Intuit, the Mountain View, California-based maker of business and financial management software, has made the move from packaged product to a purely online digital strategy. The company started in 1983 with its Quicken personal finance software--one of the early success stories in boxed software. But the company has recently decided to shed its PC roots and become a cloud software company, selling Quicken to a private equity firm in order to focus the business on their Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), or cloud, offerings--its TurboTax software and QuickBooks Online.
"[Intuit] is a classic case of a onetime disrupter being challenged by an upstart with a new approach and a simpler product," reported The New York Times, referring to Xero, a New Zealand company that offers a flexible, online accounting system for as little as $9 a month.
Intuit has made a bold move to embrace its digital strategy, which Jeanne Ross, Principle Research Scientist at MIT Sloan's Center for Information Research, defines as “an integrated business strategy inspired by the capabilities of powerful, readily accessible technologies and responsive to constantly changing market conditions.”
According to the The New York Times, Intuit’s digital reinvention strategy is bearing fruit. Subscriptions to its QuickBooks Online software grew 49% last year, and overall revenue grew 23%. QuickBooks Online now connects with about 2,000 apps, and the open structure has increased customer retention and helped feed customers into the TurboTax side of the business, especially its online version.
In one sense, this strategy shift makes sense--more and more people are turning to cloud computing. However, according to the McKinsey & Company article, "From box to cloud: An approach for software development executives," only 8% of the revenues generated by the top 100 software vendors originate from SaaS models (as of early 2015). And seven of the ten biggest companies draw less than 5% of their software revenues from SaaS. Nonetheless, the global SaaS market is projected to grow from $49B in 2015 to $67B in 2018.
Perhaps the most important business lesson here is that Intuit paid attention to the disruption it was seeing in its market and realized the company must change. And to do so it must embrace its digital strategy. So ask yourself: is my organization being threatened by a disruptive business model? If so, how and when do we react?
Learn more about digital strategies in the MIT Sloan Executive Education program, Revitalizing Your Digital Business Model. You can also view Jeanne Ross's complimentary webinar, Digital Disruption: Transforming your Company for the Digital Economy.
Solidifying your position in the marketplace is all about getting the right exposure, and savvy business owners know there’s more than one way to get the job done. Blogging and staying active on social media are two of the most popular ways to get your company’s brand to mind. But if you’re interested in stepping up your marketing efforts, developing a case study is an excellent opportunity to showcase your business’s success while proving to prospective customers that you’ve helped one or more existing clients deal with a particular problem.
What Is a Case Study?
A case study tells the story of how your business helped a client solve a problem or achieve a goal. Specifically, it should detail what obstacles the client faced, how you were able to work through them, and what the net benefit was. From a marketing perspective, a case study aims to motivate readers to learn more about your business’s products or services.
How It Helps Your Business
Writing a case study involves a certain amount of time and effort, but it has the potential to reap some huge rewards for businesses owners who are willing to make the investment. It gives you a chance to demonstrate your expertise in the industry using real-world situations that highlight your experience. It’s easier to prove to prospective clients what makes your business stand out when they have concrete examples to refer to. If you’re still not sold on the idea, consider this: According to the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Prof’s 2014 B2B Content Marketing Report, 73 percent of the marketers surveyed are using case studies to connect with audiences.
A case study also allows you to share richer details a about how your products work or what kinds of services you offer. The more benefits you’re able to show, the better the odds are of generating new leads and attracting clientele who may be facing a similar issue. The key is to keep your language direct and stay focused on the positive outcome. A case study is meant to be a soft sell, so you want to avoid sounding overly pitchy.
Finding Your Angle
An effective case study is more than just a recitation of facts. It has a narrative flow that keeps your audience engaged and sparks their interest in what your business is doing. You want to be as transparent as possible about what sets you apart from the competition and what kind of results you’ve achieved. That being said, it’s important to choose your angle carefully to make sure you’re connecting with your target audience.
For instance, if your clients are primarily other small businesses, you’ll want to tailor your study to reflect the issues that are most relevant to the entrepreneurial crowd. Finding the right subject can be a little more challenging when your target customer is the average consumer. If you’ve gotten some good reviews — or, even better, a testimonial — these can be a good starting point for a case study.
Putting It To Work
Once your case study is complete, the next step is to get it into the appropriate forums. Where you decide to publish it is almost as important as what it says about your business. Posting it on your blog or website and promoting it through your LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social media sites is a no-brainer. You might also consider including it in an email or print newsletter campaign. Once you’ve covered the basics, you can begin looking for avenues that may allow you access to a broader audience.
Local newspapers or magazines are a good stepping stone, but you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to publications that operate on a regional or national scale. Crafting a press release highlighting the key takeaways from the study is another good way to generate publicity by having your case study cited and quoted by other writers.
When you’re looking for possible outlets, remember that quality is more important than quantity. “You can try the story in more than one place, but only if you target titles in different sectors using different angles,” says PR consultant Jane Lee on her blog. “Editors want exclusive stories.”
Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.
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