We recently launched our 2017 report: The State of Digital Marketing in Professional Services, where we surveyed members of the financial and accounting industries to better understand their approach to new business enquiries and referrals.

From the results, we found that 46% of finance and accounting firms surveyed don’t allocate a marketing budget per annum, and the findings suggest those that don’t, don’t perform as well, with 54% of firms receiving just 0 to 5 new enquiries per month.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, 54% of the finance and accounting firms surveyed have a dedicated marketing spend (from £1k – £20k+ a year) and they invest in a varied marketing approach. Of those, 35% said they convert 45%+ new business enquiries every month, with 7% receiving 10-15 new business enquiries regularly.

Why do certain firms forgo a marketing budget?

The legal industry represents 50% of the firms, who took the survey, that allocate a larger budget (£20k+) and receive a higher return of new business enquiries (20+) each month. This is followed by financial services at 21%, accountancy at 18%, management consultancies at 9%, and I.T. consultancy firms at just 2%. This shows the division of firms that are more engaged with the digital movement, are educated on the benefits of marketing, and are willing to invest accordingly to boost their business growth rate.

This begs the question, “Why do certain firms forgo a marketing budget?”. The firms that don’t allocate are most likely under the impression that marketing isn’t measurable. This thinking goes back to the famous marketing quote from John Wanamaker (1838-1922), “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Since the advent of digital, marketing has become increasingly more measurable – today’s advancing technologies can track who is engaging with a firm’s content, their individual characteristics, and it can even determine how close they are to buying. This means firms are better equipped than ever to reach the right people, and they can accurately measure the ROI of almost all activity and every pound spent.

But it’s not always ‘spend more, make more’. Of the firms that do allocate £20k+ per year to marketing, 7% still don’t receive regular new business enquiries, with the majority of those firms in accounting and financial services.

While these firms understand that digital marketing is effective in their industries, they are more dependent on referral business and traditional means to achieve their growth objectives. They’re not investing in, nor leveraging, the digital platforms their right- fit clients are most active on, which means they don’t understand where their target audience is, and are missing out on key opportunities to engage with them.

The take-away is that not only should firms allocate a marketing spend in order to drive business growth, but they need to understand who their target audience is, where they are, and invest in the right marketing activities to reach them.

To avoid falling into the referral-reliance comfort zone, start to grow your firm by understanding and measuring your target audience. Once you understand them better, client generation will become easier and faster. To get a better understanding of your audience, get in touch. A senior member of the Propero team will be happy to have a chat about how to create a marketing strategy that’s tailored to your audience, increasing your chances of client generation.

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