Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Howard’s Inner Circle, No. 40: The Literal Disconnect

I have always been intrigued by marketers and their interactions at accounting firms. Perhaps it is because, in my opinion, the role of marketers hasn’t been fully determined, or better yet, agreed to at many firms. The actual often conflicts with the expected and perceived roles.
Surprisingly, sometimes unwittingly, the marketer actually eliminates their position at the firm by being too successful as management then questions the cost and need of a highly-paid marketing director when its marketing efforts have matured with regard to branding, proposals, pipelines, and collateral materials.
Contrast that to firms where the seasoned marketing director is a vital and integral contributor to new business development and strategic planning. I believe these particular firms are enlightened, in part, because their marketing directors have a keen understanding of management at their firm and how to build a professional relationship deeply imbued with trust and respect.
It is important for relatively new marketers to develop a roadmap for professional success. The Association for Accounting Marketing can help with tools and in finding mentors. One tool, if it is still available from AAM, is a CD of the Managing Partner Panel Discussion from the AAM Executive Leadership Conference (February 2008), which Thalia Zetlin and I co-moderated. It provides an insider’s look at what it takes for a marketer to earn the trust, respect, and a voice in a firm’s strategic direction.
I would also recommend reading I'm Right, You're Wrong, Now What?: Break the Impasse and Get What You Need by Xavier Amador. With the commodization of services and changes in the nature and number of referrals, the importance of relationship building has increased. Although the firm/client relationship is all important, the first relationship that needs to be built properly by a marketer is their relationship with the firm, otherwise an unperceived impasse could doom a marketer’s future there.
© 2011
Above may be reproduced in full if that fact is stated and Howard Wolosky at is credited as the author. Note: The above also appeared on the Association for Accounting Marketing group LinkedIn site in the discussion and received a number of comments.

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