CPA Growth Trends, Marketing

Articles of Interest: Data Analytics

Our September Articles of Interest include an overview of data analytics and how to use it for customer segmentation and personalization, along with discussing how to use data in your recruiting and retention efforts. Curious how you can use data analytics to develop your performance and KPI metrics? Check out these resources!

Data Analytics Overview

What it is: Let’s start with the basics. This aptly named article, Marketing analytics: What it is and why marketers should care, is a good starting point if you don’t know what you don’t know (or why you should care).

Importance for CPA firms:  CPAs are numbers people. Though much of what will convince them of the value of marketing is whether their clients and referral sources have good things to say, we need to speak their language by providing them with data and trends.

Data Analytics for Customer Segmentation & Personalization

What it is: This McKinsey article says “When asked to define personalization, consumers associated it with positive experiences that made them feel special.” This means we have to do more than get the right name in the “Dear Client” line in a blast email.

Importance for CPA firms: Personalization involves breaking down your client lists into smaller, more specific groups based on criteria like industry (niche!), revenue, services engaged with you, engagement partner, or interaction with your marketing to date. This can then be used to tailor outreach with the goal of increasing client satisfaction and long-term loyalty. If you can’t get from “one size fits all” to “one size fits one” in 2023, aim at least for “many sizes to choose from”.

Predictive Analysis

What it is: Using data about client interactions with your marketing messages to date to predict future needs. Or, as CIO says “What is predictive analytics? Transforming data into future insights

Importance for CPA firms: Predictive analytics can offer insights into potential new business opportunities. For instance, a client who read your article on succession planning in your latest newsletter and clicked through to watch your YouTube video with the Succession SME would likely be open to receiving your “Ten Things to Consider” checklist. If the client also reads that, it’s time to ask the relationship partner about any previous conversations about succession and alert the service line leader of a potential cross-sell opportunity.

Even better would be to use the data in the tax and accounting software to predict needs based on age of the owner, swings in revenue or profitability, geographic expansion, or other data. With these insights, firms can be proactive, offering solutions even before clients recognize the need.

Data Analytics for Recruiting & Retention

What it is: Analyzing data related to hiring, like sources of applicants, performance metrics of new hires, and retention rates.

Importance for CPA firms: No matter the size of your firm, every new hire matters. HR Zone has 14 ways you can use HR Analytics in Recruiting. As marketers we don’t want to wade too deep into these waters, but we can certainly play nicely with HR in the sandbox when it comes to messaging, managing applicants in your CRM, and helping to contribute to a culture people will be attracted to.

Data Analytics for Performance Metrics / KPIs

What it is: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in marketing are specific, quantifiable metrics that marketers use to measure the effectiveness and performance of the latest strategies and activities. KPIs are essentially the analysis of data to provide insight into how well a marketing initiative is achieving its intended goals or objectives. AAM focused on KPIs in the June AAM Minute.

Importance for CPA firms: CPAs are numbers focused.  Being able to show them what their marketing dollars paid for and what the outcomes were will get them to appreciate your hard work and encourage them to invest more!

Data Analytics and GA4

What it is: According to the mothership (Google), GA4 is “an analytics service that enables you to measure traffic and engagement across your websites and apps”. Marketers love website analytics so no articles of interest list would be complete without a couple of resources (here and here) to help you navigate these waters.

Importance to CPA firms: CPA websites used to be brochures. They were focused on the firms’ attributes like its founding year, its people, its services.  Today websites are responsible for a major part of the sales process; getting people from interest to action. Being able to see the paths the site users take and where we’re losing people along the way can help marketers to attract and engage ideal clients (while politely repelling those who aren’t a good fit).

Do you wear a Fitbit or Apple watch during your workouts?  If you’re working toward a goal like a certain time in a 5k race, it can be helpful to look at your heart rate or lap time on your daily runs. It’s also motivating to see the trend data, which is why it can feel irritating if you forget to wear it one day. But, to your body it’s the exercise that mattered, not the data on the watch. The same is true for your marketing efforts. If you’re using data analytics to see what to tweak, abandon, or doubledown on, it can help you move in the right direction faster. But ultimately it’s the work that has the impact, not the reports. If you’re not a data analytics expert yet, pick one area that’s likely to help you improve, and strive to learn more over time.

About Alison Simons

For seven great years, I was the head of marketing for a regional CPA firm where I would joke "if it's not a tax return or an audit, it crosses my desk." I was responsible for branding and online marketing, recruiting and firm culture, M&A vetting and communications, business development and proposals, and more. Even though I had a job, I was getting requests from firms to help with their marketing; which is, supposedly, how you know you're onto something good. In 2013 I became an entrepreneur. In order to serve more clients, I attracted a team of really amazing people who focus on specialty areas within marketing because (get ready for one of her catch phrases) "Marketing is one word that means a lot of things" and it's all too much for any one person to be good at. So, now I'm focused on working directly with clients on strategies to help them reach their goals while overseeing more of the activities. I've presented multiple times a the MassCPAs annual conference, and have been featured on the Marketing Mistakes (and how to avoid them), and Stop the Noise podcasts. I've also served as a judge for LMA.

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