Small Business, Big Game Winner: 5 Questions with Intuit SVP Ken Wach


Intuit Death Wish Coffee

No—Intuit is not going into the coffee business. But its Super Bowl ad is. Once again the financial software brand is donating its Super Bowl ad spot to one deserving small business as part of its updated Small Business, Big Game competition.

“Small businesses drive our economy, but rarely stand in the national spotlight” reasons Intuit, the parent of QuickBooks, TurboTax and Quicken. This year’s winner? New York’s Death Wish Coffee. (See brandchannel’s recent interview with Death Wish founder and owner Mike Brown.)

Runners-up Vidler’s 5 & 10 and Chubbies Shorts both received a check for $25,000 and $15,000 worth of local media and advertising.

brandchannel spoke with Ken Wach, Senior VP of Marketing for Intuit’s Small Business Group, about the brand’s commitment to small businesses.

brandchannel: Death Wish told us it is stockpiling products in anticipation of the impact Intuit’s ad will have on it. They’ve already won. Meanwhile, by helping one small business how does Intuit reach other in-need small businesses and maximize attention to its own brand?

Ken Wach: This year, we ran Intuit QuickBooks Small Business, Big Game on the OWN IT Network, a trusted network of small business owners supporting each other in growing their businesses. While the grand prize winner of Small Business, Big Game receives an expenses-paid, 30-second television commercial during professional football’s biggest game, dozens of small businesses won cash prizes based on their contributions to the program, the two runners-up received $25,000 as well as local advertising, and the seven other finalists each received a $10,000 prize as well as an ad in their local paper.

More broadly, by participating in the program, small businesses are able to share stories and best practices with each other on OWN IT Network. They have fostered relationships and will continue to be able to do the same with the more than 87,000 members on the network after the program ends.

bc: A recent Wall Street Journal profile noted that intuit learned it wasn’t able to sustain the momentum after the program ended. In response, this year you required simple registration for the 15,000 contest participants and are measuring how many “are still engaged with Intuit’s platforms six to 12 months” later. What level of continued engagement would Intuit want to see to bring this format back next year?

Wach: We will be looking at levels of engagement on the OWN IT Network and comparing them to engagement levels of OWN IT Network members who joined without having anything to do with the campaign. The hope is that Small Business, Big Game participants on the network are as engaged as other small businesses participating in the network.

bc: A lot of attention has been thrown to the Super Bowl spot and the million-plus views the Death Wish ad already has. But Intuit’s #OWNIT “Real Insights from Real Small Businesses” five-part series (Mwanzi Co., Gus’ Pretzel Shop, The Firecracker Press, Twotality and Five Stride Skate Shop) has nearly a million combined views as well. Why has this series been such a hit and what are Intuit’s plans for it in the future?

Wach: After many years of working closely with small businesses, we’ve learned that authenticity goes a long way. Small business owners are busy. They don’t have time for, and often don’t pay attention to, brands touting their products and services. Instead, they want to learn and hear from others like them. That is why the “Real Insights from Real Small Businesses” series and QuickBooks Small Business, Big Game contest are so successful. They are genuine and real, and small businesses can relate to and learn from their peers.

bc: Intuit’s expertise covers small business accounting and tax needs. Is there any plan to get into business community and brand experience assistance? What is the next small business front for Intuit?

Wach: Intuit QuickBooks is on a mission to fuel small business success, and that comes in a variety of ways. We currently see opportunities in helping the growing self-employed segment—including the on-demand economy—and serving small businesses globally.

bc: Of all of the top 10 “Small Business, Big Game” possible spots, which was your favorite? And don’t say Death Wish… unless it’s true!

Wach: Death Wish Coffee—it really was my favorite from day one.

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