Tax Time Upon Us Again

Seems like there wasn’t a day went by in December where an advertising or digital media publication didn’t have an article in it that had something to do with social media. I was tapped out on those before the 15th even. So I opened my daily Ad AgeeNewsletter today with some trepidation. But the social media article, about H&R Block’s continued use of social media this tax season, was awesome.

H&R Block is doing a few things with their “Best of Both” campaign that bear call-out. Since I didn’t see these included in the comments to the article itself, I’ll do it here:

  1. By providing assistance online to those Americans filling out their taxes at home, H&R Block not only undercuts the services offered by its bricks-and-mortar locations–as indicated in the article–but its new “H&R Block At Home” software is similarly impacted as well. However, H&R Block isn’t just selling locations or software packages. It’s selling expertise. A “good” that knows no boundaries or traditional distribution funnels.
  2. By training its online “Tax Advisor” force from within–1% of the company’s 100,000 employees were selected and “social media trained” for this role–H&R Block is utilizing the digital channel not so much as a marketing communications channel, but as a customer service channel. That’s a great example of how a company needs to embrace social media in order to truly practice it.
  3. By focusing on what H&R Block does best–providing tax advice and preparing returns–the company is adjusting the social media programs it has run in the past (e.g., trying too hard to entertain). There’s a great (and short!) deck on that available from Slideshare, as presented by H&R Block’s vice-president of marketing, Paula Drum.

My family TurboTaxed last year. That might change in 2010.

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