Customers Rock!

A blog about customers, their experiences, and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock!

Customers Engage with TurboTax

Posted by Becky Carroll on April 15, 2008

by Amit Gupta Today is the day many Americans dread: the day when their income taxes are due to the government.  TurboTax decided to make it fun for their customers with some cool contests which promote customer engagement.

TurboTax is made by Intuit and is a tax preparation software program.  TurboTax’s focus is on making taxes easy.  Intuit’s focus is squarely on the customer. 

I recently spoke with Brian who does online marketing for Intuit.  Brian shared information with me about the two customer contests run by TurboTax, TurboTax Rap (2007) and Tax Laugh (2008). 

TurboTax Rap was a contest to promote customer engagement, with rapper Vanilla Ice as their celebrity spokesman.  Consumer submitted their own original “rap” video about TurboTax.  The contest site included all the rules/tips for submission.  Here is an example:

“Props are always good.  We are not just talking about a leaf blower or a hairbrush microphone.  But actual shoutout’s to TurboTax or Vanilla Ice.  Let them know how special they are.”

The entries were then also posted on YouTube.  The results were unexpected.  It generated lots of interest, curiousity, as well as some awesome content!  There were 450 entries, and although most were not stellar, about 30 of them were really quite good.  Per Brian,

“These customers were passionate.  They included the core reasons to believe in their videos.  I am not sure an agency could have done some of this!”

The winning entry has had over 330,000 views on YouTube (and the winner took home $25,000 to boot).  It didn’t cost Intuit much money to put on this contest, and they had a lot of customer engagement as a result.  For your viewing pleasure, here is the winning video:

Of course, just like any social media activity, customers have the opportunity to share their thoughts.  Some viewers didn’t like the winner (“Too many special effects”) and preferred the low-tech video which won 2nd place.  A learning for TurboTax was to have customers and other viewers rate the videos or vote on them.

This year, TurboTax created a TaxLaugh contest, with the tagline, “Comedy is hard.  TurboTax is easy.”  The top 20 videos/finalists were chosen through voting on YouTube.  Fewer entries this year (hey, comedy is hard), but again, great quality and passion that can only come from customers.  I especially liked this one, which wasn’t really comedy but was very clever and still promoted TurboTax – using ping pong balls!  You’ve gotta watch this (which has had over 500,000 views):

This year, TurboTax also sponsored a Promoter Contest.  Those viewers who were the best at promoting a video won prizes like a trip to Southern California to see the TaxLaugh celebrity comedian spokesman Jay Mohr or a Flip video camera.  Winners included the most viral TurboTax promoter and the most viral TurboTax choice.  The winning promoter had over 100,000 views!  Talk about using word of mouth to get things buzzing.   Also, check out the interesting viral map put together by Brickfish, who helped with the viral promotion.

While taxes may not be a laughing matter, TurboTax has found a cool way to connect with their customers, to promote themselve to non-customers, and to increase engagement in both categories.  Plus, they are part of a very customer-focused company.  You rock, er rap, TurboTax and Intuit!

(Photo credit: Amit Gupta)


3 Responses to “Customers Engage with TurboTax”

  1. For the past few years, we’ve had a franchise “Liberty Tax” in our area that hires folks to stand on the side of the street dressed as Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty.

    I used them once despite the hokey marketing. Now I use a full time CPA that I trust more than the other options I have, (Including the Box!)

  2. Scott, thanks for sharing that interesting example! Regardless of what consumers/business people use to prepare their taxes, TurboTax’s rapport with their consumers will continue to grow with this kind of engagement.

  3. Eric Brown said

    Becky, Hello
    I really enjoy your blog posts, and this one really speaks to what we are attempting at our small, but boutique apartment management company Urbane Apartments in Royal Oak MI, by creating Urbane Evangelists. We are tapping into our Resident base for things like using Colton, and his CD’s in our Move In Baskets (the guy sounds like Michael Bouble’ and has created his own CD), Nina, is considering taking the On Line Concierge, Aaron is quoting and coming up with creative ideas for murals in Urbane laundry rooms, (his murals look life like) Kenny who took professional grade photos of several Urbane buildings and posted them on the internet as cool Urban Buildings without even being asked, and the list goes on. Urbane has a very unique opportunity regarding our resident profile, they are young, very creative and very talented and they want to engage, all we need to do is help provide them with a suitable platform to do so, and they, the Urbane Evangelists will become Self Marketers for us and help us lead our overall customer base to a place no other can or will, further pushing us to Break from the Pack of the commodity apartment world, and creating our own market.
    It seems that some sort of contest is a great idea, similar to what Intuit has done. The fact that Intuit has created such Brand Loyalty is pretty amazing
    Thanks again for the great content, Eric

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