly researching who to ring in the cold calling process, only to 'filter' through them just as we're about to make the crucial call. Sales performance expert Andy Preston explains the underlying causes of this 'cherry picking' behavior, suggesting that sometimes the most unlikely call could be the one which results in big business.It is not unusual to find people beginning the cold calling process by trawling through their list of prospects, evaluating who to call and who to avoid.

Tips for that first call to a prospective client

Making that good first impression on a prospective client usually begins with a phone call, when in a few minutes you must identify yourself, show interest in the prospect's business and make an effort to establish rapport. Thank the potential client for taking the call and identify yourself, briefly, telling him or her whether you are making a call through a referral or as a follow up to an introduction at a business or social event.
Practice Management

The best kept secret: How to market your firm in one easy step

What they teach you in marketing school is that marketing is a sum of the coordinated efforts of many tools. And essentially, that's true. Rarely, in marketing a practice, does only one thing work to carry the full weight of marketing. But what if you've got a small practice, and time or money to do only one thing?What if you could use only one of the many marketing tools. Which tool would be your best choice? Easy. Writing articles. And it doesn't matter whether you're a one-person office, or a partner in a major international firm. No one tool can do more for you on its own.

A conversation with David Maister: Integrity impugned

Because of prior poor experiences – or the generally bad caricatures that exist about many professions – clients are often suspicious (at least initially) of the motives of their service providers.Just think of the many jokes about consultants who act as if they are more concerned about looking for the next follow-on assignment to cross-sell than doing the current one well; lawyers who are suspected of running up the billable hours because they are paid by the hour; and advertising agency people who are more concerned with winning prizes than selling the client’s product or service.
Community News

J.H. Cohn honored by PR Society of America

J.H. Cohn LLP was honored for its accomplishments at the New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s Big Apple Awards. Entered in conjunction with Peppercom Strategic Communications, J.H. Cohn was awarded honorable mention in the "marketing communications: professional and/or financial services" category by the Public Relations Society of America. The award reflects J.H.
Practice Management

Power of Publicity: Finding Your Business’ Media Niche

Whether you are the owner, manager, or public relations director of a company, chances are, you’re always looking for ways to get your name in the public eye. While advertising is a great start, enhancing your advertising with publicity creates a perfect marriage of exposure for your company, says Marsha Friedman, President, Event Management Services, Inc. What is publicity? It’s non-paid communication to promote your company in a positive light using media vehicles like television, radio, magazines, and newspapers.
Practice Management

Allen Boress: How to Measure Your Firm's Marketing Performance

Recently we received the following email:Dear Allan:How can we know if people are doing personal marketing? We know that the economy is booming, our firm revenues are up over last year, but that has to be temporary -- it just can't go on forever! So how can we ensure that everyone is doing their job in keeping the momentum going? It's so hard to stay focused on marketing individually when there is more work to do. Why is it that some people and some firms are so much better at this than we are?