Senior Reporter Jeff Stimpson for Practical Accountant just finished writing the cover story for the June issue on hiring a marketer. The idea for the article came from a belief that many firms were interested, and, in fact, needed to formalize marketing functions within the firm.

I thought it would primarily explain how this could be accomplished. It does that, but as Jeff conducted his interviews, actually many more than he does normally for a cover story, the article went in a very interesting direction.

It was readily apparent that although firms are aware of the need to formally structure the marketing function, many weren't really sure what that means, and also had problems identifying the needed skill set and the background of potential marketers. The struggle often extended to after a marketer was hired, as there was difficulty defining the duties and responsibilities of a marketer. When a marketer was hired, sometimes there seemed to be a disconnect, or should I say, a failure to connect, by some partners and marketers.

It almost seems like many firms have come to the conclusion that a formalized marketing operation is needed with a qualified professional who isn't a CPA, but are having a real struggle when they make the plunge. The result is often dissatisfaction with the results, and a parting of the ways with the marketer hired. It surprises me that this continues.

I know many seasoned marketers at accounting firms that have worked within firms for many years, and the number of marketers at firms are increasing, so why are there still often problems in formalizing the marketing function, when many firms have had such remarkable success in that regard?

I wonder if it's as simple as the dynamics of the personalities and style of marketers and CPAs as well as the individuals' understandings of the role of marketing within the firm. In studying how to introduce formal marketing operations, the tips in Jeff's story should be followed, but those dynamics and different styles also need to be understood and addressed, and, in fact, may turn out to be the key.

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