Do your homework and show ROI. Again, accountants love numbers, so the more ROI you can show, the better off you’ll be. Remember, however, that ROI isn’t always about the numbers, especially if you have adequate research or feedback. For example, you don’t know whether your social media efforts brought in any new business unless a new client tells you it did or you ask the question. Yet, did social media make the firm more visible? You’ll want to benchmark a survey before and after with your clients, prospects and friends of the firm in order to know the answer to this … or you can go on qualitative feedback. Still, the bottom line is to be prepared.
Develop Several Shoestring Programs. Your management will appreciate it when you create a few shoestring marketing and PR programs that do not cost very much money other than staff time. This shows you really considered the economy and the marketplace in your thinking. Be careful, though, not to dwell too much on shoestring low- or no-cost items. You don’t want to get a reputation for spending little to no money because it will be very hard to ask for money when you really do want it.
Get creative. I always encourage my clients to get creative when it comes to developing their marketing and PR budgets. You don’t want to sacrifice reality for creativity, but the more unique programs and activities you devise, the more likely you’ll stand apart from the competition.
Find the one whopper and take a risk. There’s probably a few “amazing” items you want to tackle, but they may also be very risky. Here’s where an accountant can really climb out of his or her comfortable space. Explain why you want to fund the activity and be honest with your assumption that this is risky. How will you know if it works unless you try it? Ask the question. You may have to give up a sacred cow here and there, but the long-term benefits may be worth it.
4. DON’T BACK DOWN & STAY IN THE GAME
Although we’re still in a tough economy, now is not the time for firms and organizations to reduce their marketing budgets. Experts contend that it’s far more beneficial to market your company in a recession because many other firms take a back seat and don’t want to spend the money.
I hope these tips were helpful. I’d also be very interested to hear your thoughts on how you handle budgets within your firm or company. You are welcome to comment on this article, or send an email to my attention at email@example.com, and I’ll run your responses in an upcoming blog entry on CPATechViews.com.
For more than 23 years, Scott H. Cytron, ABC, has worked with CPAs and accountants, providing public relations, marketing and communications services, and teaches firms how to use social media more effectively. Author of The CPA Technology Advisor’s “MarketingWorks” column, he tweets, and is on Facebook and LinkedIn. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.