PHD Media Worldwide > News > MEET THE MARKETER: Catherine Crevels, VP of US Marketing, QuickBooks Online Services
July 20 2022

MEET THE MARKETER: Catherine Crevels, VP of US Marketing, QuickBooks Online Services

Perspectives Thought Leadership

What are the key challenges and opportunities impacting marketers today? In this interview, we chat with Catherine Crevels, VP of US Marketing, QuickBooks Online Services at Intuit, to find out. 

As a strategic business leader, Crevels is chartered with building out and growing the portfolio of tools small businesses need to run their business, including banking, lending payments, and human capital management. As a leader accountable for revenue growth across her business lines and growing exceptional talent, she’s passionate about products and helping organisations sell what they make and make what they sell.  

PHD: What are the key challenges keeping marketers up at night? What are the key problems facing brands at the moment? 

Catherine Crevels: One of the biggest challenges is ensuring that we understand customers’ problems and how we can solve those problems. As marketers, we need to sell what the company makes, but we also need to inform what to sell and what to make.  

Coming out of a pandemic, customers have changed their belief systems quite a bit. We’re seeing that in QuickBooks with small businesses. [Before the pandemic], business audiences had a lot of preconceived notions about taking their business digital, taking their taxes digital, and things like that. Post-pandemic, we’re seeing that these barriers are broken down. There’s more license to be creative and you don’t have to explain why to go digital anymore. You just have to explain what problem you can solve.

PHD: Can you give me any specific examples of how you’re connecting with your consumers or looking to reach out to them in these spaces? 

CC: At QuickBooks, we serve small businesses and help them run their businesses right. Earlier this year, we launched a campaign specifically focused on early start businesses, demonstrating the duality of emotions that new business owners experience and how QuickBooks can help them succeed from the start. 

There’s this balance of pursuing a passion and this feeling of bliss and freedom, and empowerment and ownership from doing that – while at the same time being your own boss, which means you have [no one] to help.  

Our integrated campaign, which included our first-ever brand Superbowl commercial, spotlights how QuickBooks can help businesses from day one by providing an AI-driven platform of interconnected financial tools that help businesses simplify operations so that they can stay focused and achieve their goals.  

It is about helping connect that pain or that problem with the solution and speaking to them in ways that address their current state of mind and then obviously, in places that we can find them. 

PHD: How, in your marketing tactics, are you moving from using traditional media to online tactics or new platforms and channels?  

CC: There are some preconceived notions [about B2B audiences], and, sometimes, they take longer to make a decision, but at the end of the day, they’re consumers like you and me. We’re on a journey to reach them where they are, and where they get their information and consume their content. 

A big area we’ve been investing in recently and seeing success is influencers. They’ve proven to be key in driving our message of small business success. We’re seeing that consumer media consumption is changing, clearly driven largely by the emergence of social platforms, and that helps connect individuals in new ways and build trust and authenticity. 

We know that SMBs can tell the difference between paid spokespeople versus word of mouth from another small business down the road, or a neighbour or a colleague. They trust people who they can relate to. That’s where, again, influencer marketing presents such a big opportunity for us at QuickBooks. They’re the bridge between the person and, in our case, a small business owner and a paid spokesperson. 

PHD: Are you able to talk about any campaign success stories? 

CC: One of the first day zero jobs is to get your money flows in order. You’ve got to figure out when a customer pays you, how and where are you going to get paid and where do you hold that money? And how do you then use that money to go and pay your bills, for example?  

Small Business Banking is a place at least in the US very much ripe for disruption. We launched an integrated banking and payments app called Money by QuickBooks and to launch that, again, we’re speaking to these early-tenure small businesses, many of whom don’t even consider themselves a small business quite yet.  

We did an influencer campaign here with a bunch of folks who had started businesses on Instagram and had big followings on TikTok and had them talk about the importance of getting your cash flow in order. [Our message explained] how critical it was to make sure that from the beginning, they were set up with the right tools so that they weren’t accepting a cheque here and a credit card there, or [accepting payments] into their personal bank accounts. That drove good impression volume and engagement.  

PHD: What is your approach to measurement? What is valuable to you, and how do you track these mechanics? 

CC: The most critical thing is to measure business outcomes, to translate the marketing metrics – sometimes higher up in the funnel or [closer to] conversion. Either you’re growing customers, or you’re growing revenue, and you want to take any kind of impression data.  

[You might say]: “let’s apply average conversion rates to understand what this means in terms of actual new customer acquisition”, or “let’s apply ARPC (average revenue per customer) to see what this means in terms of actual revenue growth”. I think this is how we consistently measure the success of all our campaigns.  

PHD: You’ve spoken about the importance of sales. But where do you think the split now lies between driving short-term sales and long-term brand building? 

CC: I love this question. In my mind when I hear it, I visualise this intense, almost medieval tug of war game played between two very brawny teams. Marketing needs both to keep having that impact on the bottom line or the top line, whichever is the business’s focus.  

Marketing can’t afford to take its foot off the gas of driving current period performance. You need performance; you need to prove and demonstrate value; you need to drive growing growth. I don’t think that there is a business out there that says “Oh sure. You can take 12 months to build up your brand relevance”. No, I don’t think we have that luxury. We need to keep doing performance and sales lead activities at the same time.  

At QuickBooks, we’re increasingly leaning into fully integrated – what we’re calling full funnel initiatives – where we target one specific audience and truly take your message from a customer’s first point of need, and through the shop and by experience and into the product. This requires brand building and sales and everything in between; they all need to be integrated. 

PHD: If you could change one thing in marketing today, what would it be and why? 

CC: If I could change one thing, I would want to make sure that we galvanise marketing’s position relatively centrally in the company or the business. Marketing often has to fight for a seat at the table. And fundamentally, marketing is that central function that brings the external world in, that keeps us all real.  

It helps us know where to go next. And it brings the internal world out that actually brings to market our products and services and offerings. I’d like to see us live up to that potential and set the agenda for our brands, our products, and our businesses, in a way that we can manage authoritatively.  

This interview was first broadcast on Radio Omnicom, live at Cannes 2022. 

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