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Communication: A How To Pitch It! How Marketers Can (And Should

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Vol. 18 • No. 6 • November/December 2006
Pitch It! How Marketers Can (And
Should) Take Their Own Advice
Hello Y’all!
By Julie Barnes, Smith & Howard
A
s marketers, most of us
are adept at teaching
our staff how to make a
pitch to prospects. We
spend hours, days and even years providing training, instruction and advice
on how to present ideas, how to listen
for needs and how to be successful in
selling the product or service.
Why, then, is it so difficult for many
of us to successfully pitch our own
ideas? After years of hard work and
scrupulous commitment to communication, marketers have proven the
value of marketing. But like any other
profession, but there’s always a new
frontier with new challenges. Now, we
have more strategic projects and goals
on our plates, and with that advanced
strategic responsibility comes the need
for advanced pitching skills.
After conversations with several
marketing professionals, one piece of
advice stands out: We must frame our
pitches in terms of results — what it
will get us if we do it, or what it will
cost us if we don’t.
Before presenting an idea to decision
makers, do your homework. Jennifer
Wilson of Convergence Coaching
reminds us that we want to tell, and
Letter from the
President
frequently don’t do enough asking. Ideas
should be researched, qualified and carefully examined prior to presentation.
And the buy-in from those who stand
to benefit from marketing projects is
crucial. Marketing can’t operate in a
vacuum; we must work in tandem with
the rest of our staff to make sure our
ideas solve problems, prevent losses or
create viable and desired opportunities.
Ask First.
To be successful, you must know
what your audience wants. Wilson
recommends that prior to presenting
an idea you ask questions that help
you determine:
• If there is a problem the idea
will solve;
• If the people who will need to
execute the project believe in it;
• What time and financial resources
will be needed;
• The steps involved from conception
to execution.
Carol Schrager, Director of Marketing
with Friedman, LLP notes that she generally pitches to a practice group, but
only after they have had lengthy discussions on strategy and goals. This way,
Page 2
I just returned from
the AAM Board
planning meeting
in Savannah where
we stayed in the
hotel where our
conference will be
Jayne Bates
held next June.
We are so excited that we will have the
entire Hyatt Regency Savannah. As an
added benefit, the hotel is located in the
heart of the Historic Downtown District
within walking distance of many shops
and restaurants. I hope you have made
plans to attend the Summit.
During our planning meeting we reevaluated our strategic long-range plan
which was formalized in December
2003 and then reviewed in October
2005. The plan was updated based on
our experiences and/or new circumstances. In 2008, AAM will author a
new strategic long-range plan based
upon the new environment. Two new
initiatives that are being evaluated for
the coming year are re-branding and
an AAM Senior Summit.
Re-branding. As a result of last year’s
planning meeting a task force was established to recommend whether AAM
should consider a re-branding of the
Page 3
Communication: A How To
4
AAM Summit 2007
7
Marketer Toolbox
4
AAM Mentoring Program
8
AAM Chapters
5
Just Say “No” to Poorly Written
Documents: Tips for Good Writing
9
The Partner’s Perspective…
6
Using Your Firm’s Intranet
to Drive Marketing ROI
11 AAM-MAA Winner Profile
10 Member Voices
12 AAM New Members
Marsha Leest and Julie Barnes — Issue Editors
MarkeTrends is designed by PDI Global, Inc. (www.pdiglobal.com)
www.accountingmarketing.org
Pitch It!
continued from page 1
MarkeTrends is published six times a year by
the Association for Accounting Marketing, Inc.
(AAM). It is a benefit of membership in AAM.
Association office:
14 West Third Street, Suite 200
Kansas City, MO 64105
Phone 816.221.1296/Fax 816.472.7765
E-mail: info@accountingmarketing.org
Web site: www.accountingmarketing.org
Association membership for executive,
associate and affiliate members is $250
annually with a one-time $50 initiation fee.
Association membership for student
members is $150 annually with a one-time
$50 initiation fee.
Copyright В©2006 by Association for
Accounting Marketing, Inc. All rights
reserved. Please request permission to
reprint or copy any part of MarkeTrends.
AAM MarkeTrends Committee
Anne Angera, Co-Chair
Dunlap & Associates, P.C.
Phone 215.997.7219/Fax 215.997.7218
E-mail: aangera@dunlap-associates.com
Sally Glick, Co-Chair
Sobel & Co., LLC
Phone 973.994.9494 x159/
Fax 973.994.1571
E-mail: sallyg@sobel-cpa.com
Granville Loar, Executive Director
AAM Headquarters
Julie Barnes
Smith & Howard, PC
James Barry
Rothstein Kass
Michelle Class
Barnes Dennig & Co.
Kim Cooley
Henderson, Hutcherson and McCullough, PLLC
Angela Duffy
Amper, Politziner & Mattia
Paul Gladen
Muzeview LLC
Angie Grissom
The Rainmaker Academy
Amanda Hopson-Walker
PDI Global, Inc.
Janine Ingala
Rothstein Kass
Susan Lanfray
ERE LLP
Marsha Leest
Practice Management Associates
Maria Litrenta
Carbis Walker LLP
Mazie McMahon
The DR Group
Wendy Nemitz
Ingenuity Marketing Group
the group has a sense that the idea is
more their own and Schrager is better
able to steer the project forward. Much
along the lines of Wilson’s recommendations, Schrager offers these four “musts”:
• Present a logical argument.
• Present figures showing the
approximate investment.
• Present a specific target or
goal to reach.
• Present a method for evaluation
within a finite period of time.
Prepare for the Pitch.
