Why Intuit repeats as small business marketer of the year

At the recent Warrillow Summit for marketers who target small businesses, five companies were recognized for their outstanding marketing programs. Of these, Intuit was named Marketer of the Year for the second time. After the event I talked with Kira Wampley, the company’s director of small business marketing, to gain additional insight into the company’s Small Business United effort.

According to Kira, this program was a component of a broader strategy to bring Intuit forward as a leading brand that serves the small business market. In the past the company’s product brands (Quicken, QuickBooks, Turbo Tax) were front and center. But as the company expanded services into areas such as payroll and Web hosting, Intuit needed to resolve the cognitive dissonance of customers wondering why their accounting software company would be offering Web marketing services. Elevating the Intuit brand was the answer. And the Small Business United program was part of telling this broader story.

The theme for this effort was established through a video produced by Intuit’s agency. But the heart of the program was the Small Business United website and the contest run on the site, which had a terrific viral effect. What impressed me about this program was the integration of the “brand building” purpose and the “call to action” impact. This program drove increased website visits, increased conversions, engaged more customers with Web content and improved positive online talk scores. Too many companies view their brand building and call to action efforts as separate programs. Intuit took an approach that I believe others should emulate.

So, who else is doing a good job of executing brand and CTA communications in a unified manner? Why does it seems so hard to take this approach?