Awards case study: learn how Intuit QuickBooks won gold for 'Best use of social media or influencer marketing' and 'Best SME-targeted campaign'
The disruption caused by Covid-19 is unprecedented. To survive, business owners had to find new ways to operate, and they turned to educational videos for help. To date, there are 35 million+ small business video search results on Covid-19, with viewers spending 45% more time watching self-help content.
Powering prosperity means providing small businesses with timely resources so that they have the best chance at success. The communications, customer experience and marketing teams recognised that Intuit QuickBooks' customers want guidance in the form of videos. The solution was Ask the Expert – a live ask-me-anything series that connects customers to experts.
A nimble team of five produced 62 live shows, which reached 6.5 million+ customers and garnered 1 million+ organic views with 78 000+ engagements at 11.7X the average engagement rate. Small businesses were deeply in-tuned to Intuit QuickBooks' shows, spending 15.6X more time than average watching. The total watch time is equivalent to 315 days. That’s 86% of your year watching QuickBooks videos – a company record for any Q&A series. Intuit QuickBooks saved £2.5 million in production and agency costs by running this in-house. It has now successfully scaled to other markets (India, Mexico, Canada and the US).
About the company
QuickBooks is an accounting software package developed and marketed by Intuit QuickBooks. QuickBooks products are geared mainly toward small and medium-sized businesses and offer on-premises accounting applications, as well as cloud-based versions that accept business payments, manage and pay bills, and payroll functions. Intuit QuickBooks in London has just under 250 staff.
Strategy – broader business issues the company is facing
Accessing the right information is like searching for a needle in a haystack. During a time when small businesses are most desperate for expert advice, they struggled to find free and reliable resources. That’s where Intuit QuickBooks stepped in. From strategy to execution, Intuit QuickBooks grounded in serving its customers, delivering value and share advice from experts that small businesses find relatable and knowledgeable on topics related to finance, mental wellbeing, government policy, and more. Intuit QuickBooks starts with social listening, observing customers’ search trends, consolidating top call drivers from the customer care workstream, then identifying field experts who can best address customers’ FAQs.
The customers are the decision-makers here – they tell Intuit QuickBooks through polls what questions they want to be answered and interact with experts live during the Q&A, letting Intuit QuickBooks know where they need help. After each Q&A, Intuit QuickBooks gathers their feedback to loop back to the next session.
Intuit QuickBooks highlighted the need for advice-driven content that gives small businesses practical help and guidance. To build on this editorial content series, Intuit QuickBooks divided the topics into five pillars:
- Government – explaining what support the Government is offering to small businesses and the self-employed, eligibility rules, how to access this and other Government benefits.
- Financial planning – offering advice on financial preparedness, business and supply continuity planning, digital skills, cashflow and bookkeeping advice, delaying leases, postponing or pivoting workstreams.
- HR – managing remote working, maintaining employee morale, hiring and training remotely, digital skills, implementing furlough.
- Wellbeing – general health and wellbeing advice around diet, fitness, mental health, etc.
- Parenting – focused advice for small business owners and their employees with children at home.
Cross-organisation and global partnership
Intuit QuickBooks' success would not have been possible without the teams' knowledge sharing, coordinated execution, and commitment to solving a customer problem. Together, the customer experience, social marketing and communications organisations launched a company-first major production of a live Q&A web series, which activated the QuickBooks owned social presence, QuickBooks community, media outlets, and Intuit QuickBooks' experts’ personal networks. Each org brought a unique set of skills to the table:
- Customer experience provided a best-in-class, always-on customer engagement strategy before, during and after the live Q&As.
- Communications tapped into its influencer community to connect Intuit QuickBooks' customers to experts they can trust.
- Social marketing planned and executed a cross-channel promotional and simulcast experience that reached customers wherever they are.
Intuit QuickBooks created a framework that is repeatable across markets, with plans to continue scaling Ask the Expert by bringing in the influencer and partners teams.
Objectives of the campaign
- Production efficiency: Number of total live Q&As.
- Customer engagement: Video views, average time spent on video, engagement (shares, comments, likes), net new channel subscribers.
- Customer feedback: Video ratings and qualitative verbatims.
- Business savings: Costs associated with the production, talent compensation, and promotion.
The target audience
Small business owners.
Media, channels or techniques used
Ask The Expert is available live and on-demand across Facebook and YouTube. The show is available in various formats on-demand after each show across Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter and all major podcast platforms.
Timescales of the campaign
Intuit QuickBooks put together the proposal in a hackathon-style brainstorm session in under 24 hours of the government lockdown announcement. The strategy was pitched to senior leadership and, once approved, Intuit QuickBooks set about how to execute the programme with a fail-fast mentality. The programme was launched within four days with the mindset that Intuit QuickBooks would try and find faults with every show produced so that the upcoming sessions could be improved. Every new speaker offers the opportunity to learn a new way of doing things and to produce a better show.
The same production done by an external agency would have cost £2.5 million, which Intuit QuickBooks was able to save by running Ask the Expert in-house with a team of five, with no media, influencer or partnership costs. Speaker influencers are not compensated for their time with a financial transaction, but Intuit QuickBooks does commit to promoting them organically across social platforms, with some going on to appear in media titles as a result of the exposure.
Intuit QuickBooks reached 6.5 million+ customers and garnered 1 million+ organic views with 78 000+ engagements at 11.7X the average engagement rate. Small businesses were deeply in-tuned with the shows, spending 15.6X more time than average watching. The total number of hours spent consuming Ask the Expert is equivalent to 315 days. That’s 86% of your year watching QuickBooks videos – a company record for any video series.
Every speaker has left a positive testimonial from their time being on Ask The Expert, meaning there's simply not enough to space to go through them all here. To see some of their public comments on LinkedIn, click here.
Fuel small business success
Customer inquiries through customer care and social listening uncovered that small businesses frequently ask for business and product assistance. Sometimes, topics extend to general wellbeing. However, Intuit QuickBooks' customers define prosperity. Ask the Expert serves to answer all questions, whether related to worker management or budgeting.
Building long-term customer relationships
When customers reach out to QuickBooks, it’s largely transactional. They needed help because something is broken. Ask the Expert has helped establish a more trusting relationship with customers by:
- Connecting them to experts.
- Proactively sharing value-add information.
- Following through on feedback.
As a result, more than 31% of Intuit QuickBooks' YouTube subscribers from the current financial year came from Ask the Expert – a signal that customers actively want to hear from Intuit QuickBooks.
B2B Marketing Awards 2020
This submission won gold for 'Best use of social media or influencer marketing' and 'Best SME-targeted campaign' at the B2B Marketing Awards this year.