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Developing Successful Niche Marketing Plans

Presented by Tamera Loerzel and Michelle Baca October 16, 2008

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Poll #1
What best describes your role in your organization?
Partner, Owner or Niche Practice Leader Marketing Director or Manager Marketing Coordinator

Business Development Manager


Other
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Agenda
Identifying your niche practice value proposition and story Identifying top brand and lead generation strategies to grow your specialty practice Managing and measuring your marketing activities

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Poll #2
What niches does your organization have in place? (check all that apply)
Specialty audits (i.e.. employee benefits, governmental, NPO, SEC, etc.) Tax services (i.e.. planning, consulting, etc.) Small business services (write up) Management advisory or consulting services Financial planning services Business valuation services Industry specializations Accounting or business management software CRM Security, privacy and/or disaster recovery planning Network services Other accounting niche Other technology niche

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Why Niche Marketing?


It enables you to:
Leverage your firms core competencies Focus your resources to maximize your return Easily identify opportunities for vendor and alliance relationships Definitively target clients best suited to use your services Differentiate your firm with your clients, community and competitors Focus your firm messaging and marketing campaigns
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What Generates Niche Success?


Top-down commitment to your chosen niche, with a willingness to invest resources in it
A clear market positioning for your niche and a plan to develop the practice
In this forum, well focus on the market positioning and planning aspects that can affect your niche practice success

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The 5 Ps of Marketing
Positioning - how youre going to define your place in the market Product or Service - what youre going to offer Price - how much youre going to charge for your services Place - who youre going to serve and where youll find them Promotion - the activities youre going to undertake to drive interest in these services
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Positioning

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Niche Market Positioning


For this session, well assume that you have defined your firms mission, vision and values
These provide the foundation for your niche practice positioning Then define your firms core competencies and competitive differentiators within your niche practice

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Identifying Your Niche Competencies


Conduct a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats)
Strengths and weaknesses are internal or about your firm Opportunities and threats are external or about your environment (The Three Cs)

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SWOT Analysis
Strengths Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

Adapted from Boone & Kurtzs Contemporary Marketing

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Competencies?
Strengths and Weaknesses
Leadership

Organization management, culture, image


Staff skills/specializations, availability of resources Processes marketing, sales, service delivery, alliances Quality methodologies, CPE, referenceability Infrastructure systems, programs Financial performance Prospect and referral source potential

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Opportunities and Threats The 3 Cs


Clients: What does your target market look like? What sort of referral source potential do you have? Are there any existing clients you can offer this service to without conflict?
Community: Whats happening with your vendors or alliance partners? Is anything happening related to this service in your geography? Whats happening with legislation or your vendors? Competition: How well do you know your competition? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
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Know Your Competitors


What are your competitors doing in your niche?
Do they have web pages, a brochure, other brand materials in this area that can give you a sense of their positioning?

It is easy to gain information! Focus first on hard facts


Web site, brochures, associations, etc.

Then gather softer information from your network of contacts


Vendors, clients who chose you over them, former staff

Your intention is to gain information that will enable you to create a differentiating positioning for your niche

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Poll #3
Please check the statement that most applies to your organizations knowledge about your primary niche competitors:
We conduct annual research about our niche competitors and share it with the team We gain anecdotal information word of mouth about our niche competitors and sometimes share it with our team We dont conduct research about our niche competitors or pay attention to what theyre doing in our niche I dont know if we conduct research about our niche competitors

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Create Rallying Messages


Develop your niches marketing strategy, including your niche:
Mission, vision and values Strengths Competitive advantages and chosen positioning
Statements that you can use to position yourself as different or unique They become the foundation or theme throughout your niche story

Create rallying messages for your niche

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Include Features and Benefits


Features include the list of products and services you offer
They are the facts about who you are, what you do and how you work

Benefits articulate the difference that you will make in your clients lives and businesses
They answer the WIIFM question Whats in it for me? or So what?
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Sample Features, Benefits and Rallying Messages


With over X years of experience performing employee benefit plan audits, we presently audit the plans of over XX firms.
We plan and execute our audits in a way that maximizes audit efficiency and quality and we provide your plan administrator and human resources personnel with confidence in their plan reporting and management.

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Sample Firm Features and Benefits


We offer both accounting and technology services
Our goal is to enhance your competitive ability and increase your financial performance through the implementation of tailored technology and business management solutions.

Our group specializes in CRM


Because of our expertise in both CRM applications and business and sales processes, were able to provide you with confidence and peace of mind that well apply best practices to enhance your customer processes that will increase your client www.convergencecoaching.com Copyright ConvergenceCoaching, LLC 2000-2008 satisfaction and retention
All rights reserved.

