After a first major conference dedicated to the brand, the 75th Congress this Thursday, October 1st, offered a second highlight with the EC=MARKETEUR conference: How do you create demand and convince? Or how do you solve the marketing equation?
The opportunity to discover a method, to learn about the latest marketing trends, but also to seek inspiration… on the other side of the Atlantic. A conference hosted by Frdrique Goigoux, Chartered Accountant and Co-Rapporteur for the 75th Convention, Genevive Mottard, President of the Quebec CPA Order, Eric Singler, Entrepreneur and Nudge Specialist, and Stphane Mallard, Entrepreneur and Speaker.
The information is not new: the world of public accounting has changed in recent years. As Frdrique Goigoux reminds us, the basic mission has lost its value, the need for customer care has increased and the new behaviors of young generations of entrepreneurs have shaken habits. So many reasons to think about adapting the practices and what they offer.
—Apar (@Apar_SAS) October 1, 2020
Is the digital transformation threatening the profession?
For Stphane Mallard, this fear is based on a misunderstanding: the problem is not technological in nature. Because digital technologies, like electricity in the past, are in the process of commercialization (in English) or, more simply, in the process of becoming commonplace. The digital transformation of practices is necessary to survive but totally insufficient to differentiate as the technologies are so accessible.
How can we imagine that a few years from now, a smartphone application, a collaborative portal or a chatbot will be particularly remarkable? What is different today will be standard tomorrow. But then how do you differentiate? Not with his technical skills, according to Stphane Mallard, for whom The very high qualification level of auditors is the least that is expected from clients.
According to him, the difference lies in something else, in empathy and in the human. The good accountant is the one who is proactive, because customers often do not know which question to ask. The future belongs to top performance with individual advice and maximum availability.
How do you change the job profile? The Quebec Leon
This second conference was also an opportunity to draw inspiration from Qubec’s Order of Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA). Genevive Mottard, its President, on recent experiences in her profession. The context is certainly different, for in Qubec, CPAs have no role reserved for the state, no prerogative of practice that guarantees them some demand. Quebec professionals are therefore used to differentiating themselves and making their offer known.
However, a few years ago in Qubec, the profession suffered from a murky image, from an unprecedented flatness (flatness in the sense of boredom across the Atlantic). The institution’s reaction was not long in coming. After changing the communications agency, The Order has chosen to take these stereotypes and use them to its advantage. This is the start of the CPAs are flat campaign (see our article Communicating with CPAs in Quebec, audacious and humane). Example with this advertising campaign launched in 2018:
According to Genevive Mottard, the result was immediate, and the two desired goals were achieved: entrepreneurs on the one hand with a renewed professional profile, but also students with a clear increase in attractiveness. The President of the CPA Order therefore sends an encouraging message to the French profession, which she describes as exceptional: dare, don’t be afraid to use a little self-mockery to change your image.
The nudge, a boost for corporate marketing?
The presence of Eric Singler, nudge specialist, made it possible to develop this concept, still relatively unknown in France. This behavioral science, which aims to encourage good behavior without imposing it, can indeed be useful for marketing.
In any case, many companies are convinced of this, including Google, Facebook and the SNCF, but also the authorities, including the French government.
For Eric Singler, the basic postulate is that rational man never existed. We all think we make logical decisions based on reason, but we are first and foremost very social, emotional, contextual and biased creatures. So the impetus is to accept this fact and use it to encourage virtuous behavior without manipulation.
What makes the nudge special is that it has an incredibly favorable return on investment. A properly rephrased sentence, the position of a question on a form, or an image placed in the right place can make a world of difference for a very small swipe.
And the company’s marketing in all of this?
How can these key principles be applied to the world of accounting? Or apply the bold example of Quebec’s accountants to the daily practice of companies?
In this area, Frédérique Goigoux, co-rapporteur of the Congress, gave many answers. The profession needs to change in terms of communication and marketing and to support this the Higher Council has provided a range of tools available on the Higher Council website and in the library.
Mark’actions sheets, which have been created especially for this 75th Congress and which represent a new gateway to the many contents already created by the Supreme Council of Affairs. A total of 26 sheets are offered, around 3 themes: the law firm’s strategy, the client and communication, and with a common structure: key stages and advice, expert opinions and access to online tools. Mission Marketing Sheets then remodeled for Congress to promote the services of the firm through a firm record and a client record.