Tag Archives: Intuit

4 Reasons Your Social Strategy Is Incomplete Without Mobile

It finally happened.  Last year social and mobile tied the knot in a private ceremony and now they’re having kids.  With smartphone adoption in the U.S. surging to new heights and social networking surpassing pornography as the #1 online activity, business as usual is obsolete.  Interactive strategies must now solve for social experiences on a mobile device and mobile content consumed socially.  Anything less is simply insufficient.

At Intuit, we’ve taken this task to heart.  Our CEO Brad Smith is bullish about reimagining our products and services to fully realize the fruits of a social, mobile and global world.  For my team, this means our social and mobile marketing strategies live within the same group and we plan activities simultaneously with collaboration from our web and product partners.  It’s not an easy journey but it is a necessary one.  I believe there are 4 reasons to begin building out a true SoMo (social/mobile) approach to business.

4 Reasons Your Social Strategy is Incomplete Without Mobile

1. A social-only strategy is a job half-done
Brand have an obligation to stay social in a mobile world.  As consumer usage shifts from online/desktop toward mobile, everything has changed.  And nothing has changed.  In Intuit’s accounting professional division, 70% of our accounting and tax professionals are on a smartphone, and about 30% of those professionals are using a tablet.  We’ve evolved our approach to serve customers in their channel of choice.  Users can access software, training, social information and content as easily from a mobile device as they can from their desktop. Concurrently, if you see product information on LinkedIn, a blog or a forum, we’ll also provide that info via email or a representative’s phone call.

Our goal is to “leave no desktop behind.”  We’re still going to support our desktop software users who are more comfortable and confident in that environment.  Meanwhile, we continue to build up capability for the future.  It’s no longer enough to have one page, one language or one mobile device.  The most powerful word-of-mouth marketing tool is a great product experience.  A focus on delighting costumers begins and ends with great product, with marketing being the gracious host.

2. Consumer connections are the offspring of social and mobile getting hitched
Social and mobile proliferation creates limitless opportunity for us to connect with real people.  Customers are engaging on their mobile device or via a social channel long before they visit Intuit.com, call a sales representative or interact with a retail worker.  For Intuit’s accounting professionals division, we now have a virtual seat at that table when customers are having the conversations about our brand. Then we can observe, influence and respond in real-time. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with users in ways that weren’t possible two years ago.  For instance, a tax professional can now do their client’s taxes while they’re on their iPad, sitting on the beach.  A CPA can get trained and certified in QuickBooks Online on their iPhone while they’re waiting in an airport.  After completion, they can even share progress across social channels and tell their clients that they are certified with one click of a button to their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.  All made possible by the marriage of SoMo.

3. Technology will only continue to shrink the world, raise the bar and stretch our boundaries
Brands must now be trilingual, with complete mastery of social, mobile and global best practices because customers expect it.  Once you shift to a social, mobile-first mindset, you’re automatically  global because conversations take place anywhere across the world.  No longer is there a barrier.  We recently launched global-ready training that can be viewed on any mobile device across the board, whether it’s Windows, iOS or Android.  We’re exploring global-ready experiences on YouTube page that auto-detect location and adjust language and content settings.  Being device and geography agnostic requires organizational commitments.  For global corporations, it’s inadequate to have one web experience, one language or one mobile device.  Relevancy requires having a portfolio mindset.

4. Brands cannot live by Facebook tabs alone
When I started in social media three-plus years ago, every campaign was centered on a gorgeous Facebook tab with a promotional call to action.  It was a creative extension of your traditional marketing campaign. These days, you need robust photos, video, text and content on the timeline that really create authentic engagement.  It’s no longer enough to build out a core tab function.  Facebook is doing a lot of work to really integrate more of those functions into the mobile dialogue, but for the most part, users are in their newsfeed – wanting to hear from their friends and family.  Not only does it provide a barrier for brands, but also it requires we earn our way into the conversation. Simply put, it’s sink or swim time.

As always, perfection is elusive so the focus should be on progressing your efforts year over year.  Would love to hear your thoughts on how social and mobile intersect to impact how you go-to-market, or not.

