Develop A Marketing Plan That Works
Now that you know where you are and where you want to go. Let’s create the map to get you there!
Research, Research, Research
Research is never the most fun, but it’s very important to the success of your marketing plan. Once you have your targets on paper, you can focus your research to find out if another firm is already the market leader in that arena. You may decide that you would rather tackle another area where local competitors don’t already have such a strong foothold.
You also need to understand your target. What do they want? What do they value? A good place to start is American Demographics Magazine. The magazine’s web site offers articles on various consumer and business market segments.
Associations and publications catering to your target market can be useful, too. Web sites for those sources also are readily available.
Profile your target market with the information you gather. Include the percentage of people in your town that would fall into your “target” market. What is your target’s need for the services you offer? Do they appreciate the services you offer? Where do they currently go to buy these services? How easy/difficult will it be to lure them over to your firm? The more specific your profiles, the more they will help you hit your target.
Hitting Your Target
This is the most important part of your marketing plan. For each goal, you will need to create a strategy that incorporates your key messages and what you need to do to accomplish that goal.
There are many tools for you to use to convey your message, including:
Direct Marketing Campaigns
Public Relations – events, speaking engagements, sponsorships
For each goal, you should write your strategy with the key message and the tactics you will take to realize your goal. Here’s a sample:
Strategy: Position #1 Accounting Firm as the market leader for High Wealth Individual tax services.
Key Messages: #1 Accounting Firm is the best accounting firm for High Wealth Individuals because we understand the unique needs of those individuals.
Propose a story to the local business journal aimed at highlighting your firm’s expertise in this area.
Attend philanthropic events where you are more inclined to meet High Wealth Individuals.
Network with bankers, insurance agents who regularly meet with your target.
As you outline each goal, make sure you keep asking yourself, “Why should I do this?” Also, be realistic. If you don’t have a lot of money to pour into a specific goal, it doesn’t make sense to plan a $10,000 event inviting High Wealth Individuals. Make sure your tactics reach your target, too. It doesn’t make sense for you to donate $5,000 if no one ever hears about it.
Once you have all your goals broken down into smaller sub-goals, set a deadline for each sub-goal and a timeline for the larger goal. Again, be realistic. You want your marketing plan to be a win for you – set realistic time deadlines.
Guess what? That’s it! You now have your marketing “map.” It basically is a well-developed “to do” list that has been researched and highly focused to get the results you want. It is based on facts, not hunches, and it will take you from point A to point B and will continue to take you toward your firm’s goals.
Your marketing plan should evolve as your firm does. Refer back to it frequently, update it as you make changes in your “course.”
This is the third part of a three-part article that will help you develop a great marketing plan that really gets results. This article series is meant to be a hands-on tool that allows you to immediately impact your firm.
Voice of the Editor
Which isn’t completely true. I mean, occasionally I drop by when I manage to sneak out of the nonstop frat party over at Going Concern, but I’m mostly a wallflower over there. I’m happy to say that I’ve been given express permission (or explicit orders, if you like) to wander over here to AccountingWEB more often.
Why is that, you might ask? My job is to replace the irreplaceable Gail Perry as Editor-in-Chief. What does that mean? I don’t really know! I think it’ll be fun getting a feel for things, throwing in my own thoughts here and there, and listening to the discussions you’re having about the accounting profession.