The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) and Hinge Research Institute have again released their research study examining marketing spending for accounting firms, the two announced on Monday.

The second "Marketing Budget Benchmark Study" compared marketing spending against organic growth in 67 firms. Researchers focused on contrasting the marketing strategies of High-Growth firms (the fastest growing 20% among the sample) and Low-Growth firms (the slowest growing 20%). 

"Drawing on the success of our inaugural Marketing Budget Benchmark Study in 2014, AAM again partnered with Hinge researchers to learn more about how our industry's fastest growing firms are marketing themselves," stated AAM President Kerry Sullivan-Lechner. "In a competitive industry, we learned what marketing strategies are really contributing to growth-and what aren't."  

"The most striking difference came not in the size of the marketing budget, but in how differently the budgets were allocated," said Lee Frederiksen, managing partner at Hinge, in a statement. "High-Growth firms were much more likely to prioritize online and content marketing, and to call on outside and external resources.  They were less likely to focus on traditional areas like advertising and sponsorships." 

"The contrast between these high and low growth firms is really where the study's value shines," Frederiksen continued. "Accounting marketers can learn from their peers and look at their own budgets with new perspectives-is scarce budget space going to strategies that aren't returning on that investment? This research could give marketers the confidence to steer their budgets in new and innovative directions." 

The results represent an analysis of participants' marketing budget compositions and budgeting processes, as well as perspectives from respondents on changing marketing spending priorities. The data is further contextualized by comparisons of firms' marketing spending according to growth rate, size, and market reach. Various other indexes, such as the ratio of marketing staff to overall employees, were also calculated. A special worksheet is also included to help readers compare their own firms against these industry benchmarks. 

"Although our participating firms were tremendously diverse in their size and scope, this unique methodology creates research that's comparable, relatable, and extremely valuable for any firm in the industry," continued Sullivan-Lechner. "We encourage AAM's members and all accounting marketers to take advantage of this critically important resource." 

The full report offers full spending data for high and low growth firms, spending by firm size, spending by market size, and a detailed budget breakdown.  It can be purchased from AAM at a member rate of $300 and a non-member rate of $600.  

The report is available for download at AAM's site here. A more detailed summary including the benchmarking worksheet is open to AAM members. Companies interested in participating in future benchmarking studies may contact info@hingemarketing.com. (All participants receive complementary access to the full report.)