Understanding Promotes Credibility


When creating your niche messaging, ensure youre credible by:
Speaking your niche targets language verbally and in writing, in all aspects of our relationship

Offering solutions that are tailored to your niche targets business


Understanding your niche targets key pain points and business processes

Being aware of unique regulations they may be subject to


Knowing what their specific timing issues are

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Methods For Gaining An Understanding


To learn about your niche, consider:
Surveying or interviewing clients or key prospects in your chosen niche

Subscribing to niche publications get your news from the place they get theirs
Joining niche associations

Attending niche conferences and CPE opportunities -- get your education where they get theirs

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Educate Others
Take the time to educate your niche team members in depth Share important messaging ideas and language with your marketing team Or vice versa, have the marketing team share these thoughts with service delivery personnel
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Place

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Defining Your Niche Strategy


Define your ideal target client for the service by:
Size Type of business Driving need Geography Culture

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Heres Where Place Fits!


Determine where you will find and how youll reach your ideal target clients
Within your existing clients (unless youre conflicted out under independence rules) Referral sources and other CPA firms Trade conferences Publications

Associations
And their constituencies or lists

Social Networking Groups


LinkedIn, Plaxo

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Promotion

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Next, youll need to identify what brand positioning, brand marketing, and lead generation activities youll undertake

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Niche Brand Positioning Activities


Write your niche story and elevator pitch
Allow your clients to speak for you Develop a section of your firms Web site that is dedicated to your niche
This helps increase the credibility of your offering

Create a high-quality printable PDF that tells your niche story


Include client testimonials and success stories
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Niche Brand Positioning Activities


Incorporate your niche story into your firms:
Newsletters and Web site Brochures and advertisements Proposals PPT templates Client and prospect letters and other templates Employee handbooks

In addition, use certifications or logos in the above and your letterhead and business cards
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Brand Marketing Activities

Choose (or reaffirm) the activities that are most in-line with your niche positioning and ideal target client profiles:
Advertising

Public relations press, community outreach, sponsorships


Article writing

Public speaking
Networking and alliance development Trade conferences
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Lead Generation Activities


Choose (or reaffirm) the activities that are most in-line with your firms positioning and ideal target client profiles:
Surveys Direct mail

Teleprospecting
Seminar marketing Lunch and learns
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Poll #4
Which brand or lead generation marketing activities do you find most successful in marketing your niche? (check all that apply)
Advertising Public relations press, community outreach, sponsorships Article writing Public speaking Networking and alliance development Referral sources Trade conferences Surveys Direct mail Teleprospecting Seminar marketing Lunch and learns Internal networking with partners Other client cross selling activities Other

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Organizing Your Niche Activities


By target audience
Your firms staff
New clients
Where to find them by activity list sources, etc.

Referral sources
Existing clients if you do not feel you would be conflicted out

By activity type (brand or lead generation) By month


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Niche Marketing Plans


Create a (simple!) niche marketing plan that includes:
Positioning and target market Strategy Tactics and marketing activities Marketing team, including a subject matter expert Infrastructure requirements Performance goals Budget requirements
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Niche Marketing Plan Accountability


Assign one owner
For the marketing calendar For the marketing plan

Meet regularly to review the calendar with all marketing activity owners

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Your Niche Marketing Plan is a Living Document


Update it as you progress or business needs change its not set in stone!
Also add new activities or strategies as they arise

Discern patterns of success and also areas that havent produced the results you intended
Use it to manage your niche marketing investments and future marketing plans Use it as a reporting tool to track ROI
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Next Steps

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Next Steps
Identify and document your niche strategies your core competencies, competitive differentiators and rallying messages in writing Document your firms brand positioning and ideal target clients in your plan Choose which brand positioning, brand marketing, and lead generation activities youll undertake this year Determine the audience that each activity will address, the objective, timing, owner, cost, and other elements in your marketing calendar Communicate your plans and outcomes internally
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Thank you!
Contact us at anytime!
Tamera Loerzel tamera@convergencecoaching.com 952.226.1780 Michelle Baca michelle@convergencecoaching.com 505.217.2094
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Marketing Tools and Resources

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Resources
Association for Accounting Marketing
http://www.accountingmarketing.org/required_rea dingCat.asp?readCat=Niche%20Marketing%20zxc%2 0Target%20Marketing

ConvergenceCoaching, LLC www.ConvergenceCoaching.com Contemporary Marketing by Louis Boone and David Kurtz Management by Bartol & Martin Marketing Management by Peter Dickson
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Resources
List Brokers
Dunn & Bradstreet at www.dnb.com InfoUSA at www.infousa.com Melissas Lists Chamber of Commerce

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Resources
AICPA
http://www.aicpa.org/ebpaqc http://www. aicpa.org/tax

AICPAs Marketing: Successful Strategies for CPA Firms and Successful Selling Strategies for CPA Firms self-study video courses
For more information or to order, visit www.cpa2biz.com

Marketing Toolkit
http://www.aicpa.org/Professional+Resources/Public+Accounti ng+Firm+Resources/CPA+Marketing+Toolkit/

eMAP - the electronic MAP Handbook


For more information or to order, visit www.cpa2biz.com
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