“It's not a generational thing, it's an attitude thing,” says The Profitable Firm’s Karen Reyburn. “You can be 70 years old and totally get this and you can be 23 years and not get it at all.”
As the accounting landscape changes, Reyburn has seen practitioners adopt the marketing mindset of a young, hungry entrepreneur-type business owner, regardless of age or situation.
But still, many treat marketing as an afterthought, especially by those who want to sustain their 'easy' business model. To these, Reyburn warns that the accounting world has changed to the point that here's a much higher level of competition. So, the accountants who hold this status quo attitude will struggle: “Accountants got a bit lazy in the past because they could be,” said Reyburn. “In the past, they got everything word of mouth and referral and there was nothing that they needed to worry about.”
If you're not doing any marketing, you've got a long ways to go before you even get on to the playing field
These days, Reyburn has found more accountants coming to her after realising that their old methods aren’t working in the same way. She explained: “People are coming to me after a good solid lead has gone to somebody else and the only difference I can tell is that somebody else has a better website, has live chat, has more instant access, and uses different kinds of cloud accounting.”
She continued: “If you're not doing any marketing, you've got a long ways to go before you even get on to the playing field.”
A successful marketing mindset
Those who are finding success with marketing tend to subscribe to the attitude of the more they put into it, the more they get out of it. The firms embracing this mindset are the ones who are exploring things like branding and design, hiring a graphic designer and having someone to help you with tech, using a CRM system, or questioning whether Facebook ads are better than Twitter ads for your business, explained Reyburn.
Of course, there will be accountants who still find success from relying on word of mouth or working with people who use pen and paper, but Reyburn has found a change in attitude.
[Businesses are] starting to wake up to the fact that it’s not only possible but desirable to work with a very cool accountant
And the reason why: because the type of businesses that accountants want to work with are changing. “The most modern businesses - the high growth ones and tech ones - they're looking for an accountant like themselves, and they're starting to wake up to the fact that it’s not only possible but desirable to work with a very cool accountant or somebody like themselves,” explained Reyburn.
The firms who are picking up on this new mindset - the ones who target marketing to their ideal clients - are the ones who are getting more business than they know what to do with it.
Reyburn concluded: “This is a chance to reset your thinking and make sure your feet are squarely on the right path so everything you do will help you drive forward. If you don't have that mindset, you can play around with SEO, do social media, you can sign up to this or that and then realise that's not working, and you're just going to get more frustrated.”
If you’re interested from what Reyburn had to say, be sure to register to attend her Practice Excellence Live webinar on 25 October. She will explore how you can cultivate the habits of a marketing professional to equip you with the ability to make positive marketing decisions. It’s one not to be missed!
Does marketing get overlooked in your practice? Is it something you put off until you've done the 'real work'?