Partners respond to data…even marketing data. That’s a lesson I learned while in-house when developing an accounting marketing strategy. If I had a request for my partners, I had better have the data to back it up if I wanted a positive result. Even though I am in a different role in my career today, the need for data is still with me.
Just like many of you are evaluating what you’ve done and considering what you want to accomplish in the coming year, we’ve been doing the same here at AAM. New goals have been set with the board and with committee chairs focusing on what we want…perhaps need…to accomplish in the coming year. This direction stems from data. We looked externally to what other associations are doing, and we looked internally at the accounting industry and what is happening in the marketing profession. Our accounting marketing strategy, which will ultimately lead to our budget, is influenced by everything we know and learned.
You should use that same focus when building out your marketing strategy and budget for your accounting firm.
Building Your Accounting Marketing Strategy and Budget
As you are preparing plans and strategy for the coming year, don’t put your accounting marketing budget together in a vacuum. Turn to outside data to validate where and how you spend.
First, you may be asking yourself how much does an accounting firm spend on marketing? Well, the average is 4.58 percent of firm revenue including compensation for marketing staff. The total accounting marketing budget does vary though when you factor out compensation and look at firm size, geography and growth rate.
Secondly, what do accounting firms spend marketing dollars on? Do you think you’re spending too much on sponsorships? Need more money for training? Want to invest in online advertising? Data is available to compare what you’re spending today, or want to spend next year, with firms of a similar size and, more importantly, with high growth firms. This the data you need to accompany your well thought out strategy.
Accounting Marketing Budget Benchmarking
In the 2019 AAM Marketing Budget Benchmark Survey, Hinge Research talks about where high performing firms are allocating their dollars. (Spoiler alert: It is not in print ads and sponsorships, but IT IS on digital marketing, educational events and internal education.) Don’t think high performing firms equate to large firms either. Small firms are spending more on marketing than their large firm peers (as a percentage of revenue).
Want to know how much accounting firms are spending overall and by spending category? It’s in the survey!
Budgeting for the Accounting Evolution
We’ve heard time and again that change is coming. High growth firms recognize this and we see it in the survey findings, too. They are more likely to offer advisory and information security services.
How will this “data” fit into your proposed 2020 accounting marketing strategy? Leverage the AAM Marketing Budget Benchmark Study, the only research of its kind, to help back up your budget dollars.
Knowledge is Power
Get your copy of the AAM Marketing Budget Benchmark Study (an executive summary is free for all and the full report can be purchased with a discount for members). Put data behind your accounting marketing strategy request this year. Doing so will increase your odds of winning those valuable marketing dollars…and that will allow you to drive bigger returns for your accounting firm with the marketing dollars you spend.
About Lauren Clemmer
Lauren Clemmer is the Executive Director for the Association for Accounting Marketing. Prior to becoming the director, Lauren was an active member, participating in the Membership Satisfaction committee and then as co-chair of Virtual Education which includes AAM High Webinars and Virtual Campfires. In her role as executive director, Lauren works with the with the board president, the executive committee and the board of directors to drive AAM’s vision and strategic plan. Her responsibilities include the general administration of all AAM business, managing vendor and partner relationships, enhancing member engagement and loyalty, and serving as the voice of membership.
Lauren gives back to her community as a member of the Women’s Board for the Boy and Girls Clubs of Cleveland.