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Adapting Strategy in the Face of Disruption

Sarah Cirelli, CMO of Grassi Advisors & Accountants, recently presented an AAM! High webinar called, “All Shook Up: Tips for Adapting Strategy in the Face of Disruption.” It was an insightful presentation of marketing strategies for accounting firms with real world examples. If you’re a member, you can access the archived version of the webinar on our website.

Our industry is changing so much and so quickly that marketing departments must be nimble. How do we adapt our marketing to be able to perform well? What’s constant is change. Disruption is all around us. Most accounting firms are facing or anticipating many disruptors such as consolidation, private equity buyouts, service innovations, a recession, technology, talent specialization and a talent shortage. Where the typical growth model has been to grow by traditional marketing efforts and/or M&A. A third pillar of growth has emerged – digital.

Adapting Strategy With the New Growth Model

  1. Traditional
  2. M&A
  3. Digital

Marketers are more valuable than they’ve ever been before since there can be direct ROI associated with digital. It’s an exciting time to make a direct impact to our firms. A firm’s website should be the number-one lead generator of new business for a firm.

Tips When Creating Strategic Goals

  • It is imperative to know what the firm’s goals are. If you don’t know, then ask! Get crystal clear on what these goals are.
  • Then, you need to know or define the budget to execute against the goals.
    • High growth firms should have budgets over 3%, including compensation
    • Know what motivates your leader and sell your ideas and budget based on that knowledge

When the pandemic hit, there were many things that emerged including and increase in webinars, digital marketing, productivity questions, uncertainty, pajama pants and burnout! From these factors, Grassi was able to create some incredible solutions that were successful.

Digital Solutions

  • A Crisis Response and Recovery Hotline and made it available in all materials, so that clients and prospects could easily connect.
  • A proven process to bring a new offering to market.
  • An improved technology stack
    • Launched a new website
    • Improved marketing automation
    • Brought SEO in house through an automated software
    • Defined the inbound lead process.
    • Emailed clients regularly
    • Held regular pipeline meetings
    • Established a new customer intelligence platform
    • Created automated emails for common questions
    • Launching Chatbots for instant gratification
    • Continue to explore good CRM tools

Top 10 pieces of advice for strategic planning

Finally, Cirelli closed with 10 pieces of advice for adapting strategy and planning.

  1. Make sure your tech is working for you, not the other way around
  2. You can’t boil the ocean, but you can boil a kettle
  3. Success often follows extreme ownership
  4. 10/20/70 – 10% efficiency focused have to dos; 20% innovating; 70% pragmatism
  5. Figure out a way to work more with the people who want to work with you
  6. Get rid of the grandfathers – start from scratch every budget season
  7. Tequila is sometimes the answer
  8. You are the “Show me the money” department
  9. Use the phrases “I recommend…” and “What’s your resistance to…”
  10. If all else fails, say Harvard Business Review says that “everyone is doing it.”

The truth of the matter is that everything is changing. The opportunity is great for marketers, but it’s vital to keep a growth and strategic mindset.

For full details to accompany this webinar, check out the archived version, or purchase it as a non-member for $49.

About Sunny Ricks

Sunny Ricks, Director of Marketing Communications, Warren Averett. Contact at [email protected]
Sunny Ricks works with Warren Averett’s client service teams and niche marketers to enhance the firm’s brand, visibility and audience communication experience. Within Warren Averett’s Marketing efforts, Sunny leads the firm’s Marketing Communications team, which functions as an internal agency advising stakeholders and other marketers on topics like branding, media relations, advertising, publicity, websites, content, social media and collateral, as well as office-based and firm-wide internal initiatives. Sunny’s ultimate objective is to communicate Warren Averett’s expertise, build the Firm’s audience and generate new client relationships. Before starting at Warren Averett 15 years ago, Sunny worked at The Zimmerman Agency, leading media relations, promotions, and publicity for clients such as Diners Club, the Don CeSar Beach Resort & Spa and Florida's Emerald Coast.

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