Boston (June 17, 2003) -- Heralding its growing clout and record 400 attendees, the Association for Accounting Marketing’s 14th annual conference kicked off last week with networking discussions, a rousing rendition of “Tax Man” from CPA rock band “The Accounting Crows,” and a motivational speaker who challenged attendees to think more creatively.

In her welcome to attendees, outgoing AAM president Leisa Gill noted that marketing experts at a number of CPA firms graced the cover of Practical Accountant magazine this year, and that the group’s materials and members received a great deal of media attention.

The list of attendees is also impressive, with marketing directors hailing from both small, mid-size and even some larger firms like RSM McGladrey and Grant Thornton.

At a pre-conference roundtable on total marketing, Neil Fauerbach, director of business development and marketing at Madison, Wis.-based Smith & Gesteland, encouraged attendees to share their successes and challenges with peers. One marketer complained that she only learned about a new sale at her firm “when a flyer is dropped on my desk,” while another said such information is easily gleaned at her firm 24/7 by tapping into the time and billing system.

When one marketing director complained that the partners at her firm killed many great marketing ideas she came up with, another advised her to go ahead and do it anyway. “It’s easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission,” he noted.

Motivational speaker Tom Monahan urged attendees to think and act more creatively. In the current information age, knowledge is easy to come by, but new and better ideas are always in demand, he said.

He advocates personal brainstorming sessions that force people to come up with a host of ideas to solve problems or find new ways to do business. “The more ideas you generate, the more original they tend to be,” he said. “Aim for quantity, and quality will emerge,” he added.

-- Tracey Miller-Segarra

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