Marketing Study Reveals Tactics of High-Growth Firms

New research on accounting firm marketing shows that overall marketing spending averages 2.2% of firm revenue, and that firms employed one full-time marketer for every 65 employees.

However, high-growth firms, or those in the fastest-growing 20%, had a higher ratio of marketing staff, at one per 48 employees, the survey said. In addition, they spend less on marketing at 1.04% of revenue than did low-growth firms. Low-growth firms are defined as the slowest-growing 20%. That group spends 2.08% of revenue on marketing.

AAM_logoThe research study, conducted by Hinge Research Institute for the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM), covers overall marketing spending, compensation for marketing staff and the top five spending categories. Budget details are broken down by firm size and location. Thirty firms, ranging from less than $4.9 million to $114 million, participated.

Overall, firms spend the most money on advertising, sponsorships, individual partner business development set-sides, non-educational firm events and tradeshows/networking events, the survey says.Hinge

High-growth firms spend less on advertising, sponsorships, non-educational firm events, individual partner business development set-asides and public relations. Rather, these high-growth firms choose to spend their money on marketing materials, content creation, networking/trade shows, website and search engine optimization, and educational events.

“AAM members want to understand how budgets are developed industry-wide, and how their firm’s planning and process measures up against successful growth strategies. There are data points in the study that are instrumental for marketing, growth and business development initiatives – not just for marketers but firm leadership industry-wide,” says AAM CEO Jayla Boire.

Hinge MP Lee Frederickson says, “High-growth firms showed consistent patterns in how they are managing their marketing. For companies looking to stay competitive and learn from their industry peers, these findings are extremely telling.”

AAM members get the first section, on overall marketing benchmarks, at no cost. The full report is $300 for members and $600 for nonmembers. ( The report includes a section designed to help marketing professionals prioritize tactics more effectively. A budget worksheet aids in establishing a basis for comparison to industry benchmarks.