The average accounting firm is spending less on its marketing than it should, according to a recent survey.

According to the recently released Professional Services Marketing Report, four fifths of firms invest 5 percent or less of their gross revenue in marketing, with 63.5 percent spending between 2 and 5 percent, and 17.5 percent spending less than that.

The survey, by marketing consulting firm Hollinden, reached out to over 400 principals, partners, managers, staff, marketing and business development professionals at professional services firms, including accounting, architecture, engineering and commercial construction practices. Accounting firms made up 71 percent of respondents, and tend to invest somewhat less in marketing than their peers at A/E/C firms. Just over 27 percent of the latter spend the recommended 6-10 percent of revenues, versus just 14 percent of accountants.

“They should be building a legacy, but that means that they have go to build their marketing not only for today – they themselves may have a great practice, but what about the Gen Xers and Gen Yers that are working for their firm?” asked Hollinden principal and founder Christine Hollinden, CPSM. “Do they have those relationships? They’ve also got to be looking at their client base, because chances are the majority of their client base are Baby Boomers. That’s not who’s going to be the client of their firm five years from now, 10 years from now.  So the big thing that this shows is the importance of marketing for the future of their firm. If they want to build a legacy, they need to be thinking about this now.”

The survey also covers the consistency (or lack thereof) of marketing efforts, the amount of time spent on them, the success of various strategies, and more. Copies can be downloaded from the Hollinden Web site.