5 Priorities for New Marketers at Accounting Firms

About six months ago, someone posted an interesting question on a Reddit account. 

The author had just begun as her firm’s first in-house marketer. She asked for advice about where to get started. What should she do first?

It was a great question, forcing us to think about fundamentals. If you have recently joined a firm and particularly if you are a "department of one", i.e. the only marketer in-house, it is important that you demonstrate leadership and show the value of marketing quickly.

Here are the first 5 steps we suggest for anyone in a similar position.

Your firm likely already has a handle on big picture totals like revenue, net income, and sales. It’s the responsibility of marketing to determine which metrics, also known as key performance indicators or KPIs, are important to determine how well your department is doing its job. 

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You may have heard the saying “What gets measured gets done.” Metrics provide a way to measure progress and identify areas for improvement. 

For almost all B2B firms the most important marketing success measure is answering the question, “How many leads were generated, and how many of those converted into sales?” 

If you do nothing else, measure the answer to this one question.

If you want to go further, expand on the answer to this question and measure and report on the following KPIs:

  • Number of leads generated
  • Where those leads came from, i.e. by channel or source
  • Cost per lead (CPL)
  • Conversion rate (how many of those leads turned into sales); usually expressed as a %
  • Cost per sale or cost per customer acquisition (CPA)

These KPIs are the critical ones to measure because they directly relate to sales and the impact of marketing.

Secondary or less important measures include:

  • Size of marketing database - number of individuals with full contact information; report the quantity and how this is growing over time
  • Emails sent, open rates, click-through rates
  • Total number of followers, engagement or views online
  • Search engine rankings
  • Website visitors

These measures are easier to generate but are less meaningful because there isn’t a clear relationship between them and more business. They can still be useful to measure, but the most important thing is to focus on leads and sales. Never forget that.

Priority #2: Report Your Results and What They Mean

Don’t just track your metrics, but be sure to generate reports, visualize your data, identify percentage increases and decreases, return on investment, etc. Try to explain what the data means, e.g. are the trends positive or are they worrisome?

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Then, make recommendations on whether you should hold the course, double down on what’s working, or even consider changing course where necessary. 

Just like any other division of the company, these reports will help justify your budget and the investment in your job.

Yes, as a marketer, you’d better market yourself and what you are doing to add value to the company. You’ll need to sell your actions and make sure to get buy-in.

Priority #3: Get Quick Wins

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Look for some quick wins you can deliver in the first 30 to 90 days. There should be at least one quick win that is external or customer facing right away. Do something small but tangible to begin with, like a quick refresh of the website or updating the social media accounts. Or, you could produce new videos or brochures.

After you have the external win, also look for a quick internal win. If there was never a marketing budget before perhaps you can start by identifying and eliminating wasted spending on ads, software or outside marketing agencies that the company doesn’t need to spend money on now that you’re on board. It is important to look for quick wins, but avoid causing too much disruption right off the bat until you have a better understanding of the company.

This all begins with a quick audit of what marketing has been done in the past, and what the company currently has in place. Take an inventory of all marketing assets, and marketing spending. For the first 90-120 days that you are in the job, keep an informal journal of ideas and thoughts on what needs to be changed or improved. When you are early in your role with the company you will have some of your best observations because you are not vested in what was previously done. 

Find out what’s out of date and no longer needed. Start from where the firm is today and then proceed with a vision for where you want to go. 

Priority #4: Start Putting Together a Marketing Plan

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Looking to the long-term, start to put together a marketing plan framework. The plan doesn’t need to be a formal document, but should at least include a clear framework that you can add to and refine over time.

Such a marketing plan should include the following considerations:

  • Your target audience (put together an ideal customer persona for sharing); if there are multiple audiences, make sure to prioritize them.
  • What is important to your ideal target customer, what factors influence their decisions
  • Lists of target companies and accounts
  • Competitors, where and how they market themselves, how their products or services compare to yours, and how they are priced
  • Industry overview –- key trends in the industry, who the main players are, industry associations or groups
  • Your unique value proposition
  • Your customer-focused messaging framework
  • How you will generate leads, including which platforms, campaigns, and funnels you will use
  • Your budget, including an explanation for the spend and how it relates to your objectives
  • Your calendar for implementation
  • Include milestones throughout your plan. Consider using a 30-60-90-day timeline.

Priority #5: Implement Systems

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Look for ways to implement repeatable systems. Begin to document any activity that needs to be repeated. Make lists of the resources that are needed. Build checklists and standard operating procedures. As you go along, add to these systems and refine them. 

  • Checklists
  • Standard Operating Procedures

Set up funnels, lead generation programs, etc. and report on how they relate to specific metrics like the number of leads generated. 

Set up a calendar of marketing activities that describe what will be worked on and when that activity will be in market. Share this information internally throughout the company so everyone is aware of what marketing is taking place. 

And make sure the boss knows how you are tweaking your systems to optimize the results.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Being the only in-house marketer can be a daunting task. It can be difficult to justify your existence, or show that you are providing a meaningful contribution to the firm. Follow these 5 Priorities and you will be off to a great start and set yourself and your firm up for long-term success.

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Looking For Help?

At Fixyr we believe that "one-size-fits-all" marketing is the enemy, that you need strategy before tactics, and that the best path to success is through a results-focused marketing plan built just for you.

We have recruited and trained over 200 marketing, communications and business development professionals within accounting and financial companies. If you need support on where to get started to set you up for success talk to one of our marketing experts about your specific situation. Contact Fixyr  to get started.