Accounting practices need marketing just as much as anyone else. Marketing isn’t, as many people imagine, just about advertising and trying to help the sales team make a sale. And yes it may eventually come to that, but marketing in the truest form, the very foundation of it, lies with the customer. It is understanding what your customer’s points of pain are, what they need (not necessarily “want” in the words of Steve Jobs) and then creating a solution. It doesn’t end there. You need to ensure that the solution is delivered in the right way, the easiest way for your customer to access – deliver the optimum customer experience. You also need to consider how what you are offering is going to differ from what everyone else in the market offers. What is going to make you unique? Why should they buy ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ is) from you? There are then decisions on how to price the product, where to distribute it and only then do you start the work of promoting it.
So how do you know what your customer points of pain are? How do you know what they really need? Two really simple steps.
- Talk to them and really listen to what they tell you, and then
- Put yourself in their shoes with this new knowledge. What would you want “fixed”?
As the marketing manager for a large business I have the luxury of research as well as the ability for one on one discussions with clients. Perhaps the most important piece of research MYOB conducts is the Business Monitor. We do it on a biannual basis and it really is a health check on Australian business – small and medium. It tells us what they are worrying about, how confident they feel about the economy, their business and also most interestingly for me – what they want from their accountants.
How would having that information affect your business? – knowing what your customers really wanted. Would you grab the opportunity for change, or stick with what’s tried and true? It’s a scary choice – we all know the adage “great success only comes with great risk”, but on the flip side there’s the equally well known adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. And I suppose how you view it depends on your personal attitude towards risk.
Me personally – my attitude to risk swings based on the topic discussed. But I do strongly believe “Knowledge is power”. That’s why I love reviewing the Business Monitor results, and why I think it’s so important to share them with our clients. Here’s a link to the full results. We’ll be sharing some of the results around what clients want from their accountants at the Connected Accountant, our national Roadshow. Come along and listen to what your customers want. And in true marketing fashion I’d love to hear from you, my clients.
Do you want to hear more about your customers? How do you want to get the information – re-read the intro and you’ll see where I’m going……
Chris Britton| Marketing Manager, Accountants Division – MYOB
To learn more about these transforming technologies mark your diary for MYOB’s ‘Connected Accountant 2012’ National Road Show. It’s coming to capital cities and some regional areas in February and March, and will preview a new era of solutions that seamlessly connect your practice, your clients and your business networks. I’m looking forward to seeing some of you there!