AAM Minute Hot Topic: Summit Takeaways

AAM Summit Takeaways|

At the beginning of May, 300+ accounting marketers gathered in Louisville for three jam-packed days of learning, networking, and—let’s be honest—group therapy! Here are some of the attendees’ best takeaways.

Janet Berry-Johnson, Freelance Content Writer at JBJ Media

  • I learned a lot from Apoorv Dwivedi’s session on taking an AI-based approach to optimize content. I’m definitely going to increase the number of internal and external links I include in my clients’ content.
  • During the Roundtable session, Jennifer Cantero gave me a great idea for a value-add that will take me just a few minutes to do but provide a lot of value for my clients.
  • I loved Stacy Dreher’s tip to add a “how did you hear about us” to my website’s contact form so I can start tracking where clients are finding me.

Brian Falony, Consultant at Inovautus

  • My key takeaway was David Allison’s Three Telltale Questions. They make me think differently about buyer personas.
  • I also thought the Leadership strategy session with Carrie Steffen and Bruce Ditman was outstanding. Great career advice for people starting in the profession.

Christina Camara, Managing Editor at Inside Public Accounting

  • Stop spending time on ‘have-tos’ that don’t yield big results. Apoorv Dwivedi made this point by noting that accounting tweets don’t generate much engagement, so automate it.
  • Deborah Williams-Walshe (BDO) also noted that ‘good’ can be good enough when it comes to partner requests for brochures or one-pagers.

Chris O’Day, Director of Marketing at LGA

  • I need to work on aligning BD and marketing so that there are no separate silos.
  • I learned a few new tools from the Data Analytics session. DOMO, which is similar to Power BI, and Bombora, which lets you see who is searching for accounting services and where they are searching.
  • The idea of combining marketing and BD to GROWTH and the fact that lots of firms aren’t taking on 1040 clients or clients who only need one service.

JoLayna Arndt, Marketing Director at JLK Rosenberger

  • Get digital goals in alignment with top leadership’s goals. I’ve been stuck in promotion and not as strategic.
  • Get out of the weeds.
  • CRM – Don’t bring tech in just to have tech. Put yourself in the shoes of your partners and know that implementing a CRM is not simple. Be humble.

Logan Luongo, Marketing Associate at Tonneson + Co. (First-timer)

  • I learned I can network OK!
  • From the Rookie Marketer’s session, I learned that I need a written marketing plan.

Susan Ross Wells, Marketing Manager at Gilmore Jasion Mahler

  • Are we just selling or does this mean something? I loved the concept of marketing with purpose from Bobby Jones’ keynote.
  • I learned that I am a unicorn! Being at Summit with people who speak your language and are living a similar life was refreshing. It’s so nice to be in the same space as similar-minded people, and as a “veteran” in my career phase, it was great to meet younger people.

Denise Asker, Director of Marketing and Practice Growth at Clayton & McKervey

  • There were so many connections and so much energy! But at the end of the day, we need to sell this to our partner group, so it was great to talk to peers about overcoming different challenges.
  • My favorite session was Crucial Conversations. It was very helpful to frame what it is that we do.

Jenna Ward, Marketing Manager at Mengel, Metzger Barr & Co.

  • It was nice to be in person with similar people! I loved seeing familiar faces and making connections with people who do the same thing.
  • I was looking for DEI content, so I got a lot out of the DEI content block.
  • The roundtable was also helpful for DEI as well as being able to discuss leveraging my role at my firm and how to push my way up the ladder and build a new path.

Dana Bottorff, Principal at Anadon Marketing

  • This Summit, more than any other, was terrific at tying themes together. I loved how the overall theme was tied together in various sessions.
  • The Valuegraphics session taught me about going deeper and finding out what really matters to your clients.

Caitlin Tiemeyer, Marketing and Growth Specialist at TDT CPAs and Advisors

  • I loved Stacy from James Moore’s story about insourcing and outsourcing in the Digital Marketing Content block as well as how the other digital aspects like SEO and Google Ads tie everything together.

Kayla Juba, Marketing Coordinator at Brown Schultz Sheridan & Fritz (First-timer)

  • I left with life-long friends I had just met two days before! Being in a room with 300+ people who understand accounting marketing was wonderful.

Eric Whittington, Director of Marketing at Sol Schwartz & Associates (First-timer)

  • From the CRM session, I learned that I’m not the only one who feels really challenged by what a big undertaking that could be! We don’t have a CRM, so it was nice to hear that if you are just now embarking on this journey, you don’t have to take it all on at once.
  • There are some specific, very practical things you can do right now for SEO, content, and social media that I picked up from Apoorv’s session on content. I’ve already started to implement some of them.
  • In the buyer persona session, my takeaway was to break down personas to a much more granular level. It’s important to involve your BD professionals in creating the personas and try to talk to clients first-hand.

Rachael McGrew, Business Development Director at Landmark CPAs

  • This year, for me, was more about validation. In the past, I’ve left Summit overwhelmed with a million ideas. This time, 5+ years into my accounting marketing career, I left more confident that I’m doing what I need to be doing.
  • It was so nice to meet other AAM’ers I’ve been working with virtually throughout the pandemic! Since my last Summit (pre-pandemic), I’ve gone from joining a committee to now leading it as well as an AAM Circle, so it was so good to finally meet other AAM’ers in person.
  • One of the most visceral memories I left with was the demonstration during the strategic planning session where a participant was asked to count backwards out loud from 1,000 while two other people gave him instructions – it was hysterical how much of an accurate depiction this is of our jobs. He only got to 992.

What are YOUR Takeaways?

I’d love to hear what you took away from Summit! Join our conversation in the Open Forum to keep the discussion going.

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About Rachael McGrew

Rachael McGrew is the Business Development Director for Landmark CPAs, one of Arkansas’ largest accounting firms. In her role, she wears many hats, including overseeing the firm’s marketing and business development strategy, managing internal and external communications, maintaining the firm’s social media and web presence, planning and executing firm events and community outreach programs, assisting with M&A, coordinating recruiting campaigns, and serving on industry association committees. Within AAM, Rachael leads an AAM Circle focused on HubSpot. She is a graduate of the Leadership Fort Smith program and a 40 Under 40 honoree by both the Arkansas Business Journal and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. She is also a member of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Arkansas’ Western Council. Rachael holds a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing with a minor in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Arkansas and a Technical Certificate in Graphic Design from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith. She is married to an outgoing entrepreneur she’s known since junior high, and they have a witty teenager they follow around to volleyball practice and tournaments.

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