This isn’t an either/or decision – it’s a matter of balance!
Balancing the marketing mix between traditional and digital for CPA, consulting or other professional service firms starts with defining the objectives you have for your marketing spend, and at the 1,000 foot level, those objectives are somewhat limited: Build the brand and/or generate leads.
Truth be told, this shouldn’t be an either/or decision... professional service firms need to have both objectives in their marketing mix.
Because marketing resources are generally limited in professional service firms, the hard part is deciding how to allocate time, commitment and budget among competing priorities of brand development versus lead generation. If your pain is low awareness, then overbalance to building the brand; if it’s the need to grow the top line, then the scale must tip to lead generation.
What’s involved in balancing traditional versus digital strategies in a CPA or professional service firm marketing mix?
Another balancing act you’ll need to address is whether to put more (or less) budget and resources into traditional marketing strategies or into digital marketing strategies.
The comfort level for most firms is going to be in the traditional arena. Like a pair of old shoes, it’s easy to slip into doing things the old fashioned, traditional way and it works. Yep... I said it! Traditional marketing has a strong and viable place in both brand building and lead generation for accounting and other professional service firms, and this will never, ever change.
That being said, it’s probably time to put some of the traditional brand building or lead generation tactics you’ve been using out to pasture, especially tactics like cold calling and direct response email. Here’s why: Just as you don’t want to be interrupted with marketing, neither do your prospects.
Here’s a couple of tough questions I ask managing partners before they become a client: (1) Exactly how good, prepared or skillful are your younger partners and professionals when it comes to 1:1 marketing?; and (2) As the firm torch passes on, do you have a feeling of comfort that your firm’s successors can carry the ball the way you and other senior partners did?
If you just got a touch of heartburn, then it’s time to put more resources into digital marketing.
However, digital marketing is not accomplished via “Set it and forget it.” It’s a beast that requires continual feeding in order to be productive, and requires marketers with a new set of skills and capabilities to keep the beast under control and operating in concert with traditional marketing strategies and tactics.