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Filed under Learnings & Insight, Mobile, Social Media

How Do You Drive Innovation? Intuit Wants to Know

Everyone has a story to tell about a time when their innovation made an impact on a campaign, client or in the community.  Intuit wants to hear your story.

We’re looking for 15 individuals to crown as “Intuit Innovators.”  From Nov. 8 until Dec. 19, small business owners and financial professionals from across the country can share their stories of innovation on the Intuit Accountants Facebook page. Whether it be serving clients with technology or supporting the community by giving back, they can submit their stories via video, text or photo.  Winners receive Apple iPads and Intuit Rewards Cards for up to $100.

Watch our quick Intuit Innovators video below for an overview of the campaign and how it works! 

Can’t wait to hear the stories.

Official Rules

Intuit Accountants Mobile Site

 

 

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Filed under Innovation, intuit, Social Media

What is Intuit’s Approach To Building Agile Content?

 

Back in April 2012 I led a discussion at the PR Newswire Content Marketing & Communications Leadership Forum in Dallas to discuss best practices and swap updates.  PR Newswire wrote a quick overview of the session that can be viewed on their blog.

During a video interview after the event they asked me a very simple question: what is your approach to agile communications and content?

I gave a not-so-simple answer.  Check it out below.

 

 

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Filed under Innovation, Social Media

3 Steps To Discovering Your Personal Brand

Q: What words best describe Adrian Parker?

In its simplest form, your personal brand is the answer to this all-important question: what do people think about me?

Or, stated a more complex way, what equity does my reputation have in the minds of those who matter?

For most of us, our personal branding efforts consists primarily of doing a good job, working hard and treating people with respect.  After all, this is what leads to promotions and positive job evaluations, right?  Maybe, but why leave something so important as your reputation to chance?  Why not invests a little time to discover how your peers see you now, before you need anything.

We recently did just that at our office and I’d like to share how truly easy and eye-opening it can be.  In fact, the word cloud above is my personal brand at Intuit (so far, wait till they really get to know me).  Follow these really simple steps to get an understanding of what your peers think about you and start managing your proactively personal brand.

  1. Make a list of people you work with. They should be familiar enough with your work style and personality so that their feedback is relevant.  Also try to mix it up between direct reports, your supervisors, cross-functional peers and even people you assume may not have the most positive opinion of you.  The goal is get a balanced point-of-view from a good sample audience.  Try to list between 8 – 12 people.
  2. Send this list to someone on your team to serve as your “survey administrator.”  This person will send a quick email to everyone on your list (blind carbon copies or BCCs are OK) asking a very simple question:  What 3 – 5 words best describe your feelings and thoughts when you think about [your name]? What words best characterize the impression he/she has in your organization?In this email, ensure your survey administrator promises confidentiality while encouraging frank, direct comments.
  3. Collect all of the words and create a word cloud that reflects the feedback.  Have your administrator dump all of the words (duplicates included) into a word cloud generator so you can marvel at your brand blueprint.  Wordle.comis a free and easy word cloud generator that I used when doing this exercise.  After generating the cloud, your administrator simply sends you the finished product – read ’em and weep.

I was surprised by a few of the descriptors on my list (Acquiescent? My wife wishes…) and also pleased that there were positive attributes to be found.  I’m so glad someone thinks I’m smooth and happy.  Give it a shot and see what brand positioning you really have.  Asking for feedback is a step in the right direction.

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Filed under Innovation, Leadership, Learnings & Insight

8 Lessons I Learned From Leading Change at Intuit

Five months ago I resigned  as Director of Social & Digital Strategy at RadioShack to embark upon a new challenge with Intuit.  As if the task of building an enterprise-wide social practice for one global brand wasn’t enough, I was brought to Intuit with an ambitious goal: do it again, faster.

But this time around things are different.  When I began crafting the blueprint for RadioShack’s digital proficiency, I was entering an empty lot.  There was no foundation or framework, no sheetrock or shingles – simply potential.  Conversely, at Intuit’s Accounting Professionals Division I’m more renovator than architect, responsible for casting a vision, enhancing the skills and upgrading efforts.  I traded my jackhammer for a paint brush.

