The Acquire Podcast Ep. 6: Ice cream, puppies, and financial ease with Intuit Mint’s latest brand campaign
- Intuit Mint’s VP of Marketing, Partnerships & Advertising Operations, Jack Rubin, joins us on the Acquire podcast.
- ‘Bad news should travel even faster than good news’, because it’s not about one channel or strategy, it’s a constant experimentation.
Welcome to Acquire, Tearsheet’s Marketing Podcast. I’m your host, Rebecca Cohen, Head of Tearsheet Studios.
On today’s episode, I’ll be speaking with Jack Rubin, VP of Marketing, Partnerships & Advertising Operations at Intuit Mint, who most recently spearheaded their latest major brand campaign, It’s Time to Mint.
The following excerpts were edited for clarity.
Mint’s who, what, and why
Our team is focused on three things: marketing, partnerships, and advertising operations. Those cover a broad spectrum of our goal: bringing millions and millions more people to Mint, and Mint to millions and millions of more people.
Mint helps people create and sustain good healthy financial habits and achieve their financial goals. Their goals might be paying down debt, saving for an important life goal, paying for education for themselves or for a loved one, or saving for their first car or first house. There’s all kinds of goals that people have, and we have a passion for bringing those benefits to more people and more people to Mint so they can experience those benefits.
Our number one ‘who’ is the people that we serve, and those are the folks who are looking to better understand their financial situation and spending habits so they can make progress towards long-term goals.
Many of them have also made the bold choice to also go into business for themselves — either they think of themselves as self-employed or as a small business owner. And so that’s the platform that we’re trying to build to serve all of them.
Carving out the target Minter
It’s a great question because we know, believe, and passionately want to see everyone benefit from using Mint, because it’s going to help them create and sustain those great financial habits and realize their goals. With that said, we have seen and are seeing that certain users seem to benefit even more from the features and the benefits that we’re able to offer.
One of those audiences is what we like to call enthusiasts – those are folks who are interested and engaging with their finances, but they could be in very different places throughout their financial journey. In some cases, they’re interested in being engaged because they’ve got student loans to pay off, and sometimes they’re interested and engaged because they’re at a key life change point, like they’ve gotten married, have their first child, or are saving to buy a house or what have you.
But what tends to unify them as a group is being interested, engaged, and wanting to learn more about their finances, wanting to understand what’s going on with their money, wanting to make smarter money decisions (which can mean different things to different folks), and that all starts with being aware.
That’s one of the most important value propositions we have to offer with Mint. Because we’re able to connect 20,000 different financial institutions and about 5 billion transactions a month, we’re able to provide people visibility to what their spending habits are, so they can be aware, then set a goal, then make daily progress toward that goal, which is of course the hardest part.
So that audience of folks who are interested and engaged in finances, we hope and believe, will continue to grow. But we are building a platform that not only serves them, we are hoping that it serves others who can and will discover the benefit of being aware of what’s going on with their money so that they can make what they believe in their own judgment are smarter and better financial decisions based on their goals, then ultimately realize that success for themselves and for all the people that depend on them.
All in the name
I’ll tell you what we want you to feel with Mint, and the personality that we hope that the brand expresses through all of the ways that you experience the brand – through the product, the marketing experiences, or even through the people you interact with you on our team – which is the feeling of an empowering coach. We want Mint to feel like somebody who is going to help you understand and realize your strengths, but much like a coach is gonna call it like it is, in a positive and forward-focused way that’s invested in you getting to a better version of yourself.
That’s what we hope that you experience with the Mint brand, and in every way that you interact with the brand.
Conflict to resolution
When we think about It’s Time to Mint, we think about that challenge that we all have, which is first being aware of what our spending habits are.
So that first question is, am I even aware of what I was spending and how I was spending it? Then the second question being, ‘Okay, now that I’m aware, what do I want to do? Do I have goals for either paying down debt, or for something that I want to save for?’ Then ultimately in that story arc the analogy is the hero’s journey toward accomplishing that goal.
And at the very beginning of that journey, it is amazing what happens when you just become aware of your transactions, and particularly with credit card spending, of the challenges you face.
I’m an avid user of Mint, and one of the big insights that I found and one of the most common insights we see from our customers or colleagues is when people realize how much they’re spending on monthly subscriptions.
And one of the magical things that happens with Mint, when you’re able to connect in your accounts and see your transactions, is that we can alert you to how much you’re spending on your subscriptions. When the cost of a regular subscription has gone up, we can give you the opportunity to make an informed decision and ask yourself, ‘Is this subscription something that’s adding that much value to my life? Or is it not?’ And the same thing goes for a lot of other spending.
So in the story arc, what is a very interesting early part of the story that’s amazing watching every person go through it as they begin initially to experience the benefits of Mint, is the initial recognition that all along, they may have been spending money in ways that may be inconsistent with their priorities for their money and values.
