What Does the Evolving Role of the CPA Marketer Look Like?
Today’s CPA marketing roles are expanding beyond traditional responsibilities with a shared focus on growth and revenue. We asked three accounting marketing professionals and members of AAM how they see their roles changing over the next few years and how they have advocated for their positions.
1. How has the CPA marketing role changed over the last 1-3 years?
While it may seem like a lifetime ago, none of us will forget the COVID-19 pandemic, which took hold in 2020. It had a massive impact on both people and businesses. Namely, it dramatically changed the way companies not only operated but also in how they connected with their customers.
Bian Falony, retired Marketing & Business Development Director, remembers all too well the pivot from in-person events to remote, as well as having to re-think what the client experience should be. “I think these changes would have occurred without COVID, but it would have taken longer. “
Over the last three years, marketers have been forced to take giant leaps forward to adapt to the world and consumer needs, shifting plans and testing out new waters. Although it challenged most in the beginning, it helped many marketing teams discover new audiences and recognize efficiencies that may not have otherwise been realized.
2. How do CPA marketers see their role changing in the next 1-3 years?
While we can hope that the next three years present fewer obstacles for marketing departments than the last three, there are still some anticipated changes on the horizon, according to our sources. One aspect that Amber Shulman, Senior Marketing Manager at Barnes Wendling CPAs, finds invaluable is having a marketing committee in place at her firm. “It establishes the firm’s commitment to the function and creates the ‘buy-in’ necessary from the professional staff to be able to implement initiatives. As I’m getting to know my colleagues better, I am able to gain their trust to be invited to the table on discussions related to strategy, recruitment and retention, new business development, and client service activities.”
Additionally, Amy Delaney, Director of Marketing & Business Development at Kernutt Stokes, hopes to focus more on data-driven marketing, brand strategy, and discovering fresh tactics and technologies to help her firm grow. The Martech landscape is vast and continuing to evolve. In parallel, so are analytics, with more accessibility to data and visualization tools.
Brian mentions, “Marketing in CPA firms has been a tactical function supporting the efforts of partners and senior staff to develop business and grow the firm. In the past, strategy has often been influenced by the individual desires of partners rather than by market needs. Going forward, marketing will need to take the lead on strategy, using objective data to focus efforts on their true target audience.”
He also believes that “marketing should take a larger role in defining and monitoring the client experience.” He says, “Having a local presence may not be necessary to serve clients.” With our evolving technology, firms of the future may “need to consider offering their services nationally or even globally. However, this changing role will require a different set of skills.”
Lastly, Brian explains, “Another big change to the role of marketing will be its involvement in recruiting. With the growing competition for talent, firms will need to look at prospective employees as another area requiring strategic engagement. Marketing will have to determine what this segment is looking for and help the firm figure out how to deliver on that.”
3. How are CPA marketers advocating for their role?
It is clear that marketers are a critical piece in the business’s overall strategy and deserve a seat at the table. Their role is evolving into a leadership position across the organization. Whenever possible, in casual conversations or meetings, Amber stresses the importance of mentioning how, specifically, marketing can help with different projects or tasks. It helps those outside the department recognize and understand the work a marketing team is involved with.
Brian emphasizes the importance of connecting with co-workers and promoting yourself. “Marketers need to develop strong and open relationships with their managing partners and/or executive committee.” It’s critical to understand the vision for the firm 1-5 years from now and how your marketing department fits in with that plan.
He also emphasizes “providing specific and measurable results from the programs you have implemented to help build the case for your strategy around quantifiable data.” It’s not enough to create great content. Marketers must have the ability to track metrics, analyze data, and report results. “Marketing teams should also be confident to push back when the data does not support the direction the partners want to go but be able to offer alternatives.”
In conclusion, customers are demanding more of brands. As a result, CPA marketers must do more than just push out new content. Marketers of the future will use their traditional skills along with new ones to build stronger client relationships and provide better customer experiences. Learn more about related topics by visiting our blog.
About Brooke Sorensen
Brooke Sorensen is the Digital Marketing Specialist at Lutz in Omaha, NE.
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