In just a short time, I’ve learned numerous insights about effectively leading change for lasting results.  Last week I was invited to share these lessons with my fellow Intuit execs and I believe they apply to leaders outside our organization as well.

1. Package before distribution

During my first week at Intuit, before I memorized my telephone extension or PC password, I delivered a framework to the entire team that summarized how I would approach change.  This package, entitled Project R.U.N., immediately gave everyone a common language and chronology for the months ahead.  By packaging the ingredients of change into smaller, traceable containers the team was better able to understand my perspective.  Even the heaviest items are easier to hold when you give them handles.  (Note: I’ll unveil the inner-workings of Project R.U.N. in a later post)

2. Let the team in the lab

From re-orgs and acquisitions to layoffs and promotions, oftentimes organizational change is something that simply happens to us.  We waltz into the office one day and everything is different.  In some instances it is easier for a leader to administer change much like you would a drug treatment.  Lockdown the lab. Concoct the cure.  Convince the boss.  Inject the drug. Observe the behaviors.  But are the side-effects of this approach worth it?  In my case, I used surveys, one-on-one meetings, team offsite events and informal conversations to deliberately let the larger team into the lab with me.  Sure it takes more time in the beginning but I’m betting on the long-term benefits.

3. Decide how to decide

Unsurprisingly enough, great decisions are the product of good planning.  Effectively making decisions requires leaders to carefully consider the proper approach for gathering critical inputs that impact change.  Will you consult with select colleagues and then make a decision?  Or perhaps you seek 100% consensus among the team?  And then there’s the good ol’ fashion unilateral decision where you pull the trigger all by yourself.  No matter your approach, it’s important to diagnose your particular business situation and then select the criteria that works for you.

4. Acceptance vs. Agreement

Acceptance is critical, agreement is convenient.  Don’t confuse them.   Acceptance is the oxygen of change, an essential requirement for building shared vision towards an area of enhancement.  Acceptance listens to unique and opposing perspectives by going beyond simply respecting an individual’s right to an opinion and actually valuing it.  Agreement is simply the support of an idea, a convenient nice-to-have but far from a requirement for successful change.  On the other hand, acceptance of your team’s point-of-view helps translate individual perspectives into collective action.

Group session from a Project R.U.N. meeting at Intuit.

5. Inspire by doing

Just like Hernan Cortes sunk his fleet of ships when he arrived in the New World to signal to his men that turning back was not an option, leading change means modeling the behaviors you desire among your team.  I didn’t slash my tires to demonstrate to the Intuit team that I wasn’t turning back, but I did attempt to model social and business best practices to build trust and credibility.  For instance, when we wanted to incorporate more video content into our customer conversations I began incorporating videos into my team communications. The fear of uncertainty is the biggest enemy to progress, making a leader’s actions vitally important to cultivating courage.  As a leader, to figure out what actions need modeling ask yourself these 2 questions: What is the #1 thing only I can do?  What activity will have the biggest impact on the business if done with excellence?  The intersection of those 2 answers is your starting point.

6. Speak honestly and openly

Weaknesses, challenges, gaps, fears and hopes aren’t values you’ll find in any business case but they are all a natural part of leading human change.  While becoming a cyborg would certainly prove beneficial, a robotic approach to change is no replacement for honest conversations.  Don’t be afraid to share your own story and be transparent about the road ahead.  To spark real conversations, start with real inquiries: What would you do if you were me?  What are you most concerned about?  Given this change, what changes the most for you individually?  What big win would you like to contribute to?  How can I help you?  How can I do better?

7. Know yourself

For me, change in any area of my life has a way of becoming a much-needed mirror into areas of strength and improvement.  It’s beneficial to identify and own your personal attributes – both good and bad – since they affect your response to change.  What triggers you at work?  What workplace behaviors do you find totally reprehensible?  What actions encourage you?  Our team spent a day going through the StrengthsFinder 2.0 book and exercise to discover and share our natural talents.  By increasing your emotional and cultural intelligence and awareness of team dynamics, you increase your change IQ.

