Increasing Role of Marketing In Your Firm's Success
interview with Scott H. Cytron, owner of Cytron and Company. Scott delivers
communications and public relations services to professional services
organizations throughout the US.
Do you think marketing has gained importance in the profession? Why or why
I think marketing has gained importance in the profession in a variety of
ways, but still has a very long way to go. Most firms ó even those with
less than five professionals ó claim they understand the importance of
marketing and the need to continually promote a firmís capabilities, but
often do so only by sending a press release that has little or no news value
to their local newspaper or business publication. Instead, marketing should
be entrenched in a companyís or firmís culture and in every activity
performed by a firm, just as client service, technology and other aspects of
operating a successful firm.
What do you think is the single biggest misconception CPAs have about
Most CPAs and accounting professionals believe marketing is a one-time or
single approach to selling a product, service or building upon an image, and
do not understand that marketing should be an ongoing, continuous investment
in resources. Most CPAs also do not realize that marketing includes public
relations as a component, and do not adequately plan their marketing efforts
to include the three other components: a focus on the product or service
itself, how to price the product or service, and the current and potential
What do you consider to be the most crucial elements of a CPA marketing
I think there are several crucial elements. First, the objectives or goals
of the marketing plan should be tied directly to the mission for the firm.
If they are not directly related, then the activities in the plan have no
weight or bearing on helping to make the firm successful in the long term.
Second, most firms skip the measurement or evaluation phase because it may
seem too laborious or just plain difficult. There are a number of ways to
evaluate the success of your marketing efforts, yet few firms actually take
the time to do so. If you donít evaluate how and what youíre doing, how
can you ever hope to improve in the future?
What steps do you think CPA firms with limited marketing resources should
take to implement a marketing plan?
Marketing does not have to be costly to be effective. I would start by
finding no-cost or low-cost methods that would not be too time intensive or
difficult to implement, such as updating a Web site, securing speaking
engagements and even meeting with local media. It definitely helps to have a
budget in place, and that budget should focus on targeting a firmís key
customer base. A typical budget would allot 60 percent of expenditures to
customers, 30 percent to prospects and 10 percent to everyone else.
If a CPA firm can only implement one or two market-focused strategies, what
would they be?
Concentrate and capitalize on finding the one, key differential that sets
your firm apart from the competition. This is the strategic business
advantage you have in the marketplace, and is the arena you want to focus on
to garner the most productive short-term and long-range results. Build your
initial strategies around this key advantage and concentrate on marketing
efforts related to how you rise "head and shoulders" above
everyone else. It will work!
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