Plan for the Future You Want

CPA Firm Marketing|business development for accountants

A word from the executive director

By: Lauren Clemmer


Fall always makes me think about planning. Probably because it’s the time of year I always spent putting together plans for my former firm. It’s also the time AAM plans for the upcoming year.

The board will be meeting this fall to take stock of where we are as an organization, and where we need to go. We’ll talk about what is working, what isn’t and where we can improve. There will be areas we need your help. Even better, I will have new ideas to share.

Marketing Lessons from an Association for Associations

I just returned from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) conference in Toronto. More than 5,000 attendees represented large (over 150,000 members) to small (35 members) associations. The common thread this year was member engagement, but we also talked about association operations, governance, leadership, marketing and membership. Just like the AAM Summit, attendees share challenges and offer solutions to one another.

This year, I focused a lot of my education on chapters. I have ideas from other associations regarding chapters and how they apply to us. I also learned about redefining member value propositions and experiences. I also learned how we need to better apply design thinking to leadership. Basically, this is getting inside the minds of members to create experiences that resonate. There is value in being curious and not just relying on the data. You have to listen.

I couldn’t help but notice that this is the same mindset we, as marketers and business developers, need to apply in our firms. The client experience is where marketing is going next, just as associations are focusing on the member experience. It’s a different customer, but the need for personalized interaction is the same.

Data Integrity Matters

You probably struggle with the quality of your client data. We all know that garbage in equals garbage out. AAM is no exception – there is a huge gap in the quality of our member data. And you are the key to our fixing it!

You will soon be receiving a request asking you to fill in your profile with demographic information that is important to our association. As we talk to vendors and other organizations, we need to be able to paint the picture of who AAM is and why they should do business with us. We need to able to segment our data to better communicate with you and provide a better member experience.

From time to time, industry pundits try and guesstimate the average tenure of a marketer in a firm. We should be able to provide hard data to demonstrate that accounting marketers are sticking around longer and being entrusted with more responsibility. With clean data, we’ll have a wealth of information to share with the accounting industry to help advance our roles.

Loyalty Predicts Future Success

You do a client satisfaction survey to see what your clients think. Well, we want to know what you think of us. We have engaged Inavero to do our member satisfaction survey this year. The survey will launch mid-September and will be instrumental in helping us to understand where we should invest our time and money in the coming year. It will provide the board with vital information as we go into our planning meeting. Our intention is to make our association the best it can be for you. Please take time to participate.

Educational Opportunities are Plentiful

This fall, AAM will host our first ever BD Bootcamp for business development executives with sales goals. This training is being held in conjunction with The Rainmaker Companies and will take place October 26-27 in Nashville. If you are a business developer in need of skills training to improve your win rate, then this session is for you.

Planning for Winning is Everything is well underway, and we will soon be sharing the agenda with you. Tailored for senior level marketers and business development executives who need a deeper dive than summit provides, sessions will be a mix of presentation and discussion. Topics include innovation, client experience, data analytics, developing next gen growth leaders, cross selling, BD training programs and much more. This conference is targeted to firm leadership, so managing partners, partners and COOs will be there, which is part of what makes this such a special experience. The date and location have changed – it’s December 13-15 at the Venetian in Las Vegas – so be sure it’s included in your budget.

Another AAM on the Road will be announced very soon. It will take place in Chicago, so stay tuned.

Make Your Plans

What are your plans for the coming year? Whether personal or professional, this is a good time to reflect on where you are and where you want to go. AAM is here to help you with educational and networking opportunities so you can be successful in your efforts.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Happy planning!


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About Lauren Clemmer

Lauren Clemmer is the Executive Director for the Association for Accounting Marketing. Prior to becoming the director, Lauren was an active member, participating in the Membership Satisfaction committee and then as co-chair of Virtual Education which includes AAM High Webinars and Virtual Campfires. In her role as executive director, Lauren works with the with the board president, the executive committee and the board of directors to drive AAM’s vision and strategic plan. Her responsibilities include the general administration of all AAM business, managing vendor and partner relationships, enhancing member engagement and loyalty, and serving as the voice of membership. Lauren gives back to her community as a member of the Women’s Board for the Boy and Girls Clubs of Cleveland.

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