Center >> March 2009
to Play ‘Follow the Leader’ With CPAs
Successfully marketing to CPAs begins with understanding them.
by Rick Telberg/For the CPA Channel Marketer
AICPA Custom Media Solutions
Do your target customers look at what you’re
selling as an investment or as an expense?
Knowing the difference could mean making the sale.
Or, as the legendary Al Ries said years ago, “Marketing is
a game fought in the mind of the prospect.”
Most marketers are looking for prospects who are
“MAD” for the offer. In other words, they have the essential
combination of Money, Authority and Desire.
But how do you tailor your marketing strategy to
focus on only the MAD prospects? In the CPA market, you can start
by separating the CPA Leaders from the Laggards, a distinction Bay
Street Group LLC has been researching for years.
For instance, in the technology segment, Leaders
- Four times more likely than Laggards to be among
the first to adopt new technologies;
- Seven times more likely to make and follow a
- Five times more likely to work in a firm with
thorough and continuous training; and
- Five times more likely to work with the best
equipment and software available.
By selling to Leaders, vendors also secure the high
ground in the market, getting the visibility and respect of having
gained favor in the kind of organizations that CPA colleagues and
competitors respect and admire.
But CPA Leaders and Laggards are prone to buy different
things. For instance, my research shows that most firms are already
making the move to paperless workflows. That’s not to say
there isn’t a big market still left to mine in offering paperless
solutions; but the game has changed. The market is now shifting
to ever more sophisticated and integrated workflow management strategies.
From my latest soundings, it seems that CPA Leaders
are more likely than Laggards to be shopping for:
- Desktop computers
- Notebook PCs
- Tablet PCs
- Smartphones and PDAs
- Servers and storage
- Accounting software
- CRM software
- Web site management tools and portals.
Laggards, on the other hand, are currently shopping
- Office networking solutions
- Fax machines
- Tax software
- Remote-working solutions.
To be sure, there’s nothing wrong with marketing
to either CPA Leaders or Laggards. But it pays to know the difference
and to tailor your media, messaging and offer accordingly.
FOR CPA CHANNEL MARKETERS BY RICK TELBERG:
is president of Bay
Street Group LLC, which provides research and marketing and
communications services to CPA firms and the vendors who serve them.
He is the founding editor of the Insider newsletters and serves
as AICPA Editor at Large and Director of Online Content. In his
two decades in media and marketing for the finance, tax and accounting
industries, Telberg has played pivotal roles in the development
and operation of the leading media and e-commerce outlets in the
business, including Accounting Today, The Practical Accountant,
Accounting Technology, WebCPA.com, SmartPros.com, and CPA2Biz.com.
Contact Rick at email@example.com
or (914) 674-4531. He blogs at cpatrendlines.com.
Trendlines on Twitter.