It is the tax filing season both in U.S and Canada and the number one DIY tax return software comes to mind is TurboTax® from Intuit. I have just finished my taxes by using it but I was the paid customer. Turbo Tax is based on the freemium model which is also reffered as a Long Tail model, a Long Tail like user graph is needed to offer the free product to make money. Turbo Tax federal filing is free but they make money from the state tax returns. Intuit is not just selling Turbo Tax, its key product is Quicken. The company was started by Scott Cook in 1983 and have succeeded by using the ‘Follow Me Home’strategy. Scott used to hang out at the local office store, wait for someone to buy Quicken, and then ask to follow the customer home to watch them install and use the product. Those were the days before sites like Survey Monkey, ForeSee or gathering the “Click Stream” data and sending to the Cloud for consumer behavior analytics But the concept is simple… Ask your customer what do they need? Without any customer unfulfilled need there is no innovation and no disruption.
Intuit is still using the same strategy in a refined manner. The strategy is to look at the customer problem in a holistic way and identify the need while trying different prototypes. These days if you are using Smart Phones you will see the Ads of Snap Tax. It is not a product by another new disruptive company. It is in fact a product from Intuit. The company was working with customer interaction using the cell phones and identified the need to file simple tax return using the snap shot of the tax W2 form from the phone camera.
Companies which engage the customers, and don’t get trapped in “Build and they will come”. Instead “Follow them to their homes” to find their needs will always succeed in innovation. Inuit is such a company; but apart from innovation it is also focuses on the lobbying efforts. Lobbying Spending Database – Intuit Inc, 2012 | OpenSecrets.