Ice cream, puppies, and relatable anxieties
First of all, I have to say that you and I are having this conversation today, but the campaign is the work of lots and lots of amazing partners, colleagues, both internally at Intuit and our integrations team and partners, as well as our product and engineering teams that are building such an amazing experience that provide the opportunity for us to provide a solution for the challenges and the opportunities that you see people experience and some of these pieces.
There’s a broad range of work in the It’s Time to Mint campaign, because no matter what your goal or situation are, or what day of the week it is, it’s always a good time to check in on your finances, it’s always a good time to make better and smarter money decisions that impact not only today, but tomorrow and next year – hence the tagline, It’s Time to Mint.
The other reason we chose this messaging is that it doesn’t take a lot of time. You don’t need to wait until you have five hours to sit down and check in on your finances; when you have Mint, you can do it in a few seconds or a few minutes depending on what you’d like to do. And that is one of the biggest obstacles we want to help people overcome – getting started and taking that action.
What I think are some of the most inspiring pieces that have come out of this campaign, in addition to the very beautiful pieces that you mentioned that have great insight and storytelling, is actually the creator content that’s happening in a lot of social media channels, where people are sharing with others how and why to use Mint.
One of the things that we experimented with in this campaign was issuing a challenge, a content, for folks to go into Mint, set a goal, and then share publicly what that goal is because just like any other goal, if you share with your friends and family or even just share with strangers, you feel more accountable for it. It gives you more momentum.
I couldn’t have predicted this going into it, but I think looking back, it is amongst the most inspiring content for that reason, because it’s real people sharing how they are really taking control of their finances and making the decisions that are consistent with their priorities, goals, values, and making a difference in their lives.
Bad news should travel faster than good news
I’ll frame the decision on channels in terms of the ultimate goal. We really believe that our goal is to help millions more people experience the benefits of Mint. That’s not just the business goal or a KPI for us. It’s not even an obligation for us — it’s an obsession. And that’s important context framing, because when we think about channels, our goal is to figure out not just a single channel, not just multiple channels, but what combination of channels over time is going to reach more people with the relevant content at the relevant time. So we take a learning and experimentation approach to channels.
It’s not just about channel performance – it’s about how we learn and experiment, whether it’s display, search, social media, owned and earned channels – we’re constantly iterating and experimenting and the experiments never end. We don’t have a ‘Launch media, launch creative, launch channels, and we’ll let you know later how it did’ – on a daily basis, we are looking and seeing what is most effective and impactful, so that we can very quickly identify what’s not working as well, and very quickly do more of what is working. In fact, in our team, we have a saying, ‘We want bad news to travel even faster than good news.’ Good news has a momentum of its own, but bad news is where we learn. Bad news is where we can make a bigger difference and a bigger impact.
Influencers: quality over quantity
I’ll tell you a really interesting one, and I’ll be intrigued to know if this applies in other brands, contexts, and businesses that our colleagues work on or that we may work on in the course of our careers.
We experimented with content on social media channels to pretty big extremes, right? On one end, a guy who is a well-known celebrity with a very large following because he’s passionate in the space but known for something else in the entertainment industry; and on the other, extreme folks who are not as well-known and don’t have a huge following, but they’re extremely passionate about personal finance, and can speak about personal finance in a way that is authentic, because it is genuinely who they are and actually what they do.
When it comes to personal finances, what we’ve learned is that a lot of times, most people don’t want somebody they view as an expert to tell them they’re doing something wrong; most of us intuitively know what we should be doing – we need more of a coach to help us get started and remind us of the thing we know we ought to be doing, but don’t talk down to us. Empower us.
And one of the really interesting things we have seen in social media channels is a stronger overall response and impact from working with creators who are authentically in the personal finance space, as opposed to well-known celebrities who may have followings that are multiples, if not orders of magnitude, larger.
That’s the kind of stuff that we love to learn quickly, so that we can do more of what is working, and less of the stuff that’s not.
On a personal note
My entire career is about family, service, and growth. That’s where my focus is, that’s the decisions that I make in terms of where I spend my time, both personally and professionally. I found at Intuit all three of those things at a whole new level. The people I work with are like family to me; I lean into those relationships, they aren’t just people with an email address, they are people that I lean into, and I’m committed to. I want to be in service to them, and to the people we reach with the services and products we provide them to make an impact in their life.
The type of impact that we’re able to make at Intuit, both for consumers and for small businesses together as a platform, is just tremendous and growing – not even year after year, but quarter after quarter and month after month. Things change so fast, that almost every year you feel like you’re in a new job or new company. Because we are so responsive to the customer, the market, what’s working or not working, and we pivot towards what’s going to make a bigger impact in people’s lives.
My father teaches personal finance at a university in my hometown, and he does that both at the university and in the community. Seeing the impact that can have on people’s lives in a one-to-one relationship, to then imagining the impact that you can have through a platform in an ecosystem like Intuit, where in some cases it’s one-to-one but in a lot of cases one to many, many, many, is just an amazing opportunity, and it’s so tremendously fulfilling.