• Give your audience the respect
they deserve. Have your materials
and any handouts professionally
prepared and in order.
• Thoroughly prepare for your pitch
and iron out any wrinkles ahead of
time. Rehearse in front of someone
and use your rehearsal time to
uncover unanticipated objections or
questions so that you can be prepared
with well thought-out answers. You
wouldn’t want your team to pitch to a
prospect without rehearsal, and your
own pitch should be no different.
• Dress and act accordingly. Wilson
stresses the importance of mirroring
the behavior and tone of your
audience. Make sure that your
appearance reflects the expertise
and professionalism of your pitch.
Present the Pitch.
One of the challenges that marketers
must bear in mind is that, with a
few exceptions, we lean toward more
creative and emotive language in
presentations. In fact, according to
Wilson, one of the top “musts” in
pitching ideas is to ditch the marketing
jargon and use the language of your
audience. Wilson advises appealing to
the benefit of your idea and offers some
helpful starter lines, such as “I have a
great idea that will generate…” or “I
have a great idea that will help us…”
Wilson also stresses that while it is
important to be prepared to present
detail, we must know that our audience
is typically more bottom-line driven.
One marketer related a lesson she’s
learned over the years: She loves to talk
about her ideas — how she came up
with them, why they’re a good idea, all
the steps involved, and what the firm
stands to gain. But she has realized that
the more she says, the greater her
chance of losing her audience. Marketers
love to talk, but accountants like pitches
short and sweet. Know when to stop
talking. Think sounds bites, bullet points
and key concepts; and never forget that
your presentation should be a two-way
street. Communication is key to winning pitches, and ample time for Q&A
and discussion is vital.
Prove the Value.
Once you’ve won the team over, you
must manage the project meticulously,
execute on time and within budget and
communicate throughout the process.
If there are roadblocks along the way,
keep the team apprised of the situation,
along with the solution and any revisions to timeframe or budget. Everyone
understands the imperfections of deadlines and budgets. They’ll be much
more amenable to delays or overruns if
they know about them in advance.
And finally, when the project is done,
and you’ve accomplished your goals,
give kudos to the team for their work,
and thanks to the decision-makers for
their faith in your idea. This clears the
way for the next pitch — and the
process starts all over.
Daina Richard
Padgett, Stratemann & Co., LLP
About the Author:
Lisa Rozycki
LR Marketing Group
Julie Barnes is an AAM member and the Marketing Coordinator
for Smith & Howard, PC, an accounting and advisory firm,
and Smith & Howard Financial Group, LLC, an investment
advisory firm in Atlanta, Georgia. She can be reached at
404.874.6244, or via e-mail at jbarnes@smith-howard.com.
Kayte Steinert-Threlkeld
Anchin, Block and Anchin LLP
RenГ© Stranghoner
Weaver & Tidwell LLP
Rose Marie Tronge
Witt Mares, PLC
2
Letter from the President
continued from page 1
organization and, if so, what processes
and commitment in time, talent and
resources would be required. The board
determined in our recent planning meeting that it would accept the recommendations of the task force to: proceed with
the renewal of the charter of the existing
task force, assess the current standing
and equities of the AAM brand, and
plan and implement an organizational
re-branding or brand revitalization initiative should the assessment warrant
such an undertaking.
AAM Senior Summit. The Board recognizes the importance of meeting the
needs of advanced members to keep
them active and engaged in AAM,
adding value to all our members. In
order to provide continual learning and
innovation to our advanced members,
the Board requested the formation of a
task force to plan and implement an
AAM Senior Summit to be held in the
fall of 2007.
application will be due to AAM headquarters by March 1, 2007.
During the early part of 2007, AAM will
again issue an open call to all members
for board members. I would like to
encourage you to review the criteria
listed below and consider entering your
name as a nominee.
If you haven’t been involved in any
committees and are interested in joining,
either call AAM headquarters or use the
sign-up form posted on the AAM Web
site in the About AAM section. AAM
is an organization that is dependent
upon committees and volunteers to meet
our goals. Your help is always welcomed
and appreciated.
In order to be considered and elected to
the member-at-large position, you must:
• Be a member in good standing of
AAM for a minimum of three years.
• Have served on an AAM committee
for a minimum of one year.
• Be in the professional services marketing profession for a minimum of
three years.
• Be available to participate in onehour monthly board meeting calls.
Members will receive an e-mail
in January with a link to details
and a nomination application. The
Issue Sponsor
3
Don’t forget that your AAM Board
works on your behalf, and is always
open to your opinions and ideas.
Please give any of us a call. If you
would like to contact me directly,
I can be reached at 863.603.4836
or jayne.bates@cbanet.com.
Sincerely,
Jayne Bates
AAM 2006-2007 President
Calling All Exhibitors!
Chart Your Course at AAM Summit 2007: Uncharted Waters
T
ake a journey into new
territories outside the
constraints of traditional marketing! AAM
Summit 2007: Uncharted Waters is
the premier accounting marketing and
practice development event. Each
year, hundreds of professional service
marketers who are instrumental in the
business development and marketing of
CPA firms come to together to learn
about the latest industry trends and
tools to help grow their firms. Your
company will have the opportunity to
plot new leads, discover new customers
and explore new realms with this
dynamic group by exhibiting and showcasing your products and/or services.
AAM Mentoring Program provides an
“Opportunity for Growth”
Do you wonder if your experiences would be helpful to others? Have you ever
wished you had a reliable resource to bounce ideas off? Do you want to expand
your knowledge in a certain area or wonder if accounting marketing is the right
place for you? Like most accounting marketers, the answer to these questions at
one point or another has been a resounding YES! Perhaps the AAM Mentoring
Program is the right place for you.
