Overheard At The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) Summit, June 7–10, Orlando, Fla.

Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans

“In every customer service interaction in America we expect to be treated like crap.” We think service is great if they meet basic expectations. A lesson: “Be one level about crap.” – PR expert Peter Shankman, CEO of The Geek Factory Inc.

Be transparent: “When you screw up and own your mistake you turn a hater into a lover.” – Peter Shankman

Assoc. Accounting Marketing 2014

Growth Through Niches

How to ‘drive a wedge’ between a client and their existing accounting firm? Provide valuable education, consistently, at no cost, to show your firm is on top of the issues facing them. – Eric Majchrzak, chief marketing officer, BeachFleischman, and AAM’s 2015 Marketer of the Year.

How to bring energy to a stagnant niche? “It starts with talking with your clients. Go to their events. You will learn so much from doing that and you’ll be a more effective marketer.” – Eric Majchrzak

Listen and stay involved with clients in your niche, especially if you’re a veteran. “Make sure you continue to operate like you’re a scrappy start-up.”– Joe Kovacs, Marketing Director, Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman

CPAs can bring huge value to clients by understanding the problems they will have in a couple of years. – Joe Kovacs

The “I” in Diversity and Inclusion

“Diversity is who we are; inclusion is what we do.” – Richard Caturano, National Leader, Culture, Diversity and Inclusion, McGladrey

How MPs think about diversity: “It’s in the back of their minds, but it doesn’t come to the front of their minds, and that happened to me.” – Richard Caturano

“Fair isn’t everyone getting the same thing. Fair is everyone getting what they need in order to be successful.” – Richard Caturano

Despite What Most MPs Believe, Diversity Won’t ‘Take Care Of Itself’ – Richard Caturano

Ecosystem of M&A From an Operational Perspective

Rule No. 1 of M&A: “If you don’t want to eat lunch with someone, don’t do a merger.” – Joel Sinkin, president, Transition Advisors

Think of the 4Cs when choosing the right successor: Chemistry, Continuity, Culture and Capacity – Joel Sinkin

How to address client fears. Tell them: “I’m still there, the fee’s the same, I brought in an expert in your industry to help you, staff’s still here, the location’s the same.” – Joel Sinkin

“Time kills all deals. The longer you negotiate the more likely someone gets angry.” – Joel Sinkin

View the list of AAM Marketing Achievement Award winners.