Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the adaptation and evolution required to continue serving our firms and clients, the Growth Strategies committee posed the question “How has COVID-19 changed you as an accounting marketer?” Here’s what members had to say…
COVID-19 has amplified the need for marketing as firms pivot to meet the needs of clients, employees, prospects and referral sources. We’ve all needed to quickly revamp websites, issue CARES Act communications and move programming online, while rapidly expanding our use of technology along the way. I have learned skills to support the speed in which we get content out the door, simply because of the volume, using resources such as Canva, Livestorm, Lifesize, WordPress, Buffer, Monday.com and MailChimp in ways not necessarily applicable to my day-to-day life pre-COVID-19. I have also seen positive progress in the leadership team’s ability to strategize to create new services and offerings under marketing’s leadership. There has never been more collaboration at our firm on the marketing front, and it’s exciting to facilitate the right type of discussions to adapt and innovate in this changing environment.
– Denise Asker, director of marketing and practice growth, Clayton McKervey
COVID-19 has tested me, stretched my abilities and motivated me to make quick decisions to benefit the firm and our clients. The virus has sped up new initiatives we’ve been working toward, including launching our first webinar series. All in all and stress set aside, COVID-19 been a crazy challenge, but it’s changed me into a better accounting marketer. I look forward to putting what I’ve learned to good use in a non-pandemic environment!
– Korby Boswell, marketing and growth specialist, Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball, Chtd
Our marketing team quickly turned into journalists. Although we’ve always had a heavy focus on content marketing, this shift was pretty seismic. Suddenly our marketing campaigns became not so important and were set aside. It became more critical than ever to figure out exactly what information our clients needed, and just as important, how they needed to receive those messages. Empathy became everything. Adhering to the tried and tested who, what, why, where, when and how mindset from Journalism 101 helps keep our messaging on target. My simple litmus test for content continues to be 1. is it helpful? and 2. is it relevant to our clients? It hasn’t failed us yet!
– Susan Gorham, director of marketing, Gross, Mendelsohn & Associates
Like other firms, we’ve had to completely pivot our marketing strategy to address the needs of our internal and external stakeholders in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, I was able to realize how adaptable and resilient I truly am as a marketer. We were able to quickly and seamlessly rise to the challenge as a firm, which helped us emerge as authorities and thought leaders on issues pertaining to coronavirus in our region. COVID-19 has changed me into a fearless accounting marketer, and I look forward to taking more risks and being more confident in my decisions.
– Abbey Kanellakis, practice growth manager, Rea & Associates
I have placed a much stronger emphasis on the relationships I have with my clients, co-workers and community. While my main focus as a marketer is still to inform and educate, I feel understanding the importance of connection and compassion has helped me make an even bigger impact in the lives of those around me. From taking the extra step to ensure resources are available for clients to reaching out to colleagues so they know how much they’re appreciated – we may not be saving the day, but we’re making the day a little easier to manage for those we touch!
– Laura Metz, marketing and communications manager, Moore North America
In the past, my time as a solo marketer of a 60-person, three office CPA & IT Services firm was divided between event planning, proposal creation and management, networking, mentor program management, community involvement management, website and social media management. I never had enough time to really work on the website and social media management, content newsletters and SEO. This has been very good for allowing some of the partners, who still weren’t that sold on the need for having a marketer 29 years into a 31-year growing practice, to see the value of my role. Making sure we get more of those audit proposals has increased the need to make our proposals an excellent selling tool that will showcase our value. I’ve had to educate myself as much as possible on digitally marketing our firm so we are relevant, found and seen as the experts.
– Anna Morgese, marketing manager, Eder, Casella & Co.
The way the COVID-19 situation has changed me as an accounting marketer by shifting my focus on getting back to the basics of why we do what we do. Being sensitive to difficult situations has taken away the ability to sell just for sales sake, and really fine-tuned our message to how we help our clients. How do we give them peace-of-mind, how do we help them sleep at night, how do we help them keep their businesses afloat? Now more than ever we must find ways to share that message rather than simply touting how great we think our firms are. No one has the time, the budget, or the energy for the fluff, we’ve got to streamline our messages and our methods.
– Emily Taibl, marketing manager, Sweeney Conrad, P.S.
In each issue of Growth Strategies, the Association for Accounting Marketing’s quarterly thought leadership publication, five members are asked the same question as part of the “Take 5” feature to share ideas on the same topic. (Make sure to check out the Summer 2020 issue of Growth Strategies, which will focus on the marketer’s role in M&S and crisis communications, in mid-June by clicking here.)
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About Christian Moises
Christian Moises APR is practice growth specialist for Ericksen Krentel CPAs and Consultants in New Orleans, where he is a one-man shop doing it all. He spent the first 10 years of his career in journalism, serving as an editor with New Orleans CityBusiness, the business journal of New Orleans, before transitioning to marketing and communications, with stops in death care communications, community hospital public relations and marketing/communications for an AM Law 200 regional law firm. He also serves as editor and committee chairman for AAM’s quarterly thought leadership publication Growth Strategies.