Our profession is continually challenged with obtaining, training and retaining
quality accounting marketers. The AAM Mentoring Program was designed to
allow experienced marketers, who have seen and driven many significant transitions within this profession, the avenue to encourage, guide and promote
“accounting marketing” within the industry.
The mentor/mentee relationship will strengthen the AAM connection, expand
CPA/Firm awareness of overall association/profession strength, and provide critical resources to those beginning their career. Whether it’s a special project, a
new position or a long-term relationship, AAM Mentoring Program is designed
to bridge yesterday’s experience with tomorrow’s success.
If you would like to be involved in this new program, we encourage you to contact
headquarters or register on-line. If you’re still contemplating if the AAM
Mentoring Program is right for you, consider the following potential characteristics:
Potential “Mentor” Characteristics:
• Willing to give of their time, knowledge, experience.
• Wants and understands the purpose of a mentoring relationship.
• Strong communication skills, able to teach and direct others.
• Willing to utilize their resources, network, and expertise unconditionally.
Potential “Mentee” Characteristics:
• Actively seeking personal and professional development.
• Wants and understands the purpose of a mentoring relationship.
• Is a self-starter, teachable, and willing to listen.
• Is committed to action and actively applies what is learned.
• Seeking guidance on a specific project or professional challenge.
• Seeking guidance in general areas of responsibility.
• Desires a relationship with a “senior” marketing professional.
4
AAM is the only professional association whose sole purpose is to act as a
catalyst for furthering the marketing
and sales efforts of CPA firm marketers.
Today, AAM has more than 700 members from the United States, Canada,
England, France and Japan, representing more than 275 firms and businesses.
Its diverse membership includes marketing and sales professionals, managing
partners, partners, firm administrators,
media representatives, industry consultants and representatives of businesses
that offer products and services to the
accounting industry.
Your company will be noticed by
hundreds of potential customers! The
many sponsorship opportunities available at AAM Summit 2007 will help
your company reach its destination.
AAM offers numerous, and unique,
sponsorships suitable for any budget.
For a complete listing of exhibitor
opportunities and sponsor benefits,
visit www.accountingmarketing.org.
The AAM Summit gives you the most
cost-effective way to meet face-to-face
with more than 450 qualified accounting
marketers. Develop solid new business
leads while building on valuable existing
relationships. Reinforce your company
image in the minds of accounting marketers before and after the conference.
As an exhibitor and/or sponsor, you will
benefit from excellent name recognition
among the top accounting firm professionals in the world!
AAM is excited to call the lush,
Southern city of Savannah, Georgia
its home for the 2007 annual summit.
Located just a few miles from the
coast, historic Savannah is one of
America’s most beautiful cities. The
Hyatt Regency Savannah will play
host to AAM Summit 2007. You
may reserve your room online at
www.accountingmarketing.org.
Join us in beautiful Savannah, Georgia.
… and chart your course with us!
Just Say “No” to Poorly Written Documents:
Tips for Good Writing
By Kayte Steinert-Threlkeld, Anchin, Block & Anchin, LLP
I
“
f you can’t explain it
simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
That’s the e-mail signature of one my favorite journalists (my
husband) who has spent a career covering technology break-throughs. His
message holds true, though, for any
subject, particularly one as complex as
tax law, a frequent subject of accounting firm marketers.
Those who read our marketing communications — tax alerts, proposals, articles,
and even PowerPoint presentations —
have become acclimated to reading and
listening in sound bytes. Blame it on
instant messaging, blame it on TiVo; it
really doesn’t matter. For many, it has
become the norm to read headlines, skim
for buzz words and skip the rest.
Getting your message across to clients
and referral sources in a way that interests your audience and simplifies often
complex subject matter is particularly
important in the professional services
environment. Poor English, verbose
language and a lot of jargon are certain
to turn away readers, whether they are
peers, colleagues, clients, referral
sources or prospects.
The strength of well-written communications cannot be underestimated.
Good writing, whether in a newsletter,
on a Web site, in a blog or in some
other written vehicle, can be one of
the determining factors when a
prospect is selecting a new firm.
Two recent studies highlight just how
much businesses value good writing.
The National Commission on Writing
recently reported that U.S. organizations spend over $3 billion annually
teaching employees to write clearly.
Earlier this year, Communicare, Inc., a
Canadian consulting company, conducted an e-mail survey which showed
that 85% of its 528 respondents com-
plained that weak workplace communication wastes time. Seventy percent
cited lost productivity and 63 percent
noted that they have missed key information contained in the documents
they received. These same respondents
indicated that 58% of Canadian workers spend 2-4 hours per day reading
written text (e-mails, reports, memos,
and intra/Internet).
Armed with these facts and figures,
here are a few tips for good, clear writing that will never go out of style:
1. Visualize your audience. Before starting to write, think about what you
want to say and how you can best
influence a particular audience. Do any
underlying research that is needed, and
then write your copy directly to the
person/company you visualized.
2. Get to the point. Be clear about what
you want your message to be. The simpler and more straightforward the better.
If at all possible, write in a conversational
manner, much as you would speak.
3. Pay attention to transition. Consider
how the paragraphs flow into each
other. Depending on what you are writing, subheads may ease the transition.
4. Avoid jargon. Avoid jargon if at all
possible. If you must use a technical or
“insider” term, be sure to explain it to
your reader. If you cannot explain the
term, then you haven’t earned the
“right” to use it.
5. Be consistent. Once you introduce a
term, use it throughout the document.
