Thursday, June 12, 2008

Marketing, Business Travel, and Retention

Marketers are gradually gaining respect from the leaders of CPA firms they work for. But they still have a long way to go. That's the gist of a report on last month's annual conference of the Association for Accounting Marketing, as described by Rob Nance, publisher of AccountingWEB.

Nance saw few CPAs and still fewer managing partners among the several hundred attendees at the San Diego event. He remarked:

These conferences are outstanding opportunities for a firm's managing partner to accompany the marketing director they are sending. Hopefully, someday that will be the norm rather than the exception….

The industry stills seems to be miles away from accepting talented marketing people into the partnership group. However, all three of these gentlemen acknowledged the importance of having marketing directors engaged in partner meetings and on partner retreats. That's a far cry from a decade ago when so many firms were thinking "we need to hire someone to make us some brochures!"
How can marketers build relationships with the corner office? Since some partners won't be receptive, one managing partner on a conference panel advised, "Don't burn your energy - focus on the ones who want your help." That sounds sensible to us.

Another interesting detail in Nance's report involves a simple retention tool that's paying off handsomely for BKD LLP. The Springfield, Mo.-based firm, which employs 1,900 people across 29 locations in 12 states, pays a $50 per night hardship premium for all business travel. That basic step reportedly slashed the firm's turnover rate by a third in the first year, from 25 percent to 17 percent.

So BKD has made the momentous discovery that compensating staff for personal and family time they're required to give up for work is more effective than touchy-feely perks like gym breaks or flextime. Why are we not surprised?

If paying a few extra dollars for each hour consumed by business travel does that much for retention, just imagine what paying more than a token rate for lost personal time would do!

Marketers Unite! [AccountingWEB]

No comments: