Eight Tips for Staying One Step Ahead of the Competition (And Maybe the Client, Too)

A guide to trend-spotting for accountants.

by Bruce W. Marcus
Professional Services Marketing 3.0

Learn to question everything you do. Ask yourself the question, “This is the way I did it yesterday. Is it the best way to do it today?” You’ll be amazed at the answer.

In every aspect of life, there is nothing – not an article, not a process, not an event – that is unaffected by something else. That’s why everything you do – large or small – will ultimately change, whether you choose it or not.

Is change a marketing tool? Absolutely, if understanding and dealing with it puts you a step ahead of your competitors. And remember, evolution is constant, and change is coming – whether you participate in it or not. Change is not an option, when the old way is made obsolete by competition.

And so the response to the changing needs of the marketplace, and the need to compete, completely altered the nature of the practice – and continues to do so. In three and a half decades, there has been a substantial evolution. It’s a microcosm of the evolutionary cycle. It continues today.

While evolution can rarely be accelerated, nor its ultimate destination be accurately foreseen, there may be ways in which it can be accommodated. Accommodation is essential, simply because control of events, when possible, mitigate unpleasant surprise.

Several things beyond outright behavior modification can make it possible for both professionals and marketers to participate in the change process:

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Bruce W. Marcus

About the Author

Bruce W. Marcus remains a pioneer in the modern practices of professional services marketing even after his death in 2014 at age 89. He is the author of the seminal work, Professional Services Marketing 3.0, published by CPA Trendlines. he Association for Accounting Marketing named a lifetime achievement award in his honor.

In 1951 (with a degree in Economics and Philosophy), he joined the then-Big Eight accounting firm, Peat Marwick Mitchell to establish the firm’s library, where he developed an article writing and seminar program that successfully promoted the firm’s reputation.

He has served as a public relations and marketing executive or consultant to most of the international accounting firms, and many large and small law firms.

His book, Competing For Clients (1986) was one of the first to delineate the new practices of professional services marketing, followed by more than a dozen books on professional services marketing, real estate marketing, investor relations, and international accounting standards.

His first newsletter, The Marcus Report (1986), was followed by the award-winning www.marcusletter.com in 1995 — one of the longest running letters on marketing for lawyers and accountants.

He served on the editorial boards of several leading professional services publications, a contributor to many publications, and has been a keynote speaker at major conferences.

He taught one of the first courses in professional services marketing at the Fordham University Graduate School of Business, and lectures frequently at the Fordham University Law School.

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