Marketing as a fugue

accounting marketing

“Marketing is boring. It’s just the same thing, over and over.” If you believe that, then check out this fugue for a minute:



Now that your entire brain is quivering with joy, let me point out that what you heard was basically the same thing over and over. What makes it such an amazing experience (besides the incredible talent of Dario Ronchi, the pianist) is the way Bach put that simple tune in contrapuntal juxtaposition. It’s the same tune repeated many times yet it’s deeply satisfying, engaging the brain on multiple levels.

We hear it in different keys, different registers, and played against itself at different points of the melody. The same tune is both subject and answer, point and counterpoint. Would you call it boring? I think not! More like mind-blowing from start to finish – and completely unforgettable.

Now back to your accounting firm. You’ve got a core marketing message based on your unique differentiators, specific services, and target audience. Yes, you’re going to say it over and over, but it certainly doesn’t have to be boring. While most of us are not Johann Sebastian Bach, we can use the same techniques he did in his fabulous fugues.

Rather than Bach’s different registers, we’ll play your core tune in various social media platforms (lighter tunes for Facebook and Twitter, the heavier bass notes on LinkedIn, naturally). We’ll tweak the emphasis and vary the tune superficially to keep listeners on their toes, but it’s always recognizable as that same core message.

His subject and subsequent response, which becomes subject as the other hand turns to response, will be our case studies, blog posts, and core website content. They go together perfectly, complementing one another even though they’re not doing exactly the same thing at the same time.

White papers, slide decks, speaking engagements, articles submitted to professional journals, panel discussions, networking events and all the other ways you let your firm sing – these are the grace notes and subtle sub-tunes that support the core notes. They don’t stand alone, but they do a lot to enhance the piece as a whole.

Timing, repetition and an engaging theme combine to make Bach’s fugues both powerful and compelling, not to mention delightful. The same holds true in accounting marketing. Your message might never inspire shivers of bliss (okay, it definitely won’t do that) but when you allow the various elements of your marketing plan to play together in a graceful pattern, your accounting firm’s song becomes a real work of art.

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Sarah Warlick

Sarah Warlick founded Proof Positive Content to provide professional service firms with high-quality content that resonates with their target audiences. Sarah's writing appears in books, on the websites of over a dozen Top 100 Accounting Firms and in Accounting Today, Forbes and other leading publications, but usually under another name. Ghostwriters rarely get the glory - their clients do!


  1. Lee Gardner on November 21, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Sarah Warlick must be an artist as well as a gifted writer to be able to use a fugue as explanation for good writing. She’s right, of course!

    • Sarah Warlick on November 21, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      Why thank you, Lee! I’m no artist but I certainly do appreciate a good musician.