It is confusing if you switch in the middle. Suppose you are writing a proposal
for an automobile dealership. Choose
one term — automobile, car or motor
vehicle — and use it throughout the
proposal. Similarly, be careful with
names. If you normally call someone
Lou, use Lou consistently throughout
the document.
6. Cut and paste. Using the language in
one document as the basis for another
can be tricky, particularly if you later
make changes to personalize the document. Your spell and grammar check
may not catch it if part of a word is cut
off or a word is added.
7. Proofread. It is easier to spend a few
minutes re-reading a document than it
is explaining away a typo. One of the
best ways to avoid typos is reading the
document aloud to someone else.
8. Do not depend upon “spell-check” to
catch your errors. Spell-check cannot
discern between your and you’re, its
and it’s, their and there. If you are
unsure which term to use, have someone else proof your document before
distribution.
Good Writing
Is Good Business
Good writing is good business.
Whether writing client-related materials such as news alerts or articles that
enhance the firm’s image, it is important to keep the language clear, concise
and focused. Remember, “If you can’t
explain it simply, you don’t understand
it well enough.”
About the Author:
Kayte Steinert-Threlkeld is Chief Marketing Officer of
Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP in New York City. In her
former life, she taught English and Journalism at the college
level and holds degrees in English and Journalism. Don’t
argue with her over the use of parallel structure, subject-verb
agreement, commas, colons, and semi-colons! Kayte can be
reached at kayte.steinert-threlkeld@anchin.com.
5
Using Your Firm’s Intranet to Drive Marketing ROI
By Paul Gladen, Muzeview LLC
I
ntranets are a somewhat
misunderstood,
maligned and misused
resource in many organizations. It’s often unclear who is (or
should be) responsible for the intranet.
Is it IT? HR? Marketing? And what
is the purpose of an intranet — is it
an internal communications tool or a
knowledge management system? The
news for marketers is not good either.
A recent Global Intranet Strategies
Survey performed by NetJMC found
that while “building a common culture” was the number one objective for
an intranet, the following marketing
related options ranked dead last as
primary strategies for intranets:
• Business needs related to products,
services and customers.
• Creator of value for business such as
innovation and time-to-market.
So how can you turn your firm’s
intranet into a powerful marketing
engine? The seven practical ideas set
out below are sure to help increase
your firm’s marketing ROI.
1. Market the
“Marketing Intranet”
For the Marketing Intranet to deliver
real value, it must be treated like any
other marketing initiative. Set clear
objectives in terms of “sales” (usage)
and impact on firm marketing. Then
develop a program of activity to
increase awareness, get users to try
it and respond to their feedback on
its usability and usefulness. Finally,
Blogs, RSS and Wikis Defined
A blog is a form of online publishing in which bloggers write regular “entries” about
topics of interest and where readers and other bloggers can add comments resulting
in a conversation and a community amongst bloggers and their readers.
RSS (which stands for Really Simple Syndication) provides a feed from a Web page
that enables people to receive details of Web page updates. This means they no
longer have to keep checking back to your site to see if there is anything new. This
makes life easier for them and reduces the risk that they miss an item of interest.
A wiki is a type of Web site that allows a group of users to easily add, remove or
change the content. This makes a wiki an effective tool for collaboration.
measure your success and continuously
seek to improve.
2. Provide Valuable
Marketing Resources
One of the simplest and most valuable
uses for a Marketing Intranet is to make
marketing documents, resources and
tools available to users. See “Marketing
Internet Resources Checklist” on page 7
for a list of potential items that should
be included.
Once you’ve reviewed this list and
determined which items are appropriate
for your firm’s site, it’s time to evaluate
whether there is information there that
would benefit from direct exposure to
current and prospective clients.
3. Make It Usable
From the perspective of usability,
intranets are no different than public
Web sites. Some are incredibly intuitive
and easy to use, while others are confusing and frustrating. Great content and
resources will be wasted if users don’t
know they exist or have to jump through
About the Author:
Paul Gladen is President & Founder of Muzeview LLC a research
and consulting firm that helps Professional Service Firms grow
through innovation in markets, services and operations. Paul spent
14 years with Arthur Andersen, where as a professional in both the
audit and business consulting practices he played a key role in the
development of the Global Technology, Media and Communications
Industry practice. Paul was a founding member, and the Partner
responsible for operations, in Andersen’s Center for Research &
Innovation. Paul can be reached at 212.665.0797 or paul@muzeview.com.
6
hoops to get to them. Clear logical layout and navigation, effective search, site
maps and minimal “sign-on” requirements can greatly enhance the usability
and effectiveness of your marketing
intranet. Web and intranet usability
expert Nielsen Norman Group estimates
that an intranet re-designed for usability
generates savings of approximately
$1000 per annum per employee.
4. Support the
Marketing Process
While private individuals often surf
the Web for fun, at work chances are
employees are visiting the intranet
to get something done. Hence it
makes sense to organize the marketing
intranet in ways that support the
marketing process. Think about structuring resources and tools to help
users accomplish tasks such as:
• Developing a proposal.
• Developing a client presentation.
• Hosting a marketing event.
• Providing a prospective client
with a summary of our capabilities.
5. Integration
As Web and enterprise technologies
evolve, there are significant opportunities to make your marketing intranet
a far more interactive resource. At a
minimum, it can act as an interface to
Customer Relationship Management
applications, resource and expertise databases or directories, online events calendars and multimedia marketing training.
Page 7
Using Your Firm’s Intranet
to Drive Marketing ROI
continued from page 6
6. Collaboration
Accounting firms are knowledge-based
organizations that add value by channeling their expertise and insights to
solve a client’s problem. Technologies
such as blogs, RSS and wikis offer the
potential for marketing to collaborate
with firm professionals to match expertise to emerging sales opportunities and
to generate ideas for new marketing
initiatives. The following list illustrates
some ways these technologies can be
used as part of your intranet to drive a
more collaborative marketing process:
• Marketers use blogs to alert professionals to new sales opportunities,
new marketing collateral or upcoming events.
• Professionals use blogs to write
about their experience and insights
creating living “resumes” that
help marketers identify and match
expertise to sales opportunities.
• Marketers scan the professionals’
blogs for insights and ideas to
develop into marketing ideas —
such as articles or events.
• Marketers and line professionals
use wikis to collaborate on a
proposal or the development of
a new service idea.
• Employees use RSS
to conveniently receive
blog update feeds
from marketers and
professionals keeping
them abreast of emerging opportunities and
ideas and enabling
them to jump in when
they have something
valuable to contribute.
a marketing culture early in these
young professionals’ careers — creating
the potential for substantial marketing
ROI in years to come.
Marketing Intranet Resources Checklist
❏ Marketing brochures and materials — firm,
service and industry specific
вќЏ Proposal templates, development guides and
proposal examples
вќЏ Client success stories
вќЏ Firm expert directory
вќЏ Press releases
вќЏ Newsletters, articles, whitepapers
An Investment
in the Future
Designed and used well,
marketing intranets
can be a powerful tool
for raising the profile
and effectiveness of marketing in accounting
firms. New recruits raised
on Web technologies
will increasingly expect
to use a firm’s intranet
to help them become
more effective. A strong
marketing intranet can
help develop and foster
вќЏ Branding guidelines and resources
вќЏ Pricing guidelines
вќЏ Sales and marketing plans and results
вќЏ Opportunity and sales pipelines
вќЏ Sales contact management tools
вќЏ Sales lead and opportunity management tools
вќЏ Market and competitive intelligence
вќЏ Client satisfaction results and feedback
вќЏ Events information
вќЏ Marketing contacts information
вќЏ Marketing calendar
вќЏ Sales and marketing training
Marketer Toolbox
Making the Most of Your Association Membership
By Liz Kuntz, Ingenuity Marketing Group
T
here are always good
reasons to miss association meetings, but if you
miss too many you may
as well just save your money. Having
your logo in the association directory
will not create new business. Showing
up and meeting people and becoming
actively involved will. As you know, if
you are selling professional services you
are selling yourself. Here are a few surefire methods to make the most of your
investment in any association.
Show Up … And Interact
Once you figure out your association’s
meeting pattern, put each month’s
meeting in your calendar for the entire
year. Treat these meetings like an
appointment, not like something you
can do if no other appointments get
made. Show up early and stay late. The
most valuable networking time is usually before or after the meeting.
Join a Committee
Every association has committees —
government relations, membership,
7
sponsorship, programs, communications,
special events, the list goes on. Pick one
and join it. Committees integrate you
with the association in ways being a regular member never will. You will build
more intense, meaningful relationships
with the people on your committee, and
the person sitting next to you could
become your firm’s biggest client.
Sponsor an Event
From being a general chapter sponsor to
sponsoring a specific event, there is a
wide range of sponsorship opportunities
Page 8
Marketer Toolbox
continued from page 7
available through associations. Even
advertising in the association newsletter
or magazine can be seen as sponsorship.
Sponsoring a hole at a golf tournament
is always a wise way to spend your
money, especially if the tournament
director allows you to administer a contest on the hole and give away prizes
(which will have your firm’s name, logo
and contact information). The opportunity to interact with potential clients in
this fun, laid back atmosphere is priceless. People let their guard down in this
casual environment, so it’s an easy
opportunity to build relationships.
Have Your Way With Words
Find out if your association publishes a
newsletter or magazine. If it does, contact the editor and inquire about article
submission guidelines. Associations typically do not have a huge budget for
freelancers or staff writers, so the editors
of association trade publications will
welcome pre-written articles or members willing to write articles. Getting
published in your association’s publications will lend credibility to you and
your firm. This is also true as a speaker.
In addition to monthly meetings, your
association may have workshops. These
workshops are usually intended to provide hands-on tactical information and
are a perfect place for you to present.
About the Author:
Liz Kuntz is a marketing consultant for Ingenuity Marketing
Group, a St. Paul, Minnesota-based training, marketing and
communications firm that caters to professional service firms.
Ingenuity helped found the Minnesota AAM chapter and
recently started a strategic networking group for young professionals called Power Up! Liz is a member of the Association for
Accounting Marketing and Legal Marketing Association. She
is also the former president of a local association management
company. Liz can be reached at 651.690.3358 or liz@ingenuitymarketing.com.
Recommended Reading /
Bibliography
Levinson, Jay Conrad. “Guerilla
Marketing: Big Profits from your
Small Business.”Houghton Mifflin
Company: 1993.
Ellis, Susan J. “Tracking Volunteer
Trends.” Association Management
magazine: January 2005.
Despite all the marketing you do, possibly the most effective will be joining
associations, according to Jay Conrad
Levinson, author of “Guerilla Marketing:
Secrets for Making Big Profits from your
Small Business.” You will make lots of
contacts with people who can give you
business and with people who will refer
business to you.
If you join just to obtain business without being willing to help the industry
and the association, all of these surefire
tips will be worthless. Your true motivation will be discovered. Give back to the
community or industry that has been
good to you, and you will end up with
important contacts — and business.