8. Fear fuels creativity

Margaret Wheatley says it best: “The things we fear most in organizations — fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances — are the primary sources of creativity.”  Conflicts are opportunities to change, invent and innovate for the better.  Remember, feedback is a gift you can only unwrap with your ears.

At Intuit, I’ve learned to embrace change and leverage it as a signature capability.  As innovation becomes the norm and disruptive forces shape how we go-to-market, leading change will become synonymous with leading.

What lessons has change taught you? Leave a comment below as I’d love to compile this feedback for future blog posts.

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Filed under Leadership, Learnings & Insight

The State of Location Based Marketing

Yesterday’s Explore conference was a great opportunity to ignite my appreciation for smart people doing cool things in digital.  Jason Falls‘ signature event was well attended, well catered and included several social power-houses from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  I’m not only a social practitioner, I’m also a fan of good thinking.

Aaron pontificates. Adrian preaches.

Aaron Strout, who literally wrote the book on location based marketing, invited me to speak during his session, The State of Location Based Marketing.

Though I was 1 week into a new job and knee-deep in to-dos, I’m glad I didn’t decline.  We chatted it up about several developments, perspectives and predictions in location technology.

Aaron was kind enough to post a list of resources on WCG’s blog so I highly encourage a click over to that.  Below are some of the high points of our conversation:

Starting a Location Program

When we started the inaugural location marketing program at RadioShack, there wasn’t a big appetite for embracing this unproven tactic.  This created the perfect petri dish for a digital experiment because no one cared if we succeeded or failed, as long as we didn’t lose money.  This low bar made the phenomenal results even more noteworthy.  Through iterative campaigns with foursquare, MyTown, Google Places and Gowalla, we were able to prototype a social/mobile/local campaign (SoMoLo) that yielded positive business results.

The key to starting was just that, starting.  Perhaps the biggest hurdle was ensuring store compliance with the check-in offers and proper tracking of the transactions.  These were executional items solved by education.  Simply starting a test is the best way to exercise a company’s SoMoLo muscles and assessing whether or not you’re ready for the big time.

Pitfalls to Watch

When Aaron asked about potential pitfalls agencies and brands should watch out for when developing a location marketing plan, I immediately thought of two that plague many a social souls:

  1. Crossing SignalsRelatively few mobile users are broadcasting their activities via location based applications.  The overwhelming majority actually access geo-location services on their cell phones to receive information like directions, price comparisons, reviews and other data that enhances a physical activity.  Contrary to popular opinion, not every one is a social butterfly.  Brands must become butlers and serve consumers information on their terms.  The way to add the most value is not by merely broadcasting marketing messages, but by creating content consumers can receive when they’re ready.  Check your signal.
  2. Shortsighted Thinking – Can you imagine if people were texting and Tweeting during the O.J. Simpson trial?  Me either.  Because in 1995 the average cell phone sent a measly .4 text messages per day and Twitter was an unborn idea inside the skull of a NYU college student.  Fast-forward to the present and the average texter sends or receives 41.5 messages per day!  Why should brands care?  Why will I care?  Because as smartphone adoption increases, location based tools will become the norm.  Don’t make the mistake of taking a short-term view of today’s emerging technology.  Instead, test the applications that are right for your business and make your mistakes now.  Think long term.

SoMoLo at Intuit

More than 40% of the nation’s tax filings this year will flow through Intuit software.  The very DNA of our brand is about delighting customers with service, ease and convenience.  As a software company this means we lack one critical component of a location based marketing plan – locations.

Or do we?

Enabling consumers with software and services doesn’t require a physical location, it simply requires a connection.  In my new role, I’m looking forward to cracking the code on how we leverage SoMoLo to enable our clients.  Targeting small business owners, accountants and consumers via a location offer on foursquare or Google Places is highly efficient.  Or how about empowering individuals to find financial help and resources via social and local recommendations?  Better yet, why not offer 1-click access on smartphones for downloading tax incentives and guides that are customized to your specific area?  I have work to do, can’t wait.

Tweet of Wisdom

In closing, Aaron asked me to offer a final, Twitter-sized pearl of wisdom in 140 characters or less.  Let me know what you think:

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, Location Based Marketing, Mobile