[IMGCAP(2)]It’s that time of the year again. We have tweeted, connected, pinned, blogged and vlogged our way through 2012 – and now it’s time to look at what’s on accounting marketers’ bucket lists for 2013! I asked my peers about their top accounting marketing priorities for the coming year and discovered some clear and exciting trends for 2013.
- Developing more and better content, especially video:
Content marketing is reigning supreme in the accounting industry and across the spectrum of professional services. Let’s first start with a clear definition:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. (Content Marketing Institute)
Why are accounting marketers loving content marketing? According to the firm D Custom, content marketing enables firms “to communicate with their customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing.” Content Marketing Institute claims that “nine out of 10 marketers are using content marketing.” While there are many forms of content, videos are of particular interest to many accounting firm marketers in 2013.
Krysta Lyon, marketing director at Fuoco Group, plans on creating video blogs for the firm’s clients about services and updates. Rea & Associates’s director of practice growth and marketing Katie Tolin explained, “I’m hoping to incorporate video into our thought leadership and am exploring options and pricing to do so.”
Michael Bowlan, senior professional services marketing and business development specialist with Brown Smith Wallace, shared, “We are going to do more videos, including serious videos for different stages of engagement.” What topics will Brown Smith Wallace focus on? “Healthcare reform, tax reform, repeat ’n rinse, repeat ’n rinse to the max! There’s a lot for organizations to absorb and already we’re seeing dramatic effects of the ‘new normal.”
- Improving engagement
With Content Marketing gaining traction in accounting marketing, social media is reported to be the most popular tactic for B2B marketers, with an adoption rate of 87 percent. This is a significant increase from the 74 percent rate reported in 2012. What is the most popular social media channel in B2B right now? It’s LinkedIn, leaving last year’s leader, Twitter, in the dust. This graphic from Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs’ 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks – North America report shows the full breakdown of how B2B marketers have adopted various social tools:
In my experience, getting buy-in on social media among accounting firm partners can be challenging. I have found, however, that light bulbs start to go off once I explain the “ins and outs” of inbound marketing and how social media fits with content marketing and search engine optimization to drive client and prospect engagement and lead generation. Putting social media in context is critical to gaining acceptance among the tweet-resistant CPA crowd.
Cheryl Bascomb, Director of Marketing and Business Development at BerryDunn, expressed her excitement about getting social media acceptance within her firm. “We’re working on increasing people’s understanding of how digital media (social media, website and video channels) can remarkably enhance their opportunities for both visibility and connection. I knew I was making progress with the head of our New Hampshire office forwarded a link that he thought would be good to retweet!”
- Client preferences and satisfaction
Although the newer forms of marketing (such as videos and social media) will be hot in 2013, there is one marketing staple in the mix: client satisfaction surveys. There’s nothing more important than understanding your ideal clients’ preferences and ensuring that your firm prioritizes these key benefits. Lyons, Tolin, and Bowlan all plan on making client surveys a priority in 2013. Said Bowlan: “We need to make sure we continue to deliver what clients need, not what we think they need!”
Debra Andrews is owner and president of Marketri.