Capstone Marketing Blog, Marketing

Great Expectations for Accounting Marketing

I’ve spoken to many CPA firm partners over the years, helping them create and implement marketing plans. On more than one occasion partners have expressed their lack of understanding about the role of a marketing director. These partners represent firms that employ marketing directors or have worked for other firms with marketing directors.

Partner: “I don’t know what value a marketing director brings.”

Me: “What did you expect the marketer to do that they didn’t do?”

Partner: “I don’t know.”

Me: “So, you don’t know what you expected of the marketer and they didn’t do it?”


We can all agree that over the past 15 years marketing professionals have elevated the sophistication and effectiveness of CPA firm marketing programs.  CPA firms’ employing marketing professionals is no longer news.  As the accounting marketing profession continues to evolve here are the Top 10 expectations partners should have for their marketing departments:

1.  Focus and prioritize marketing programs.  This means not saying “Yes” to every project.
2.  Generate ideas for the long-term growth of your firm.
3.  Help identify new business opportunities.
4.  Develop and manage a marketing budget.
5.  Demonstrate return on investment.
6.  Knowledge of the accounting profession and how your firm makes money.
7.  Track marketing statistics: new and lost clients, leads, proposals, cross-selling, and client satisfaction.
8.  Regular reports on the status of your firm’s marketing programs.
9.  Educate your partners and staff about how marketing works.
10.  Know the marketing goals of each partner and how they can help each partner achieve their goals.

Capstone Marketing research reveals that two of the top three challenges of CPA firm marketing professionals are “fighting fires” and “lack of partner support.”  Here are the Top 10 expectations marketers should have for their firm’s partners:

1.  Communicate the strategic vision of your firm.
2.  Be available to provide structure, feedback and guidance.
3.  Knowledge of marketing and how it contributes to your firm’s growth.
4.  At a minimum – don’t be an obstacle to the successful implementation of your firm’s marketing programs.  If you aren’t a marketing supporter stay out of the way!
5.  Help them learn the business of accounting and how your firm makes money.
6.  Listen carefully.  Marketers and partners think differently.  Take the time to evaluate the great ideas marketers bring to the table.
7.  Prioritize your time.  Last-minute proposals and projects won’t result in your best efforts.
8.  Understand that it takes time to show a return on your marketing investment.
9.  Don’t hide behind the “I’m too busy” excuse after you have agreed to implement marketing action items.
10.  Provide sufficient resources to enable your marketers to do their jobs – budget, technology, education, time.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.