“This is another example of how we first educate ourselves on the technology,” said Majchrzak. “We have no experience developing an application, so we left that to the experts. Through a sponsorship, our name is tied to the technology while the onus of development and maintenance is with our partner. This allows us time to get comfortable with the platform until we are ready to develop our own.”
Without Proper Planning, You are Sure to Get Lost
There’s a lot to know about building a successful marketing program. And every day it seems like a new technology trend emerges. It can be overwhelming if you don’t have a structured plan in place. Consider just a few pieces of the puzzle: social media platforms, blogs, email campaigns, direct mail, website, radio and print media … and now QR codes and mobile sites.
“We are always evaluating how we can integrate multiple marketing efforts to maximize investment,” explained Majchrzak. “When we plan a campaign, like the Excelsior mobile site, our goal is to engage the community where we know they reside. So depending on the community that we are trying to reach, the platforms used may vary from campaign to campaign. For example, when the mobile Exclesior site launched, we knew that our financial and business audience could also be reached via radio spots, trade events, targeted print pubs, email blasts and inbound marketing, and select social media platforms.”
Planning is a big part of FMB’s marketing success. In fact, Majchrzak explained the firm’s multi-year rollout for social media. In early 2008, the firm launched its LinkedIn profile, in the fall of 2008 a Facebook page, in 2009 Twitter, and in 2010 YouTube.
“Again, it’s about getting comfortable with the platform first and understanding the value. Once that happens, implementation is far more likely to be successful,” Majchrzak reiterated.
FMB applied the same phased approach to rolling out its mobile program. Majchrzak explained the five-step plan:
- Research and Intelligence — Identify where the audience is in the mobile space, and explore the right technologies to reach that audience.
- Set Goals and Objectives — Pinpoint expected outcomes and specific calls-to-action. Goals provide benchmarks by which the success of the campaign can be measured.
- Develop the Written Plan — Record all action items and tactics required to launch the program. This provides a clear roadmap and keeps the campaign on course.
- Platform and Architecture — Research what other platforms are needed to launch the campaign successfully (e.g., Twitter, billboards, etc.) and develop a flow (or path) of information that ensures that viewers are always directed back to the firm’s website or blog.
- Engagement and Measurement — Measure results to keep up with participation in the program. Review response rates, click-thrus, and other response mechanisms to identify areas in need of improvement.
A Final Word
It’s an exciting time in the profession. There are so many channels available to reach prospects and clients and provide them with meaningful information. The firm of Freed Maxick & Battaglia understands this and has steadily progressed into social media, blogging, smartphone apps, mobile sites, and QR codes to effectively reach defined audiences.
The firm’s core philosophy of “plan first, launch later” has proven effective. Through education and testing, firm leaders have been able to leverage new technology to significantly expand presence. Roll out of social media and the firm’s current venture into mobile apps and QR codes have conformed to a phased approached, proving it’s well worth the time and effort up front to ensure a successful launch.
What’s next for FMB is anybody’s guess. But rest assured that whatever the new initiative, it won’t be launched without proper planning.
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Stats at a Glance
- Year founded: 1958
- Total employees: 250 F/T
- Offices: Offices in Buffalo, Batavia and Rochester, N.Y.
- Firm description: Service-minded firm with local, national and international reach
- Accounting applications of choice: CCH’s SaaS suite, and other select solutions such as Copanion’s GruntWorx, Superform STF and Sharepoint