Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 30 seconds

loud speakersIt astounds me how much marketing continues to change.  At conferences that I recently attended, I was amazed at examples of how many companies have embraced inbound marketing to attract prospects. With the advent of social media and continued advancements in technology, the pendulum continues to swing away from the seller into the hands of the buyer.

The days of outbound, interruptive marketing are gradually declining and being overtaken by inbound, trust-oriented, attraction marketing methods. In other words, the days of using outbound marketing that focuses on one-way communication and interrupting someone with a message continues to decline.

This means cold call telemarketing, radio advertising, print advertising continue to decline (not go away) and be replaced by inbound, trust-oriented methods like Internet marketing, social media, public relations and referral marketing. 
While part of this evolution is attributed to changes in technology and communication, I ultimately believe that today’s consumer does not want to be sold and feel manipulated.

Today’s consumer is willing to buy but wants more control and is willing to invest the time to make a more informed decision. For example, many people buy new cars online to avoid that showroom feeling and in-person haggling over price when it can be so much more pleasant online (and saves time). Heck, I bought my last new car online and saved so much time. The car was prepped and plates were on it before I ever set foot on the car dealers property to sign papers.  Net, I wanted to buy but did not want to be sold to…

To remain ahead of the curve, accountants need to embrace inbound marketing techniques  with enthusiasm even though it’s one more thing on the “to do” list.  Those accountants who refuse to change will be swimming against the tide. This change starts with making your Web site integral to your practice for processing clients, marketing, educating/advocating and creating a dialogue with clients and prospects in need of your services.

In other words, it goes way beyond having a search engine optimized website to integrating email newsletters, video, portals, Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media into your marketing arsenal.

To give you one well known example, I would encourage you to think back to how Barack Obama ran his presidential campaign. At the onset, he had limited funding to compete against Hillary Clinton so rather than push out his message one-way using television, direct mail, email blasts  and telemarketing, Barack elected to use inbound marketing techniques to connect with voters and create a dialogue.

While part of his strategy included two best-selling books, it also included a blog, informative Web site, YouTube (21 million views), Facebook (5.8 million supporters), Twitter (450,000 followers), and LinkedIn (13,000 links). The combination of these grass roots initiatives enabled Barack to create a two-way dialogue with voters.  It also enabled him to raise money more effectively than his opponents and created passionate advocates.

If you’d like to read more about how inbound marketing is becoming the new paradigm, I recommend you pick up Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.

Hugh Duffy MBA

Hugh Duffy is co-founder and chief marketing officer for Build Your Firm, a leading practice development firm dedicated to the accounting industry.  Based in Madison, Conn., Build Your Firm works with small accounting firms providing accounting marketing, practice management and Web site development services

Prior to co-founding Build Your Firm in 2003, Hugh was a Vice President of Internet Marketing for Business & Legal Reports (BLR), a business-to-business publisher for small and medium sized businesses.  Prior to BLR, Hugh was a Director with a publicly traded global internet media company, 24/7 Real Media responsible for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships.  The foundation of Hugh’s marketing background is fourteen years of consumer packaged goods marketing with Schick, Nabisco, Clorox and Coca-Cola. 

Hugh has 25 years of marketing experience, an MBA degree in marketing from the University of Rochester and a B.S. in finance from the University of Maryland.  While at Maryland, Hugh was on a golf scholarship and his coach was Fred Funk, PGA Tour player.  Today, Hugh’s golf game suffers and he is content watching his two kids play college lacrosse.

Last modified on Sunday, 02 June 2013
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