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It’s all about implementation

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June 18, 2012

Who buys a cookbook and never makes any of its recipes? The same person who goes to a conference and loads up on great ideas and never implements them.

As I sat through many great sessions at the 2012 AICPA PCPS TECH AAM Conference, I got excited about the potential that could come from implementing all the terrific marketing ideas, strategies and tactics being presented. I also think to myself that while these really are good ideas, I cannot possibly envision a situation where I would have the time, resources, or ability to implement more than just a few initiatives successfully. 

It reminds me of all the great cookbooks I have—from Bouchon, Nordstrom Flavors, Balthazar to even The Mafia Cookbook. Some I have bought and then never made a single recipe. What a waste! Not to mention, a storage problem in my Chicago townhome. I see the parallel with getting excited about a conference, attending, and then coming back home and doing absolutely nothing with all the great information you’ve just learned.

When it comes to embarking on a new marketing strategy, idea or tactic, the implementation is where all the magic happens. But for partners, managers and firms new to marketing, it can be hard to grasp the scope of commitment required to be successful in implementing a new marketing program.

So, here are three ways you can increase your chances of successful implementation:

1)      If you want to dig in and do it yourself, here are a few tips:

    a.    Create a marketing team or committee around the initiative, share the workload, and meet frequently to discuss progress and obstacles to success.
    b.    Align the initiative actions with something that you do every day, such as your timesheet. Make it so that you cannot submit your time until you do something to move the initiative forward.
    c.    Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start small and get some successes under your belt before you add another initiative to your list.

      2)      If you think you need more direction, insight and perspective before you get started:

        a.    Read up on the topic, contact firms that have been successful at the task, and seek advice from your association/network member firms.
        b.    Have an open mind when considering external assistance – sometimes you may think you need a banana when an apple is really what will solve your problem.
        c.    Consider someone with industry experience – someone who can speak your “language” and understand the dynamics of a CPA firm can be the difference between success and failure.

          3)      If you think you are ready to add a part-time or full-time marketing person to help you with implementation:

            a.    Start by identifying what you want/need done. Create goals and objectives for the role. Set this person up for success by clearly defining the position, responsibilities and goals.
            b.    Hire someone with experience in professional services marketing. There are many nuances to our industry and someone with that background can help you hit the ground running.
            c.    Consider the assistance of a professional recruiter to help you find the right person or help you with the interview process. The questions you need to ask a potential marketing person at your firm are not the same as the ones you ask a potential staff accountant.

              Coming home from a conference loaded up with great ideas is one thing. Finding a way to successfully implement them is another. Before you get too excited and dig in, take a moment and step back to ensure you can and will be successful with implementation long-term. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a recipe to make.

              Art Kuesel, director of practice growth and marketing consulting services for Koltin Consulting Group, helps CPA firms across the country hone and maximize their growth plans, build effective marketing and sales efforts, coach partners and managers to greater success and add revenue to the top line. Koltin Consulting serves CPA, law and financial advisory firms with strategic growth, M&A services, executive recruiting and management consulting services. Art can be reached at 312-662-6010 or akuesel@koltin.com.

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