Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Marketing Clinic

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Marketing Clinic

Article excerpt

Developing the right brochure for your firm.

CPAs often spend thousands of dollars and several months developing brochures that prospective clients glance at and throw away. However, when they are created wisely, brochures not only increase the firm's visibility but they also improve the public's understanding of the kinds of services the firm can offer.

When planning a new brochure, CPAs should ask four essential questions. Their answers will help them develop brochures that will not kill the marketing budget, will complement practice development activities and, most important, will attract new clients.

1. WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE?

You must determine if the brochure targets only one or all types of clients. Brochures can be used to offer details for decision makers and address issues for a specific industry, or they can be developed to highlight all the firm's services. For example, the latter kind of brochure can be distributed at career fairs to find prospective employees. Once you know what audience you want to attract, you can determine whether several short, targeted brochures are more appropriate than a more general one. Remember also that your competitors will be reading your brochures.

There are three traditional types of brochures--firm overview, product-service-specific and industry-specific. Each should be developed based on its purpose: to be left behind after a presentation, to use as a prop to support a presentation or to be sent to anyone, prospective client or not, interested in your firm.

2. WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT YOUR FIRM?

Because many prospective clients simply choose audit and tax services based on the price of the service, consider making the most out of the consulting services your firm offers. Take a look at competitors' brochures and determine what makes your firm unique. Personalize the brochure by replacing phrases such as "we are" or "we have" with "you receive" or "this benefits you by" This helps the prospective client relate the firm's services to his or her needs. Also, it never hurts to include a few case studies and client quotes--they have a greater impact on a prospective client than pages 0fpublic relations copy.

3. WHAT IS THE BROCHURE'S LIFESPAN?

Don't build obsolescence into the brochure. One midsize CPA firm listed office locations on the back of its brochure--which made the brochure outdated the very day the sales team received it because the firm had opened new branches. …

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