Sometimes you just need advice from someone who has been there before. At the Association for Accounting Marketing Summit in Washington, D.C., those needing a primer heard from a team of experts what they should know when entering the field of accounting marketing.

Sarah Johnson and Art Kuesel, both directors of consulting services at PDI Global Inc., in Chicago, offered attendees some hard-hitting advice about what to do and what not to do.

“Finding your champion is really important,” Johnson said. “Marketing is about finding what works. Sometimes we will fail miserably. Unless you have a champion that really gets that and understands that, it’s going to be really stressful. A lot of times it should be the person who hires you, but sometimes that’s not the case.”

Johnson also told audience members that it is important to not just try to sell your idea to partners, but build relationships with other professional staff members within the firm because ultimately it will make accomplishing projects much easier.

“Set annual goals to be measured against,” Kuesel said. “One of the first things I really like to do is sit down with my boss and say this is what I want to accomplish this year, this is what I think is reasonable, and here’s how much it’s going to cost. I get the personal success of checking things off the list, and it earns trust and commitment to future marketing initiatives. You have to demonstrate the value you bring to the organization by setting and attaining goals.”

Kuesel also said knowing who the firm’s “A” clients are can help facilitate a connection with partners and help build a deeper relationship.

“Meet with upper management and share with them what you are doing,” Johnson said. “Educate them about your successes and initiatives, and how you are going to help them achieve goals. Use it as an opportunity to bring ideas to the table. Don’t just report on what you’ve done, but bring ideas to the table.”

Johnson also talked about the importance of marketers knowing the language spoken by CPAs and partners. “Know it and understand it,” she said. “They will respect you a lot more. It levels the playing field and breaks down walls.”

“Know what’s going on in the industry,” she added. “It’s not enough to just know the terminology; know the legislation, know the impact. I think that’s where we as a profession have not progressed nearly enough. If you don’t know what is going on in the industry and how it’s going to impact the client base, you may lose an opportunity.”

Audience members asked about whether it was wise to spend all of a marketing budget, noting that if they didn’t, the same funds might not be available the following year.

“I think you are at risk at losing some of that budget, Kuesel said. “But it can also be seen as a very respectful move [if you don’t]. I think that it’s very possible that the partners could see through burn-off-the-money-quick initiatives.”

And whatever you do, Kuesel warned, don’t say the word “whatever” out loud when it comes to an idea or initiative not being addressed, or you are not getting the response you want. Instead say, for example, “Here’s what I am using by next Friday if we don’t hear from you.”

Johnson also reminded those marketers in the audience to have fun with their jobs and to celebrate their successes. “This is more important than anything,” she said.

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