As published in Accountingtoday.com on March 12, 2019
CPA firms both large and small are investing thousands of dollars a year in bringing clients and resources together for social and educational panels, dinners, happy hours, briefings, CFO breakfasts and more, in the hopes of not just thanking their existing clients, but obtaining new clients through the process.
As I travel the country helping firms with their branding and marketing efforts, I often attend such events as a guest observer, taking notes on their structure, content and arrangement, and I am often disappointed by the final result as it pertains to their business development goals, particularly what happens before and, most importantly, after the event.
A typical event goes something like this: Clients are invited through an email invite with the generic subject line such as, “You are invited to hear our economic outlook.” At the very bottom of the email, almost with trepidation, is a note hesitantly stating, “Please feel free to bring friends.” Date and location are included.
The event takes place. Clients attend and listen to a speech. After the speech the guests typically stand in a corner with one or two other friends or colleagues. Hors d'oeuvres are passed, drinks are served. Everyone leaves, typically exhausted, rushing back either to their family dinner or to the office. The following day, the attendees get called by a marketing coordinator to discuss their feedback. And that’s that -- thousands of dollars spent, clients forgetting the event two or three days later, and not much in the way of actionable items afterwards.
There is definitely room for improvement, particularly as so much is being invested for such events, and the ROI is quite low. We have distilled a few steps you can take to improve this important effort and make the process more measurable, both for providing more value to your clients, and for creating buzz and new business opportunities.