The Hinge Research Institute helps a professional association create a new revenue stream.
The Association for Accounting Marketing teamed up with Hinge to produce an ongoing research study, delivering insights of exceptional value to their members—and giving the organization heightened visibility and credibility within the industry as a whole.
“The Marketing Budget Benchmark Study has given us a powerful tool to help our members become more savvy, effective marketers. Of course, that’s been a boon for our reputation in the industry, as well. A record number of firms participated in the 2021-2022 survey, which demonstrates the strategic importance that is being placed on marketing budgets across the industry.”
A meeting of minds
For many years, the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) had wanted to produce an ongoing piece of research for their members. Hinge had been collaborating on unrelated work with this professional association when the two decided to join forces and tackle the problem together.
An opportunity… and a problem
There was a great deal of interest in the accounting industry around marketing budgets: How much should a firm budget for marketing? And how should they spend that money? Marketing budgets seemed like a natural area to conduct some research. But there was a problem. Different firms included different expenses in their budgets, and some firms had no formal marketing budgets—which made collecting accurate data complicated.
A way forward
The Hinge Research Institute devised an elegant solution to the budget inconsistency problem. To normalize the data, we asked study participants to report specific marketing expenses rather than overall budgets. We then used this information to calculate standardized budgets that could be easily compared. Once past this hurdle, we move into the next phase.
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Designing the study
Among the factors we explored were which marketing techniques these firms used and how they planned to spend differently in the future. We also developed a set of detailed benchmarks against which other firms could compare their marketing programs.
Figuring out growth
Accounting firms perennially lag behind other professional services industries in both marketing spend and growth rate. So we included a special section in the study that explores the fastest growing accounting firms and how they invest their marketing dollars, resources and time. At last, accounting firms of every stripe could learn from their high-performing peers.
A going (and ongoing) concern
To date, the Hinge Research Institute and AAM have produced four editions of the Marketing Budget Benchmark Study, with a new report released every two years. Each year, the number of firms participating in the study has grown, making it the largest and most comprehensive accounting marketing study of its kind. And member engagement has increased substantially with every edition.