Why accountants hate marketing

Why on earth do accountants hate marketing?

As someone who has crossed over from the profession to marketing I think I have the answer.

I can see it now.

I’m sat in my office and am being told in no uncertain terms that I must do more marketing.

The guy on the phone is really giving it the hard sell and the more he pushes, the less likely I am to buy even though I know he’s right and even though I am pretty sure he can help me.


Well it’s a good question and the answer is, in my opinion down to two things; Psychology and training.

Let’s deal with training first

We’re trained not to be ‘salesy’

You see, a lot of the techniques of marketing are anathema to accountants.

We’re trained to always be able to back up our numbers, resist hyperbole, keep to the facts.

Marketers are trained to ‘sell the sizzle not the steak’ and avoid confusing people with too much detail.

So you can see the problem. We come at the task from two totally opposite directions.

For accountants, marketing techniques go against everything they have been taught and when that happens people push back.

The psychology is all wrong

We have an aversion to salespeople and in our view marketers are salespeople.

I’m talking generally of course. Not all accountants hate salespeople and not every accountant hates every salesperson.

But can you see what I just did?

I had to qualify my statement. That’s an accountancy trait that psychologically we can’t step away from.

You see we’re detail people. Yes, some of it is taught but some of it is also inbred.

If someone does some advertising on our behalf and it is full of unqualified, big picture, unsustainable statements then we start to get really uncomfortable.

Try as we might we can’t bridge the gap and I am pretty sure that most marketers don’t even realise a gap exists.

So what can we do?

For accountants who know they need to do some marketing there is this chasm that they need to get over and the good news is that in my opinion there is a solution.

It’s called content marketing.

You see content marketing is all about giving the potential client something of value for free and the good news is that it can be detailed and will be accurate.

Even better than that, the hard sell doesn’t work when using content marketing.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is simply producing something that your target market will value.

It could be as simple as a budget update or an explanation of inheritance tax or maybe a video about how to sign up for online tax accounts.

No selling, no pushyness, no trauma.

You can produce eBooks, Podcasts, Infographics, Videos – in fact, anything that your audience will value in a format that makes it easy for them to access.

Content marketing for accountants works particularly well as the profession can be a little opaque at times and it’s an area that people are desperate to find a good, authoritative source of useful information.

It gets over the training issue because we are simply doing what we have been taught to do – present accurate information, concisely and without added flannel.

It gets over the psychological issue because we’re not ‘being marketers’. We’re simply providing information and value to people who may later choose to become customers.

So how does content marketing work?

Simple. If you provide accurate and useful information you build up a bank of trust with the customer.

They come to see you as someone who is knowledgable and professional and that goes a long way when they are looking for help.

If you produce useful content then you have a ready audience who trust you and when you want to introduce a new service or let them know about tax changes that are coming up then they are listening.

When your audience realises it needs help where does it turn?

You can find out more about content marketing for accountants on my other posts – start here

Or download my free comprehensive guide to content marketing specifically for accountants here

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