AAM Chapters
AAM has several local chapters in
operation across the U.S. For additional information regarding AAM’s
chapters, visit the AAM Web site at
www.accountingmarketing.org, or
contact the individuals listed below.
Atlanta Chapter
Erinn Keserica
404.253.7500 /
erinn.keserica@frazierdeeter.com
Chicago Chapter
Mary Doherty
312.602.8274 / mary.doherty@gt.com
Houston Chapter
Raissa Evans
713.860.1464 / revans@pkftexas.com
Los Angeles Chapter
Samantha Deeder
310.477.0450 /
samantha.deeder@mossadams.com
Maryland Chapter
Suzanne Bouhia
301.280.3634 /
suzanne.bouhia@rfs.com
Minnesota Chapter
Dawn Wagenaar
651.690.3358 /
dawn@ingenuitymarketing.com
New York Metro Chapter
Susan Lanfray
212.931.9270 /
slanfray@ere-cpa.com
8
Alisa Morris
212.303.1880 /
amorris@rssmcpa.com
Philadelphia Chapter
Erin McClafferty
215.567.7770, Ext. 6062 /
emcclafferty@bbdcpa.com
Jack Kolmansberger
215.241.8963 /
jkolmansberger@asherco.com
Wisconsin Chapter
Kerri Nowicki
414.431.9340 / knowicki@wipfli.com
The Partner’s Perspective
An interview with Phil Moore, Managing Partner, Porter Keadle Moore, LLP (PKM)
By Kim Cooley, Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough, PLLC
There is a huge
debate raging at
Porter Keadle
Moore, LLP, (PKM)
in Atlanta, according to managing
partner Phil Moore.
The debate centers
on just exactly what
Phil Moore
the firm’s marketing
director, Laura Snyder, is actually doing
with her time each day.
Snyder, who has been at the helm
of PKM’s marketing department for
four years, is definitely putting in her
40+ hours of work each week but
defining her role at the firm might
be difficult at best, said Moore.
“We have the greatest debate going on
over how much of Laura’s work is really
marketing and how much of it is public
relations,” Moore explained. “Laura does
a lot of things here that are not your typical marketing activities. When she was
first hired, she did a lot of research and
such — things you would traditionally
expect from a marketing person. But we
found Laura had a lot more to offer our
firm than that. And with the firm experiencing such rapid growth, business
development activities have not needed
an additional marketing push.
“She would come to me with these
great ideas and I would smile at her
and say, �oh, that’s a fine idea,’ and she
would just know that was all she was
going to get,” Moore continued. “She
gave us just too many pieces of bubblegum and we didn’t have the mouths
to chew it. Then it hit us — if Laura’s
so good at coming up with ideas to sell
our services to our clients, why can’t
she sell our firm to new recruits?”
Moore said using his marketing director for recruitment purposes is unusual
but it’s worked well for his firm. He
said she also occasionally crosses over
into employee retention, and is responsible for helping the firm’s Chief
Operating Officer with games and
competitions that help keep the firm’s
work environment fresh and exciting.
“Laura’s done exceptionally well for
us,” Moore said. “We hired her as a
novice in the accounting field. She
waded in hip deep — well, she would
say neck deep — but she walked into
a pretty good thing here because we
already had a good, healthy marketing
mindset in place. We were already
thinking about the outward market,
business development and marketing
in general. Laura was able to come in,
take the raw materials we had in place,
and elevate our marketing endeavors
to the next level.”
Moore said PKM, with eight partners,
65 staff members, and nearly $10 million
in annual revenue, has succeeded for
two reasons besides its strong marketing
culture — its focus on niches and the
teamwork attitude the firm exhibits.
“Our firm has remained focused on our
niches — mainly the banking/financial
institution marketplace — and has
worked hard to maintain a presence
there,” he explained. “By cultivating that
expertise and commitment to that industry, we’ve been able to take our skill set
and passion and spread out into other
Southeastern states, even breaking into
several Northern states. We’ve maintained that niche as our backbone and
the commitment has served us well.”
“And we made a conscientious effort
about 10 years ago to adopt a teamwork
attitude at PKM,” Moore said. “When I
say that I mean that we market PKM as
a team — our clients sign on knowing
they’re getting the whole firm. And our
partners and managers understand that
their individual compensation is not
specifically impacted by bringing in
new business. We are of the mindset
that there is no such thing as a partnerowned client and our clients know the
whole firm works for them — not just
one partner. If I bring in a client, my
entire partner group prospers — not
just me. We each get a piece of the
9
action. It was the bravest way for us
to grow. And as a result, we have
no weak links. I have an extremely
talented partner group and I wouldn’t
trade one of them.”
Snyder says other marketing professionals can’t comprehend that “share
the wealth” way of doing business and
she often gets into debates when the
topic comes up for discussion. “It works
well for our firm because of the trust
and loyalty,” she explained. “We all
just think �team team team.’ “
Moore said using his
marketing director for
recruitment purposes is
unusual but it’s worked
well for his firm.
Lest you think all is perfect at PKM,
Moore said Laura has had her share
of struggles. But he said the support of
the partner group has helped her stay
the course.
“Laura has been great for our firm
and I know she has struggled but she
has always known I back her up —
I value her and that helps her through
the tough days,” Moore said. “I take
my responsibility to back her up
very seriously and I give kudos to my
partner group for taking the risk of
hiring a marketing director with no
public accounting experience. It certainly has paid off.”
“Of course, I still can’t tell you how
much of her time is spent marketing
and how much would be defined as
public relations,” Moore said. “I actually don’t know the exact difference
between marketing and public relations. And I’m not really sure it matters. As long as everyone knows what
the blue triangle with the squiggles
(the firm’s logo) means and stands for,
I guess what she’s doing is working!”
