Hiring a Digital Marketing and Strategist for Your Accounting Firm

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Reports 2020, digital marketing and strategy specialist is one of the top 10 emerging roles.

If you’re hiring someone in this role for the first time, what traits and skill sets should you look for? How do you distinguish the must-haves from nice-to-haves? These questions are germane since digital transformation is one of the top strategic priorities for the accounting profession, and aligning your marketing practice to your firm’s strategy is crucial.

Don’t Get Lost Searching for Unicorns

In this day and age of hyper-specialization, digital marketing is no exception. It is a challenge to find someone who is great at all things digital: search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), social (paid and organic), email, etc. But due to limited budgets, firms may conflate must-haves with nice-to-haves by searching for someone who can seemingly do it all.

Instead, what I recommend is focusing on two skill sets: email and social.

Invest in Email

Despite the clickbait headlines, email is not dead, nor will it be anytime soon. Because email marketing influences all the important stakeholders (clients, prospects, referral sources, not to mention internal staff), investing in good email talent is a low-risk, high-reward endeavor.

Step Up Your Social

The same adage applies to social media. I’ve said this for a long time, but I believe that paid social media, especially Facebook advertising, is still one of the most underutilized levers in accounting marketing.

Case in point. According to Hootsuite, Facebook is the third most popular social media platform in the world. There’s a good chance that your target audience not only has an account on Facebook, but more importantly, actually uses it—unlike LinkedIn. Allinial Global recently hosted a webinar on Facebook Advertising for Accounting Marketers, and you can check out the recording here.

What about Everything Else?

But what about the godfather of digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO)? Many Allinial Global firms outsource their SEO needs, and I recommend this strategy for most. The Google algorithms are constantly changing, and it’s a big ask for any in-house marketer—present or future—to handle this responsibility on an ongoing basis in addition to everything else on their plate.

Same for search engine marketing (SEM) or pay-per-click advertising. Smart companies have favored this channel to capture demand (i.e., converting those who are actively looking for your product service and turning them into clients) for a long time, and it has finally made its way to the accounting marketer’s toolbox and continues to gain momentum in popularity.

Although some would disagree with me, I think using PPC for brand awareness campaigns is suboptimal. I believe social media—especially paid social—is the best place for taking your brand awareness to the next level. After all, you’ve worked really hard to produce your thought leadership pieces—blog posts, videos, eBooks, benchmarking surveys, etc. Why not invest a little to make sure that your hard work reaches as many people as possible via paid social media campaigns?

Back to Basics

Finally, if we zoom out and consider foundational skill sets that make a good marketer regardless of the digital specialization you’re looking for, I recommend that you assess the following:

  • Research (the desire and ability to learn more about your audience—internal and external—such as their problems, wishes, influencers, and channels where they can be found)
  • Storytelling (knowing how to put together a compelling story)
  • Copywriting (knowing the right words to use for that story)
  • Testing mindset (tweaking certain elements such as subject lines, images, or call to action buttons to optimize KPIs such as open, click-through, or conversion rates)
  • Data and analytics (identifying which data to track and optimizing based on business goals)

So there it is. My current recommendation for hiring your next digital marketing superstar.

If you’d like to talk about all things digital marketing with your fellow Allinial Global marketers, please join our Global Marketing Community and sign up for our next digital marketing community call listed under the Events tab. Hope to see you there soon!