Most small business owners generate a majority of their revenue during the November and December time period, making the holiday season a must-win for their bottom line.
The holiday season is also an important time for QuickBooks to be top of mind for small business owners - many look for financial management solutions in the new year. Our objective for this campaign was twofold: to create relevant, breakthrough content during the crowded holiday season conversation to drive awareness and consideration for the QuickBooks brand and to drive higher sales volume for the small businesses that we featured in the campaign.
The QuickBooks team decided to leverage the popularity of advent-style calendars as well as drop culture and unboxing content, to create a completely new offline and online experience for the small business community. The team created a physical calendar box filled with 12 daily treats counting down to Small Business Saturday, a key date of the holiday season for small business owners, and launched an online social contest to give them away to 100 small business owners that could use a little love during the busy holiday season. Each product in the calendar was sourced from a QuickBooks customer geared towards de-stressing for the holidays.
To drive greater reach for the campaign we partnered with four key influencers who created their own unboxing videos of the countdown calendar, and developed a fully integrated owned, paid, and earned media plan to surround the activation.
To bring this concept to life, the cross-functional team had to move quickly and navigate shipping, creative and coordination across internal and external partners.
With less than three months from the initial kernel of the idea to the physical calendars landing in the hands of our customers and prospects, our team had to learn fast and work around the realities of creating and delivering a physical product with multiple production partners - including having to pivot when our original box vendor was no longer able to hit the committed delivery date, which put the time-sensitive activation at risk.
We partnered with small businesses that are QuickBooks customers to create the calendar end-to-end. QuickBooks financially supported each small business by directly purchasing their products and services to help their overall sales, and also drove awareness for their products and services through our marketing efforts around the campaign: each small business was tagged in all QuickBooks social posts as well as any content published through influencers and featured on our QuickBooks Blog and Holiday Hub.
From the freelance illustrator who crafted the shopping scene adorning each calendar box, to the packaging and fulfillment vendor who ensured all of the boxes were assembled and delivered to recipients with care, to the small business products nestled within each of the 12 daily boxes, each touchpoint was thoughtfully created by and curated for our small business audience. The featured treats - including chocolate bars, chai, a tiny puzzle, sprinkles, and aromatherapy spray - came from a mix of up-and-coming and popular small businesses to reflect the diverse customers we serve. From newly formed to complex and growing businesses, this mix supported our strategic brand perception shifts: you’re never too small to start on QuickBooks, and our tools can scale with your business as it grows. To deliver on our ongoing commitment to support underserved small business owners, 67% of the businesses featured were female-founded and minority-owned.
At launch, the QuickBooks team shared several teaser videos on our owned social handles to build excitement and visibility for the contest, through which 100 winners were selected and shipped a countdown calendar.
Throughout the 12 days leading up to Small Business Saturday, the QuickBooks team created and released daily unboxing videos featuring the unique small business products. In addition to the popular unboxing content approach, our videos leveraged multiple social content trends including ASMR, “make with me” formats, trending sounds, voice-over vlogs, and more to showcase the daily featured products in fun, dynamic, and immersive ways.
Through over 325 unboxing videos across owned, influencer, and user generated content, our unboxing video series generated buzz for the QuickBooks brand while also driving home our core message of shopping small this holiday season.
This campaign took a fresh spin on holiday gift guides and social content by bridging physical and digital experiences in an on-trend way that delivered on our goals: it grabbed attention and got people talking. The concept extended easily into influencer channels, allowing us to bring the unboxing content to highly engaged audiences in a casual and candid format that fit seamlessly into their daily updates. By boosting our owned and influencer content with paid spend, we were able to extend reach in a highly efficient manner, driving awareness for both QuickBooks and our featured customers during the critical holiday period.
In addition to delivering on results for our business, this campaign proved to be effective at driving word-of-mouth and customer acquisition for our small businesses customers. We’ve received tons of messages about repeat purchases from people who found new favorites from our calendar, which is precisely the kind of purchase behavior that makes advent-style calendars popular with major brands and retailers.
By the numbers:
● Delivered over 13M earned, owned, and paid impressions
● Exceeded goals for organic impressions and engagement rate by 1.4X and 1.3X
● Hit new record: the calendar giveaway had the highest engagement rate of all time on our QuickBooks Instagram account
● Drove 240 pieces of user-generated content across Instagram and TikTok
● Exceeded comment relevancy benchmarks by 2X, demonstrating message pull through
● Surpassed Story and Video View Rate benchmarks, showing the content captured attention
● Beat CPC targets by over 2X, driving efficiency in our paid efforts