On June 1, 2015, I completed a full-scale marketing plan for my CPA practice, Wright Accounting & Consulting, L.L.C. While far from perfect, it represented a well thought-out plan for product, place, price, and promotion strategies to be used over the next twelve months. To my surprise however, the most significant result of this exercise was the identification of my most glaring deficiencies – a lacking online presence coupled with inadequate distribution channels for marketing messages. Given the prevalence of social-technology in today’s marketplace, this represented a big problem that required immediate attention.
After taking a second look at the online marketing promotions section of my plan, I was encouraged to discover that I had correctly identified the primary objectives of this area:
- Increase engagement with members of my practice’s target market, and
- Differentiate myself from local competitors
Upon closer inspection of my strategic initiatives, however, I noticed mistakes in the where (place) and how (promotion) for accomplishing these goals. Below are my original decisions for addressing these issues.
|Category (P)||Strategic Decision|
|Place||Social Media Platforms, Firm Website, & Monthly Newsletters|
During the course of drafting the marketing plan, I began studying online marketing concepts and techniques. As I read and studied, I also began to work-up content for sharing on LinkedIn. Before long, the concepts I had been studying and the process of creating content began to click, and I realized that “content marketing” in and of itself was not a promotion strategy.
Given the nature of my profession, as well as the ethical standards enforced by our state board, the strategic direction of my online efforts became clear, as detailed below:
Create custom content tailored to specific needs of target market in order to establish trust prior to conversion. In the short-term, this approach will lay the foundation for successful relationships, and long-term, it represents a thought leadership opportunity that can ultimately lead to recognition as an expert in my field.
For comparative purposes, a tabular layout listing the strategic decisions of my pivot follows:
|Category (P)||Strategic Decision|
|Promotion||Creating/Sharing custom content for target audience engagement & expert recognition as a thought leader|
|Place||Social Media Platforms, Company Blog, Custom Newsletters, Traditional Publications|
Upon determining the appropriate direction, it was time to figure out the best means of distribution (i.e., place) for effective “touches” with my target market. Once again, I started out in the right direction, but false steps lurked closely behind.
I attribute the following four factors to my ability to create an effective and efficient distribution network:
- Voracious reading and study of marketing tools, trends, and opportunities,
- Significant amounts of practice with online tools, platforms, and applications,
- Understanding knowledge management and its importance in intellectual capital organizations, and
- Interest in developing writing ability and desire to improve writing skills.
It is because of these reasons that I elected to create a company blog, and ultimately, use this tool as the focal point of my content distribution. A blog provides unmatched flexibility, customization, and functionality in creating, sharing, promoting, and storing content, and it provides seamless integration with many other tools used for online marketing.