Data-Based Marketing – a 4-step strategic plan

Firms don’t always consider technology in their strategic planning process, but that’s a mistake. If you’re looking to update your strategic marketing plan, look at how technology and data-based marketing can help position your firm to partner with your clients — especially younger ones — and build your high-growth services.

Step 1: Improve data

Data-based marketing requires good, complete data. Gather email addresses, create mailing lists, and clean up your database because technology tools can only work well if data inputs are accurate. This step may seem basic, but you’d be surprised how many firms are working with less-than-stellar data.

To help manage their data, some firms rely on a client relationship management (CRM) system. Many use their practice management system as their CRM. CCH Axcess™ Practice offers email lists and tools to do some light lead tracking. Others may need a more robust tool for complete pipeline management. Whether to move to a full-blown CRM system depends on your firm’s strategic plan. But one thing is clear – every technology and every new service should be intentional and tied back to a line item in your firm’s strategic plan.

Step 2: Plan and communicate

Once you have good data in place, use it to reach out with your important messages. Develop a digital marketing plan that includes one-to-one emails, email newsletters, blogs, and other thought leadership communications.

The more personalized these tools are, the better. Barry C. Brown, CPA, CITP, MCP, of Moore Stephens Tiller learned the power of personalization when the firm revamped from general to targeted email blasts. “Now instead of hitting clients with general basic accounting emails, we are sending targeted industry-specific blog posts every quarter,” he says. “My phone rings within 24 hours of these going out. It didn’t ring in the old days. When we moved to this targeted marketing to each particular vertical, we get a much better response.”

Step 3: Track and measure

Determine who your most profitable clients are so you can tap into high-growth areas like wealth management, placement, and strategic advisory services. Also, find out which business development channels work best for your firm. You likely need to use a combination of two or more of the tools below, and track their effectiveness so you can tweak your growth strategy:

  • Digital marketing
  • CRM system
  • Business intelligence
  • Content marketing
  • Social media
  • Predictive analytics
  • Email marketing
  • Referrals
  • Events/networking
  • Market research
  • Creative/Ad agency
  • Sales training

Step 4: Analyze and evolve

Gone are the days of waiting for a client to request something and then reacting. You need to become more proactive and leverage predictive intelligence technology so you can anticipate what clients want and need before they even know to ask. A predictive intelligence tool like CCH Axcess iQ allows you to search client data and proactively and seamlessly reach out to clients who may be affected by changes in tax regulations, for example.

“For years, we have been finding which clients are impacted by regulation changes by doing a labor-intensive search. CCH Axcess iQ will identify the clients for us by constantly mining our client data,” Brown says, “and help us proactively communicate with these clients, positioning us as their strategic partners.”

Tap into technology

Learn more about data-based marketing: download the new ebook, Embracing Business Development in Accounting Firms

 

AUTHOR

Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting

Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting is a leading provider of software solutions and local expertise that helps tax, accounting, and audit professionals research and navigate complex regulations, comply with legislation, manage their businesses and advise clients with speed, accuracy and efficiency. Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting is part of Wolters Kluwer N.V. (AEX: WKL), a global leader in information services and solutions for professionals in the health, tax and accounting, risk and compliance, finance and legal sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized technology and services. Wolters Kluwer reported 2016 annual revenues of €4.3 billion. The company, headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands, serves customers in over 180 countries, maintains operations in over 40 countries and employs 19,000 people worldwide. Wolters Kluwer shares are listed on Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices. Wolters Kluwer has a sponsored Level 1 American Depositary Receipt program. The ADRs are traded on the over-the-counter market in the U.S. (WTKWY).

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