Rick Telberg

Five Tech-Savvy Marketing Ideas for 2009

What’s your big marketing idea for 2009? E-mail Rick Telberg.

January 12, 2009
by Rick Telberg/At Large

Competitive CPA firms are increasingly turning to new strategies and technologies to attract and retain clients.

Five of the hottest new marketing strategies are illustrated in the current issue of MarkeTrends, the newsletter of the Association for Accounting Marketing:

  1. E-mail newsletters
  2. Social networks
  3. Podcasting
  4. Webinars and Web meetings
  5. YouTube videos

I’m sure these strategies will be hot-button issues at this week’s Accounting Firm Marketing Forum at the AICPA offices in New York this week. Meanwhile, let’s take a closer look at how a few of the nation’s leading firms are going to market this year.

Porter Keadle Moore in Atlanta is encouraging its professionals to develop connections on LinkedIn, the business-networking tool. “Our marketing department then proactively searches those connections for companies on our radar screen or in our industry niches in an effort to reach out to prospective clients,” according to PKM marketing director Laura Snyder, quoted in the MarkeTrends article. “Having a profile on LinkedIn is one thing, but taking those relationships and connections to the next level is helping us more effectively grow our business.”

At Somerset CPAs in Indianapolis, senior marketing manager Melissa Farmer reports the firm is saving $30,000 a year in printing and mailing costs by switching to an e-mail newsletter. “With the printed/mailed newsletters,” she said, “we had no idea if anyone was actually reading it or not.” With the tracking reports, the firm now knows that 25 percent of recipients read it and which articles each recipient reads.

In addition to e-newsletters, Stambaugh Ness in York, Pa., is working on a raft of tech-savvy marketing programs, including:

  • Podcasts,
  • Listings on FaceBook, MySpace and LinkedIn,
  • A firmwide intranet with blogs by the president and CFO,
  • Firm-made videos for staff training,
  • Dual LCD displays in the lobby featuring the firm’s messaging, and
  • Webinars to connect with far-away clients.

In Buffalo, N.Y., Bonadio Group has been podcasting monthly since 2007 as part of its thought-leadership strategy and the firm currently has about 50 available on its Web site. Marketing manager Laura Del Monte reports the firm spent $10,000 for the equipment and software. A podcast takes 10 minutes to record and 30 minutes to 60 minutes to edit and finish, she says.

Citrin Cooperman in New York City is leveraging its annual law-firm networking event with a YouTube video. The firm’s “Above the Bar” event brings out 150 local law firms for an awards program co-sponsored by a law school, the bar association, a business journal and a bank. After the event, according to marketing manager Shannon Mayforth, “an e-mail was sent to select attendees with a link to the video and a message congratulating the winners. Using YouTube allowed us to reach out to our contacts in a new, fun and dynamic way — plus, they had fun seeing themselves on YouTube!”

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN: What’s your big marketing idea for 2009? E-mail Rick Telberg.

Copyright © 2009 CPA Trendlines/BSG LLC. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. First published by the AICPA.

About Rick Telberg

Rick Telberg is editor at large/director of online content.

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Disclaimer: Any views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the AICPA or CPA2Biz. Official AICPA positions are determined through certain specific committee procedures, due process and deliberation.