Though many accountants hope to retrofit their aging marketing plans in order to remain competitive in the marketplace, few actually know how to formulate a good strategy when it comes to measuring the success of their firm’s marketing plan. Whether you’re trying to collect large sums of digital data or merely are resorting to old-fashioned employee interviews to determine how things are going, measuring your firm’s marketing strategy can occur in many different ways.
Here’s the best strategy you should follow when trying to gauge the success of your marketing plan so far, and the key missteps you should avoid if you really want to find out the truth.
Coming up with a sound plan
Before you even begin, it’s important you establish certain goals for yourself; are you looking for an all-encompassing review, or are you merely trying to analyze whether a new facet of your marketing strategy is working or not? Similarly, it’s worth taking the time to schedule interviews with each of your marketing employees, as their personal feedback is critical towards your success. It’s important to note that transparency is vital here; if your marketing numbers are being artificially inflated or even if they’re just misread, it can have disastrous consequences for your firm’s reputation and the results you gleam from your marketing efforts.
On the digital side of things, you should review your firm’s marketing plan to see if it reaches key clients and potential clients on major social media platforms. It’s already obvious we’ve entered the digital age of advertising, where there’s an ongoing explosion of the amount of ads on our favorite platforms, which means accounting firms should have entire sub-strategies solely focused on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This is where it can be crucial to rope your IT team into your marketing review; how are your metrics looking like on the social media sites that you spend the most on, and are you seeing a healthy rate of growth when it comes to your online following?
This section of your marketing plan review should also take a look at your firm’s email strategy, to see whether you’re taking full advantage on your email list by pushing out seasonal updates. Email-based advertising is absolutely crucial for any firm’s success in the digital age, and is particularly attractive as part of your digital strategy because you can use it to collect data that will teach you more about your existing clientele. Your niche marketing, too, can be expanded upon by building a special email list for clients who may be more open to certain services and upsells than others.
It’s important to remember that no existing part of your marketing plan is too important to scrutinize; every single thing should be closely examined to determine if it’s bringing in good results. Don’t be afraid to axe marketing programs that have failed to deliver, though it’s important to note that there are long-term strategies you can follow that won’t necessarily produce results overnight. It’s worth taking a special look at long-term growth strategies if you find in your review that too many of your existing marketing strategies are short-sighted.
Roping your employees into your review
Of course, no measurement of the success of your firm’s marketing plan would be complete if you only looked to your digital operations. While contemporary tools make it incredibly easy to collect useful tidbits of data from your software and digital operations, you’ll need to examine your human employees and their role in your marketing strategy, too. For instance, sending some of your professional employees to tradeshows or networking events can cost our firm valuable time and money, so it’s worth taking the time to sit down and calculate if certain trips are really worth your efforts and expenditure.
Business meetings that are conducted face-to-face are still an important part of your firm’s strategy, but don’t let yourself fall into the classic trap of continuing to spend exuberant amounts on the same tradeshows or conferences each year with the same rollup banners, only because it’s become a tradition to so do. An annual review of each trip is necessary to avoid wastes of time and money alike.
Next, while data operations and employee reviews are instrumental towards your marketing plan review, you’ll also want to take some time to consider expanding your marketing operations. Too many accounting firms are ignoring small businesses entirely in their marketing strategies, for instance, but marketing your accounting services to small businesses can actually produce tremendously beneficial results if executed properly. You should have a dedicated team member to review your small-business clientele marketing efforts, and should have at least one group discussion to haggle out whether you want to spend more scooping up smaller clients who can nonetheless pack a big financial punch.
Finally, any review of your firm’s marketing plan will be wholly useless unless you schedule additional reviews and constantly maintain your existing marketing regime. After all, your marketing efforts tomorrow will be built off the marketing regime you build today, and you can’t expect to really see tremendous marketing results unless you’re dedicating constant time to see which marketing tactics work and which are worthless. A wise marketing strategy is all about using whatever assets you have wisely, as a failure to regularly check up on where you’re losing money is the primary reason so many strategies fail. Hold your feet to the fire about ironing out a strict marketing regime, and you’ll be scooping in new clients in droves in no time.
Cost accountant with major focus in SAP/General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS). Also, main functional inspector for accounting/finance audits for internal reviews as well as the Statement of Budgetary Resources audit initiative.