Becca Davis, Rea & Associates
I’ve been nestled inside the cozy little bubble of accounting marketing for almost 14 years. Thanks to resources like AAM, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the hot trends in our industry. But I think it’s also valuable to check out what’s going on in the rest of the world from time to time. What hot trends are other industries seeing that we accounting marketers need to pay attention to?
As I did my research, I read about a lot of trends that accounting firms are already on top of. Content marketing. Video. Big data. AI. Trust and transparency. The customer experience. Go us!
But there were a few key themes that came up in so many blogs, podcasts and tweets that I have to wonder how they’ll affect our industry.
We live in a 24/7/365 world – and boy, has it spoiled us. In the days of yore, we didn’t think twice about waiting an hour – or even a full day – for a response. But now we want an answer and we want it now. Marketers are turning to chatbots to connect and engage with customers and prospects at any time, and the AI that supports them is crazy powerful – most queries can be resolved without any human interaction at all.
Many customers actually prefer to interact with a chatbot than a customer service representative. If this sounds like something your audience could get on board with, adding a chatbot to your site might be worth considering – even if it’s just to gather feedback until a real person is available to respond.
I did a research call yesterday on the marketing director for a company that provides health and safety training and resources to the manufacturing and construction industries. She told me that she’s working on developing an Alexa “skill” for her company. Um, what?
I love technology as much as the next person, and I’m all about empowering my devices to make my life easier, but that whole smart-speaker-that’s-always-listening thing is just something I haven’t been able to get on board with. (The last thing I need is for my speaker to get hacked and for the conversations I have with my dogs to be put on blast. Maybe an irrational fear, but a fear nonetheless.)
Needless to say, I’m not at all familiar with voice searches. But they came up over and over again in my research today, so maybe there’s something to it. According to Search Engine Land, voice-based commerce sales in the U.S. reached $2 billion in 2018 and are expected to skyrocket to $40 billion by 2022. Some of those dollars have to go to accounting firms … right? And if a safety consulting company can make it work, why couldn’t we?
Do you know how many newsletters and marketing emails I received today? 63. Do you know how many of them I actually opened? Seven. Guess how many of them influenced me to take action. None.
Now let’s walk down the hall to my mailbox. Three marketing pieces waited for me there. Just three. I looked at two of them and acted on one.
That’s a much better response rate. But direct mail is dead, right?
Believe it or not, the old school tricks still have a place in your marketing mix. I read that response rates for direct mail is currently around 5 percent, whereas email campaigns see a response rate of about 0.7%. As cool as all of this technology is, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and we’re all getting overwhelmed with content flying at us from every direction. I’m not saying that snail mail is the answer for everything, but it’s becoming a bit of a blue ocean. We’ve seen tremendous success with it at our firm and you might, too. Come on in – the water’s fine.