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Tracking and Achieving Your Client's Goals

Alyssa Carswell | March 10, 2022 at 8:30 AM

Evidence and Ammunition to Advising 

Marketing doesn't set your goals, it helps you achieve them. It is no question that in order to achieve these goals, you need to trust your advisor and team. It is hard to know which service provider is going to be a good fit for you, and oftentimes people use price as their decision-making criteria. 

In our recent podcast episode, Stacy sits down with Alison Simons of Simons Marketing. Alison dives into how she approaches professional services and the mistakes people make along the way. In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses the ways to track and achieve your client's goals as an advisor. 


EP295 Tracking And Achieving Your Clients Goals


A Little More About Alison  

Alison Simons is the founder of Simons Marketing, a professional marketing firm that builds ROI-focused marketing strategies. With a background in marketing, branding, digital recruiting, and business development, Alison creates customized programs that align with time allocation and budget. Her services range from blogging, newsletters, social media refreshes, outsourcing marketing directors to take the lead on strategy, and hands-on execution of marketing plans, complete with website designs and evaluation of your overall brand image. 

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Interview Transcript Highlights

Question: What I always like doing starting off is how did you get here today?

Answer: Yeah. I always knew I wanted to be a marketer, and I ended up working for a CPA firm. I was their head of marketing for seven years, and we had a blast. We were a really high growth firm, and we had some good niches. This is like, oh gosh, almost 20 many years ago. The things that we're still talking about today, we were doing well back then, which allowed us to do some good marketing. And then when it was time to go, I decided that I didn't want to go and do the same job again. I set off on my own, which was incredible, because some of the smaller firms that knew of my work and the firm that I worked for wanted to know if they could engage me on a fractional basis. I was the most reluctant entrepreneur, but it has absolutely been the right move for me. From there, what I really realized is that marketing is too sophisticated and complex for any one person to take on all of the roles, and so I started to surround myself with specialists inside of the part of marketing that they love most. And now that's how we all collaborate together. It's just been so fun. Now we have 13 of us and we are working for CPA firms, law firms, and other professional services firms all throughout New England and just having so much fun.


Question: How do you first approach a professional service firm, because it's different than a lot of other brands?

Answer: To me, marketing... One of the catch phrases that I have all the time is marketing doesn't set your goals, it helps you achieve them. Where we start is with the firm's goal. Sometimes we actually have to get those out of them because those are not conversations that they're having all the time. If a firm wants to grow by 20%, or it wants to grow by five and a half percent, we're going to have very different goals for them. If they're having a hard time, recruiting, marketing can help with recruiting. If they're losing bids to a strong competitor, we can maybe do brand and differentiation. If they have too many low paying clients and their team is too stretched out, we can maybe do something with commodity buyers or helping them to identify value buyers. There are just so many different things and you don't know what their goals are, but their goal is never marketing. Marketing is just the way that we help them to reach their goals.


Question: What are some of the mistakes that people make along the way, besides the fact not realizing that you should repel potential clients that are not going to be fit for you?

Answer: I think one of the most important ones is professional services firms are partnerships. The people at the top are the people with the most experience, and they have a certain amount of time left that they plan to run their firm. Whether that's three years or five years or a few years more than that, what they have to be thinking about is how to keep investing in their firm because buyers are changing their behavior. Buyers are going online and researching, and they are doing more and more of the sales process on their own before they even reach out to a firm. If the owners of the firm, the partners at the firm are still getting a lot of referrals and they are getting enough new business in the door through their network, they may not feel that investing in marketing is all that important. The challenge then becomes when they want to retire and they want someone else to come in and buy that firm, that rising generation is supposed to buy into the partnership, which provides the cash flow for the retiring partner. But if the younger people don't feel that the firm has been invested in and that it has modern marketing and that it is a lead engine like firms can have now with their websites and proper marketing, they may not feel that it's a good investment for them, and they may not want to buy the firm.


Question: How soon is too soon, or is it never too soon to start working on employees' personal brands?

Answer: I think that you need a few years of experience to know what you want to specialize in, and that specializing is an important part of branding. In the very earliest years of your career, you as a... The strength of the firm's brand is going to far out shadow your own personal brand. The best thing you can do is orbit the firm's brand. Share. Amplify. Be a part of what the firm has going on. You'll be identified as someone who is taking notice of what's happening on social media and wants to promote the firm. And then you can stick your hand up and say, "Hey, I'd like to contribute an article for the blog on this to topic. Can I write that?" And they'll either give you the time to write that article yourself or share the resources of the ghost writer for the firm and put your name on it, but kind of just sticking your hand up and... Or as early as you're ready, find out how you can engage with the marketing engine that the firm has. That's the soonest you can do it. If you don't, as a young professional, your trajectory will either be delayed or just a slower burn.


Question: What are other mistakes that you see professional service firms making all the time?

Answer: Firms don't seem to understand that not every marketing activity will help them to achieve the goal that they want to accomplish. There are some are marketing activities that are very well aligned to certain outcomes and others that are completely misaligned. If you are building a marketing budget that is around the types of things that you know how to do, or you have the personnel in house to do, you're probably doing things like sponsorships, advertising, right? Write a check, send in your logo kind of things. Those are both on the awareness generating side of the sliding scale of marketing expectations. If you are looking for your firm to have ROI driven marketing, you need to be deploying different types of marketing activities. The mistake is thinking that one type of marketing is going to achieve whatever your goal is, just because that's the type of marketing that you can undertake. Instead, it's about setting your goals and then developing your marketing plan appropriately to reach those goals.


Check Out The Podcast!

Alison has so much great information from her experience and sheds light on all things professional service firms. Everything she shared also applies to other business out there. Check out the podcast below to learn more about service firms and listen to the full conversation Stacy had with Alison!

Every week we have a marketing professional on our show to share their tips, tricks and lessons learned from their professional experience. Check out some of our other podcast blogs from earlier this year: 

Every week we release a new podcast featuring guest's with so much knowledge about marketing, you don't want to miss one!  How can you make sure you don't miss an episode? Click below to subscribe!

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Topics: Marketing Best Practices, Podcast Interviews, podcasts

Alyssa Carswell

Written by Alyssa Carswell