Member Voices
An interview with Wade Clark, Director of Sales and Marketing, BKD
By RenГ© Stranghoner, Weaver and Tidwell, L.L.P
Wade Clark, a presenter at the 2006
AAM Summit, is
the Director of Sales
and Marketing at
BKD in Springfield,
Missouri. Clark
joined the firm in
2001 and is responWade Clark
sible for overall
development, management and leadership of the firm’s sales and marketing personnel, infrastructure, strategy and firmwide initiatives. BKD has approximately
60 sales and marketing staff working with
and supporting its partners and managers.
Clark describes his department’s overall
objectives as two-fold: to offer proactive
and responsive assistance to the firm’s
partners and managers; and to enable
BKD to grow wisely. The following are
excerpts from an interview with Clark.
Many professional marketers are enamored by an inside sales function, such
as the one you have created. What has
made it so successful?
Well, to keep things in perspective the
inside sales function is just one piece of a
puzzle that has contributed to our overall
success. The entire puzzle includes written communications (internal and external), graphic design, media relations,
event coordination, online (Inter/intranets), niche marketing, practice unit
marketing, inside sales and outside sales,
and of course, our partners’ and managers’ sales and marketing efforts.
Why is the inside sales team so successful? Simple: They take action. The BKD
Advance Team (our inside sales —
appointment generation team) brings to
the table a passion for contacting new
prospects and introducing BKD and our
services. Since we launched the program
four years ago, the BKD Advance Team
has made over 130,000 phone calls,
held over 25,000 phone conversations
with decision makers and scheduled
over 4,000 meetings that have led to
millions of dollars in revenue.
What advice do you offer to other professional marketers who are considering this
function as a part of their marketing mix?
There are a number of issues to consider
when planning an inside sales function
in a firm. But there are a few things I
feel strongly about. First, you are a professional services firm; therefore, any
telemarketing must be done professionally. You are not hiring a “typical” telemarketer, or using their approaches. You
are hiring sales professionals who can represent your firm well by focusing on the
initial stage of the sales process and
handling it effectively over the phone.
Second — Start slow and stay focused.
The temptation will arise early on to
utilize your telemarketing staff to conduct non-revenue producing activities.
Avoid these temptations. Third —
Make sure you set appropriate expectations. Some appointments lead to proposals and sales. Other appointments
and initiatives are more introductory
and general in nature. Keep in mind
these “introductory” meetings may not
lead to short term revenue, but they can
still be very valuable in the long-term.
What do you consider your greatest
success as an accounting firm marketer?
I have been in accounting marketing
for about thirteen years. I have had a
number of personal and professional
successes. I think, however, the most
rewarding successes are those that center on the growth of people, and not
just dollars. Seeing partners and managers becoming confident and excited
about sales and marketing, and having
an opportunity to develop and promote
staff, who in turn become successful,
are the best successes to me.
What do you like most about your job?
Honestly, the best thing I like about my
job is BKD itself. This is a firm that
stands firmly on values and the principal
of “doing the right thing”. I have great
respect for the firm’s leadership. The
people are very sharp and personable,
10
they are not egotistical. And, I am proud
of the quality of the work product we
produce, which is reflected in our client
satisfaction results. This gives me confidence and pride in my company, and our
future, and it makes my job enjoyable.
What role has AAM played in helping
you on the job?
AAM has been helpful to me in three
main ways. First and foremost, it has provided me with a means to connect with
others in our industry, which has allowed
me to expand my contacts and relationships. Second, I have found the annual
conferences to be very beneficial. I
always pick up new ideas, or perspectives.
Third, AAM has provided me an opportunity to share with others. I thoroughly
enjoyed the speaking opportunity at last
year’s conference. It is invigorating to feel
you may be helping others along in their
careers and marketing efforts.
What advice would you have for
a newcomer?
The best advice I can give a newcomer
is the same advice I give all my newhires. Your career success hinges on
your ability to develop relationships
with your partners and managers. If
you develop these relationships, find
out what they really need, and deliver
value to them, you are writing your
ticket to a successful career. You must
realize in a partnership, each partner
has personally invested (financially)
in you, and so it’s understandable they
want a return on their investment.
Furthermore, your role in sales and
marketing is to help your partners and
managers to be successful, and specifically successful in growing their firm.
They want you to take ownership of
your role and the goals that come with
it, show leadership, and take initiative.
The marketers who take this initiative
really stand out. They are valued. The
opportunity is yours to make your role
shine. So develop a vision, and chase it
with passion.
AAM-MAA Winner Profile:
Cerini & Associates Develop
an Award-Winning Not-for-Profit Survey
T
o Ken Cerini, Managing
Partner of Cerini &
Associates (two partners, 22 total staff, one
office), Long Island, N.Y., the need for
a not-for-profit survey was evident.
With an underserved not-for-profit
population (between 3,000 and 6,000
organizations) located on Long Island,
and the numerous problems that notfor-profit organizations face, Cerini &
Associates felt it was vital to conduct
a survey that would help benchmark
area not-for-profit organizations.
Like any other form
of marketing, you will
need to cross promote.
Since Cerini & Associates is a firm
with a strong not-for-profit practice,
Cerini dedicated himself to ensuring
success. He focused his time and other
firm resources around the philosophy
that “all data would be collected to
help clients, prospects, contacts, and
friends benchmark their not-for-profit
organization(s).”
