A Great Practices Feature: Staying Cautiously Ahead of Change.
One fantastically forward-thinking firm’s mobile rollout — websites, QR codes and a healthy dose of methodical planning.
Freed Maxick & Battaglia, CPAs - New York
Eric Majchrzak, Director of Marketing, Freed Maxick & Battaglia, PC
Freed Maxick & Battaglia (FMB) didn’t become a Top 100 firm by avoiding change. In fact, the firm can best be described as the most rapid of rapid adopters — just all in good time. This is not meant to confuse anyone, but is testament to FMB’s stance on staying ahead of change by first thoroughly researching and testing new innovations.
“We never jump right in,” explained Eric Majchrzak, director of marketing at Freed Maxick & Battaglia. “When a new technology emerges, we participate first, educate ourselves and get comfortable with the platform before launching in the firm. There is certainly an element of risk being an early adopter. With proper planning, we are willing to take risks.”
Over the past few years, there has been a notable trend in the profession. Too often, firms adopt a new technology or platform, like Twitter or Facebook, simply because everyone else is doing it.
“We don’t operate that way,” Majchrzak stated. “We have to get a feel for it first and know that it will provide value. Otherwise, it’s just adoption for the sake of adoption.”
True to form, FMB invested significant time researching the latest phase of their advanced marketing program — QR codes and mobile websites. Majchrzak and his team studied the new technology in order to determine how it fit into their current marketing plan.
Majchrzak explained, “There are many pieces of the puzzle when it comes to a successful marketing program. You can’t just force fit in a new piece. You have to first understand where it fits in and how it will enhance what you are currently doing.”
QR Codes & Mobile Websites 101
QR codes and mobile websites are a new concept in the profession, and not yet fully understood. There is no doubt that these exceptionally cool initiatives will prove to be valuable to firms, but that can’t happen until firms really “get it.” To help, here are few fast definitions:
QR Codes — In simplest terms, QR (Quick Response) codes are barcodes that are readable using a smartphone barcode reader app. QR codes aren’t a new technology. In fact, UPS (United Parcel Service) has used the technology for years. Codes are found on package labels and allow data to be decoded at high speed. In relation to mobile websites, users can scan QR codes and immediately access the site without having to launch a browser or type a long URL.
Mobile Websites — Mobile sites are exactly what they sound like. They are websites that are built to be viewed on mobile devices like a smartphone or iPad. Sites are formatted to display on a smaller screen, which mitigates scrolling to view contents.
Getting into the Mobile Space
Entering the mobile space was a necessity for FMB. With the proliferation of mobile devices, the firm focused on deepening its presence by delivering relevant, current content to financial and business clients that are typically on the go.
The firm’s first QR code-enabled website was launched within the last few months. The mobile site is dedicated to the New York State Excelsior Jobs Program and offers up-to-date information on program criteria and available tax credits. It’s meaningful, timely information that’s easily accessible. And how it works is easy. Users scan the QR code and are immediately directed to the mobile-friendly site.
“The Excelsior site was our first QR code and mobile website initiative,” stated Majchrzak. “Our goal was to put useful information in the hands of our clients through the mobile channel. It’s another powerful touch point.”
The firm also recently sponsored an iPhone application. Partnering with local print and radio media, FMB was able to align its name with the mobile app without having to actually develop it.