As a member of AAM and attendee of AAM Summit several times, I can personally attest that there’s nothing more invigorating than sitting down for that opening session. We’ve all traveled from across the country to come together and set aside our day-to-day marketing efforts to think “big picture” with like-minded fellow accounting marketers. We’re ready to be inspired. We’re ready for a fresh perspective. We’re eager for exciting new ideas we can bring back to our firms and implement.
2022 AAM Summit’s opening keynote “Good is the New Cool: How to Market with Purpose” did a nice job delivering on all those fronts, setting a great tone for the days ahead. Speaker Bobby Jones is the author of “Good is the New Cool.” Jones describes himself as an expert on finding the purpose in your marketing and often speaks to businesspeople on how to be a force for good in the world. If you were unable to attend AAM Summit this year, I hope this summary gives you some good takeaways.
In his keynote, Jones shared a bit of his own professional journey and an epiphany he says he had about 10 years ago – he, a lifelong marketer, needed a change. His question to himself: does this work really matter? Is marketing a force for good? Or was he simply selling? Jones’ conclusion: Yes, marketing is more than just selling a product or service, if it’s marketing with purpose. Jones says purpose is your competitive advantage.
According to Bobby, in particular, millennials are using the power of advocacy to create change in the world. He says 76 percent of young people say they’re making purchases based on what brands stand for. And 67 percent say they’ll stop supporting those brands when the brands don’t align with their values.
Jones describes this as the age of purpose. He says people and businesses are examining their values and sharing those values with their communities. Because of this, we’re seeing three major shifts in this age of purpose:
- Conscious customers. There are certain things they care about. Do your values align with what your customers/clients care about?
- Activist employees. Our people have issues that are important to them. They’re ready to take action to support those causes.
- Impact investors. Many are concerned about the social impact of their investment strategy.
Jones challenged us to consider where we as accounting marketers align. Do you see opportunities for your own firm?
So, how exactly do you market with purpose? Jones says consider these seven concepts:
- Know your purpose
- Think citizens, not customers
- Don’t just advertise, solve problems
- Find your allies
- Lead with “cool”
- People are the new media
- Back up the promise with proof
Jones cites the yogurt company Chobani as a remarkable example of leading and marketing with purpose. Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish immigrant who built the yogurt company from the ground up, has said in interviews that he thinks businesses need to focus on the greater good as well as the bottom line.
According to news reports, the business donates 10 percent of profits to charity, and in 2016 Ulukaya announced that employees could become part owners of the multibillion-dollar business.
Ulukaya has spoken often about his passion for using his business to make the world a better place. AAM keynote speaker Bobby Jones featured this quote from the yogurt company’s founder:
“It’s very clear that the sole purpose of business is not just to make money for shareholders, but actually to look after their employees, their communities, and their society.”
If you’re ready to embrace Jones’ concept of marketing with purpose, where do you begin? Jones suggests rather than telling your community and the world where you stand, start with perhaps your most important audience of all: your employees.
About Susan Ross Wells
Susan Ross Wells is the Marketing Manager for Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD, the largest locally owned public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio. With the firm since 2015, her areas of focus include marketing & branding strategy, web development, content creation, media relations and social media management. She is also an advocate for Flag City Honor Flight, the local hub of the Honor Flight Network, which flies veterans to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials built in their honor.