Utilize Custom Binders For Enhanced Branding and Marketing Impact

They are available in a wide range of colors, sizes, designs, spine types and production materials. The number of possible color, size and design combinations is virtually endless; while spine types range from spiral bindings that allow the finished project to lie flat to 3-ring easel options that enable it to stand on its own. There are also a wide range of outer covering options available, including high-end leather wraps and unique die-cut and adhered plastic options featuring turned-edge construction.

Beyond aesthetic appeal, many of these products are also produced with the environment in mind. Responsible manufactures committed to eco-friendly production practices often utilize renewable and sustainable materials in the manufacturing process. In fact, the core of many of these binders is comprised entirely of recycled chipboard made from 100% post-consumer waste. In addition to being earth-friendly, sustainable manufacturing practices have been shown to foster good will with consumers, as well.

As the name implies, custom binders can be tailored to meet the specific marketing, branding and presentation objectives of the customer. In fact, many businesses choose to incorporate their logos and corporate messaging into the design of the finished product. They do this to create professional and personalized presentation and marketing materials, as well as to solidify their corporate brand and image. They know the dollars they spend to establish a cohesive and professional appearance will be returned many times over in enhanced brand recognition and increased sales.

Marketing for benefit plan audit engagements is an integral part of many CPA firms' business development strategy. The delivery timetable, fees generated and ability to position the firm for additional work makes these engagements attractive. Many firms conduct a plan audit marketing program once or twice every season and give little thought to it the rest of the year. Most miss additional opportunities because deadlines have passed and there are other projects on the calendar. A rigid, deadline-focused, quick-moving process may result in missed engagement opportunities.

With some creativity, the same information used to qualify prospects for the plan audit-marketing effort can be "twisted" to drive other marketing programs. Key information such as the plan year-end, total number of participants and current audit firm (found on Schedule H or Schedule C of the Form 5500) will provide significant "marketing intelligence." With this information firms can modify EBP audit efforts to appeal to prospects at different times of the year and offer supporting services that may be required.

Every firm focuses their benefit plan audit marketing with the goal of obtaining 12/31 engagements. However, the "marketing intelligence" can open the door to four other types of opportunities:

o Financial Statement Audits. Many companies use the same CPA firm for both their financial statement and benefit plan audits. When they make a decision to change auditors they may be open to hiring two audit firms. If they are locked into their financial statement audit firm, pitch them the idea of "unbundling" the plan audit for independence, service or fees. This is becoming a common practice.

o Tax Planning & Return Preparation. If an organization is using a large firm for their auditing, do they need to pay the same high rates for their tax needs? A bank may require a large firm on the audit report, but have little interest in who handles tax matters.

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