The other day I was having a conversation with an accountant who wanted to join our Pioneering Practice Marketing Training Programme.
During the call, they were telling me how frustrated they were that they had outsourced their blogging and social media marketing but hadn’t seen any results.
I hear this time and time again. Marketing is too important to be outsourced.
One of my favourite quotes from Peter Drucker is
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation.”
It completely sums up business in one sentence. Another one from Peter Drucker is
“Marketing is not only much broader than selling, it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customer’s point of view.”
These two quotes alone have driven my marketing learnings and teachings throughout the 26 years I have been mastering the art.
So where does this leave your accounting practice?
Well, marketing isn’t just tactical (social media, PPC, SEO) it is also about strategies. And the strategy should not be left to someone else. What most firms end up doing is outsourcing tactics of marketing, and the suppliers determine the strategy. More than one supplier means that your marketing isn’t cohesive or consistent. Partners of accounting firms need to step up and bring marketing in house and not abdicate responsibility to marketing suppliers.
Why Do You Outsource Your Marketing?
There are two reasons why so many accounting practices abdicate responsibility for their marketing activities and these two reasons seem perfectly reasonable on face value.
Time and Knowledge.
Time is a precious commodity when you are running a business and marketing your accounting practice can take up a lot of time.
As the primary function of an accounting practice is to carry out accounting activities there is unlikely to be a marketing “expert” in your team.
But Herein Lies The Problem
By paying £800- £2500 (or more) a month on outsourcing your marketing you are not in control of it, you are leaving the long-term success of your business to someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in helping you realise your dreams. This coupled with the fact that they are not “in” your business everyday, living and breathing the same air as your team means that you will be lacking the true secret to successful marketing, which is building lucrative relationships to get and keep a customer.
Successful marketing requires two-way communication, the building of trust and developing customer relationships. This is the single most important thing your firm can do. So why do so many of you feel that this is something that can be outsourced?
I also would like to raise the point that every £800 – £2500 a month you are spending is just that, an outgoing. It is not an investment that grows with your business, it is not an asset you are developing it is a cost. Plain and simple.
The solution is staring all accounting practices in the face. With a budget of £1000 a month you can easily bring your marketing in-house, and have an asset in your business.
Let me propose this to you. There are a lot of people who are looking for full and part time work. Maybe they have worked in corporate before, had children and are looking at going back to work. Maybe they have worked in marketing agencies before and not enjoyed the pressure and environment that many agencies have. Maybe there is someone out there who wants to do something different and is a capable writer and would like to learn a new “trade”.
If you can find a person who would love to learn, and be part of growing something then you are going to have an asset in your team. All that is then left for you to do is to train them on marketing, which is much less expensive than outsourcing, and there are a plethora of training options available to firms to achieve this.
Of course, you can continue to outsource big marketing projects (web design etc), whilst at the same time keeping smaller day to day marketing activities and relationship building in house. This approach is perfect for small/ medium firms. Good CRM software coupled with a Marketing Automation system allows small teams to tackle most marketing tasks such as content creation, email drafting, event planning, campaign design, blogging etc.
Gaining Time & Knowledge
By adding to your team you are adding 8 hours a day to your accounting practice for marketing. Whilst it may take a couple of months for your new team member to get up to scratch with knowledge, the results you get will be faster.
When you outsource your marketing, you are getting a maximum of an hour a day spent on your marketing, if you are lucky. Not only that you will be paying a fortune for the pleasure, and if you are not paying a fortune the chances are the quality will be poor.
Hiring an in-house marketing assistant will save you time, and bring the knowledge in-house. They will be an asset to your firm, rather than a cost.
So, next time you think you have neither time nor knowledge to do marketing in-house, ask yourself whether abdicating responsibility is the right thing. Maybe it’s time to invest in a person, rather than spend money on an action.
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