Intuit: The next local Advertising Agency?

Summary:Acquiring customers is the “number one pain” of small businesses, so said Steven Aldrich, VP, Strategy and Innovation, Small Business Division, Intuit, yesterday in his Kelsey “Drilling Down on Local” Conference keynote.Aldrich put forth a myriad of small business census type data to make the case for why small businesses need help, marketing help!

Acquiring customers is the “number one pain” of small businesses, so said Steven Aldrich, VP, Strategy and Innovation, Small Business Division, Intuit, yesterday in his Kelsey “Drilling Down on Local” Conference keynote.

Aldrich put forth a myriad of small business census type data to make the case for why small businesses need help, marketing help!

Juxtaposing the “Fortune 500” to the nation’s 26 million small businesses (under 500 employees), Aldrich asserted the large business sector and the small business sector each account for approximately the same amount of non-farm private U.S. GDP: about $5 trillion.

“Small business is as big as big businesses,” Aldrich concluded.

All is not rosy in the small business world, however, according to the data put forth by Aldrich: While 6 million businesses are started every year, another approximately 5.6 million businesses cease operating, Aldrich reported.

For new businesses, finding customers is the biggest limiting factor to growth, Aldrich underscored, despite marketing efforts. Small businesses spend $110 billion on marketing, Aldrich noted.

Sixty percent of small businesses spent marketing dollars in the last 12 months, Aldrich said. He added that the Web is not favored by small businesses for their marketing spends: Less than 5% of small businesses' marketing budgets are allocated for online and in the last 12 months, only 22% of small businesses marketed online.

"Think local" when you think small business, Aldrich said. Eighty percent of small businesses do 75% of their business within 50 miles.

Aldrich indicated that many small businesses do not succeed because they can not find enough customers.

Intuit to the rescue, Aldrich suggested. The Intuit mission is to “help small businesses achieve their dreams,” Aldrich said. Towards that end, Intuit aims to not only help by providing financial management tools, it aims to “help small businesses with their front office needs,” the marketing and sales ones.

Intuit proclaims QuickBooks “delivers a full set of solutions designed to help small businesses succeed,” touting “track money coming into and out of your business.”

Nevertheless, Aldrich acknowledged Intuit is “finding it is hard” to add meaningful front office attract new money marketing tools to its roster of manage your money back office financial tools.

What’s new for QuickBooks 2007? “Make everyday business tasks easier with the latest version of QuickBooks financial Software,” Intuit offers.

Among the “new financial software features,” or “new products or services,” in QuickBooks 2007 are small business online marketing and sales ones, Aldrich underscored:

Advertise your business with Google AdWords,
Help customers finds your business by listing on Google Maps,
Showcase your retail store on the Web with QuickBooks Product Listing Service.

Aldrich suggested Intuit has only begun in its mission of helping small businesses achieve their dreams via Intuit marketing and sales tools support.

Aldrich said through Customer Driven Innovation (CDI), it will iterate its front office small business marketing and sales support.

During the Q & A, I discussed Steve Bennett, CEO, Intuit, commentary in the second quarter, fiscal 2007 earnings call, on the lack of tangible results to date of the “major strategic alliance” between Intuit and Google and the deal structure as it was announced last year by Intuit and Google.

I asked, specifically, about how Intuit’s mission to help small businesses achieve their dreams with marketing and sales tools impacts Intuit’s shareholder mission to drive income. I asked Aldrich for an indication of when a Google revenue share might kick in.

Aldrich reiterated his confidence in Intuit’s ability to build long-term shareholder value and a belief in the potential of the Google-Intuit alliance.

MORE COVERAGE FROM DRILLING DOWN ON LOCAL:

IAC’s Peter Horan: Front door content drives local strategy
Nokia gets local: Mapping, navigation smart2go platform
Deal time: Partnering drives local ad sales ecosystem
Yahoo unlocks local advertising value online
Online advertising meets ‘The User Revolution’
Growing local ad spend: Top seven predictions
The future of Local Search: Report from the field

Topics: Google

About

A former ZDNet blogger, Donna Bogatin is the founder of online directional media properties VIPOffers.com and UrbanSavings.com. In addition to her own ventures, Donna has been advising companies on Web-based business development since 1997, when she created and led an "Internet For Entrepreneurs" workshop for the Small Business Administra... Full Bio

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