A True Marketing Marriage

Intuit’s Adrian Parker views social and mobile as a marketing marriage made in heaven. With more than one-third of Facebook users accessing the network from a mobile device, and over 50 percent of Twitter users doing the same, Parker says it just made sense for the company to accommodate for these experiences simultaneously.

“Our mission was to launch a new social Center of Excellence that leveraged the power of peer influence and technology to drive growth,” says Parker, head of social, mobile, and emerging media for Intuit’s Accounting Professionals Division. “So I organized our social and mobile teams around the work needed to be done. Collaboration isn’t a cakewalk in a large organization, but we keep it top of mind by recalibrating around the true head of marketing at Intuit -- the customer.”

Parker, who will speak at the 2013 ANA Digital & Social Media Conference, July 14-16, in Dana Point, Calif., discusses the importance of being “trilingual” -- how mobile is better serving accounting professionals, digital measurement, and more. 

Q. In a recent blog post, you suggested that customers expect brands to be trilingual, with complete mastery of social, mobile, and global best practices. Please explain why.

A. Global is the new local. More than 70 percent of the customers who purchase software from Intuit’s Accounting Professionals Division have a smartphone. They’re using technology to grow their own practice and identify contacts on a worldwide scale. As our customers’ relationship with technology changed, we’ve had to adapt our thinking so that social, mobile, and global are part of our culture, not merely part of a campaign. Our flagship Quickbooks product is a staple for many of the 500 million business owners in Canada, Australia, the UK, India, and all over the globe. As they migrate their data and their lives to the cloud, we’re helping them make that leap with virtual training and local events to boost their knowledge. Our biggest defense against complacency is our customer. We listen to her desires and design experiences that delight her. Even if we can’t out-innovate our way to the cutting edge, we can out-serve our way into her consideration.

Q. How is mobile, in particular, changing the way you reach and serve accounting professionals? Please provide an example.

A. Mobile has shifted from the third screen of preference, behind TV and the desktop, to being the first screen. This shift signals an expectation by the marketplace that companies engage on their terms to earn and keep their business. Many professionals take training to build their competency of our product and even go on to get certified as an expert. We recently launched Quickbooks Online training that was accessible from tablets and smartphones because we found that many customers were taking these online courses at home after work, or they desired to learn while waiting in an airport. To date, we’ve had thousands of customers take the mobile-ready training, leading to a four-and-a-half-times increase in product confidence and a doubling of the amount of recommendations.

Q. How does Intuit approach digital measurement?

A. From a marketing perspective, data is best when it’s invisible. When it powers decisions and informs experiences, it has the power to springboard companies to the next level of innovation. People are creating digital information every minute of their lives, and we can review this data for patterns and trends. We now have quantitative information that has never been available before at scale. The core of our focus is on how data informs marketing and customer activity. Twenty-five percent of the nation’s GDP flows through an Intuit pipeline via services like invoices, payroll, tax returns, and mobile banking. We can use these digital breadcrumbs to make lives better for customers and improve their decision-making. Better interest rates, bigger tax returns, and accurate accounting are something worth striving for.

Q. Despite the rapid growth of emerging media, what challenges still exist?

A. What a business measures has an overwhelming effect on the business culture. We have implemented attribution tracking in our social efforts to measure sales contributions like Web traffic and e-commerce revenue, and also social contributions like share-of-voice, engagement, and audience growth. We’re working to tie the two worlds together more closely and increase organizational understanding of the digital life cycle. To be candid, our former approach could best be described as shoving social experiences into a sales funnel. We all know how that story ends. The biggest challenge for our social Center of Excellence is leading the conversation away from transactions and revenue and toward trust and relationships. Our renewed goal is to deliver actionable data that will help us make better decisions across all media, and approach digital measurement on an effort-level basis, not a channel-specific one.


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