Goals / Background
The primary goal of the survey was to
reach as many not-for-profit organizations on Long Island as possible. Surveys
were mailed to some 3,000 executive
directors, presidents, and CEOs with the
following secondary goals:
• To gather as much useful, accurate
data as possible, in order to assist
not-for-profit organizations and lift
Cerini & Associates’ profile above
all area firms who work with notfor-profit entities;
• To reflect the current state of the
not-for-profit community of Long
Island; and
• To educate not-for-profit organizations of all sizes and shapes about
issues facing their industry.
Although utilization of the U.S. Postal
Service was the primary distribution
method, an online version of the survey was also available. With 170
responses, the firm deemed their 6%
response rate a great success.
Results
Although the survey resulted in several
new clients for the firm, learning the
true challenges that not-for-profits face
each day was the greatest result. Cerini
& Associates is now armed with specific
industry data, enabling their staff to
more effectively assist their clients. They
are also more in tune with what prospective clients need and can help overcome
challenges by creating awareness, driving
change and leading improvements in the
community. In addition, the survey
showcased why Cerini is the choice for
not-for-profit organizations on Long
Island. Cerini’s staff utilizes survey results
to provide valuable comparative information when talking to their client’s
management and boards, which clearly
sets them apart and shows their dedication and knowledge of the sector.
Advice
Surveys can be quite challenging,
especially if time is not dedicated to
such an all encompassing project.
Paper surveys are normally returned
in larger quantity; however, with the
recent explosion of electronic surveys
(Zoomerang, Survey Monkey, etc.),
tracking results is easier and eliminates
a lot of work. As a result, they are
becoming the wave of the future.
Surveys are completed most often when
they are targeted at the right audience,
simple to use, and have a friendly interface. Asking participants multiple
choice questions is the way to go. The
easier the process, the more participants
will want to complete the survey. Make
11
distinctive differences between answers;
if participants are confused, then data
will be useless and inaccurate for comparisons. Also keep the survey relatively short, something they can complete in about 15 to 20 minutes, and
make sure that the right person within
the organization (such as the executive
director) is completing the survey to
ensure more accurate responses.
Finally, don’t expect that the survey
mailing alone will net you the results
you need. Like any other form of marketing, you will need to cross promote.
For its survey, Cerini partnered with a
local business publication which advertised the survey and distributed the final
survey in exchange for a sponsorship of
the survey. In addition, Cerini attended
meetings of not-for-profit organizations
to discuss the survey and had these organizations distribute electronic copies of
the survey to their membership. And
phone calls were made and e-mails sent
to agencies to remind them of the
importance of responding.
To have a look at the results of
Cerini & Associates’ 2006 NFP
Survey online, visit their Web site
at www.ceriniandassociates.com and
click on the survey icon.
AAM New Members
Katie Amato
Dean, Dorton & Ford, P.S.C.
Lexington, Ky.
kamato@ddfky.com / 859.425.7675
Pat Enderson
Deloitte & Touche
Minneapolis, Minn.
penderson@deloitte.com
Jennifer Mleziva
Wipfli LLP
Green Bay, Wis.
jmleziva@wipfli.com / 920.662.2823
Myron Bachynski
Bachynski & Associates PLLC
Burnsville, Minn.
bachynski@integraonline.com /
952.707.0665
John Fovenesi
Doeren Mayhew
Troy, Mich.
fovenesi@doeren.com / 810.533.3353
David Parcheta
Clifton Gunderson LLP
Milwaukee, Wis.
david.parcheta@cliftoncpa.com
Hortensia Hacker
Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLP
Miami, Fla.
hhacker@mbafcpa.com / 305.373.5500
Robin Pfeiffer
Pry Professional Group
Findlay, Ohio
rpfeiffer@prygroup.com / 419.423.4481
Andrea Kriznauski
Clifton Gunderson LLP
Phoenix, Ariz.
andrea.kriznauski@cliftoncpa.com
Stephanie Roy
Braver Schimler Pierce Jenkins LLP
Atlanta, Ga.
sroy@bspj.com / 770.955.1065
Dinah Kumbera
Null-Lairson
Houston, Texas
dkumbera@null-lairson.com / 713.386.1112
Jennifer Singleton
Tarpley & Underwood, P.C.
Atalanta, Ga.
jsingleton@t-u.com / 770.730.5000
Aimee Lavallee
SBLR Chartered Accountants
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
alavallee@sblr.ca / 416.488.2345
Christine Spray
GLO CPAs, LLP
Houston, Texas
cspray@glocpa.com / 832.264.4041
Leslie Balmforth
Tauber & Balser, P.C.
Atlanta, Ga.
lbalmforth@tbcpa.com / 404.814.4985
Steve Castino
Vestal & Wiler Certified Public
Accountants
Orlando, Fla.
scastino@vestal-wiler.com / 407.284.4522
Heather Cohen
Colcomgroup, Inc.
New York, N.Y.
hcohen@colcomgroup.com / 646.536.5102
Save the Date!
AAM Summit 2007:
Uncharted Waters
June 6 – 8, 2007
Hyatt Regency Savannah
Savannah, Georgia
Mary Markowicz
MLO Enterprises LLC
Sedona, Ariz.
maryannmarkowicz@attglobal.net /
928.284.1260
Sheryl Martin
WithumSmith + Brown
More details at www.accountingmarketing.org. Princeton, N.J.
smartin@withum.com
14 West Third Street, Suite 200
Kansas City, MO 64105
Kristi Stangeland
KLS Web Solutions
Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y
kristi@klswebsolutions.com / 914.478.5869
Agatha Szczesna
Visionary Marketing
Palatine, Ill.
asz@thinkvisionary.com / 847.359.6560
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