More than 75 percent of accounting firms cited revenue growth as the primary purpose of their marketing efforts, according to a new study of professional services marketing.

The report, from the Houston-based marketing firm Hollinden, found that only 1.25 percent of professional services firms see talent attraction as a primary purpose of marketing.

Revenue growth was significantly more important to accounting firms than their counterparts in other professional services firms in the architecture, engineering and construction space. More than 75 percent of the survey respondents in the accounting industry identified revenue growth as their primary purpose, while only 22.47 percent focused on profitability, client retention and diversification. In the architecture, engineering and construction world, the results were evenly divided between revenue growth and a combination of profitability, client retention and diversification.

"Strategic growth is driven by strategic decisions, not copycat or kneejerk reactions," advised Hollinden principal Christine Hollinden. "A firm’s marketing efforts should be viewed in a similar light. Don’t do something just because your competitors are doing it. Do it because it is the right strategy for your business and will positively impact your bottom line. If you can’t articulate the potential outcome, reconsider the approach."

Much of the marketing time of accounting and finance firms is spent on conferences and events, with strategy coming in as runner up, according to the survey.

Regardless of whether the survey respondents came from accounting, engineering, law, architecture or other types of professional service firms, the top two tactics they cited were referrals and networking.

The accounting profession appears to be lagging behind other types of professional services firms in the area of customer relationship management systems, according to the survey. Only 40 percent of respondents in the accounting industry said they are using CRM technology. Of the firms using CRM software, Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce were the most common for the accounting industry, while Cosential and Deltek dominated the architecture, engineering and construction sector.

For a copy of the report, visit www.hollinden.com.

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