Alex Chriss, Intuit's EVP and GM of the Small Business and Self-Employed Group, spoke with Drew Foster of Citi Research today at Citi's 2021 Global Technology Virtual Conference. Chriss spoke candidly about the Mailchimp acquisition and how it fits into Intuit's overall mission, what the acquisition means in terms of data, the monetization of Mailchimp within QuickBooks, and the customer base goals of the acquisition.
What is Mailchimp's role within the Intuit mission?
Intuit's mission is to power prosperity around the world. The Mailchimp acquisition adds another well-known brand to Intuit's current consumer and small business products such as TurboTax, Credit Karma, Mint, and, of course, the QuickBooks franchise - all of which leverage Intuit's AI-driven expert platforms TurboTax Live and QuickBooks Live to serve the needs of consumers and small businesses.
Chriss highlighted that 50% of small businesses fail after the first five years. He described these small businesses as "underdogs fighting for survival." Chriss adds, "Two-thirds (of small businesses) say their biggest challenge is getting customers. When we looked out into the landscape, we wanted to make sure we can not only help you run your business, but also grow your business. That’s where Mailchimp came in."
Mailchimp's product and feature offerings currently allow small businesses to get online for free and also provide robust marketing tools. Chriss added, "We’ve been adding different pieces to the puzzle over the last few years – we started with financial management software; we've added payroll; we've added payments, we added time tracking through an acquisition a few years ago; built our own capital and have launched things like QB Cash to get into checking and money movement. And then with Mailchimp, we really are making a huge step into the front office and really helping our customers grow."
"The data is where the magic really lies."
As Chriss described the end-to-end customer growth platform that will be created through the acquisition, he said that this really is the first time that small businesses will have access to the AI-leveraged insights and opportunities that will come from combining data from two billion Mailchimp customer records with all of the QuickBooks transaction records. Chriss adds, "That end-to-end experience is something that we think will take that underdog position that a small business lives in every day and put them on the offense."
How will Intuit monetize Mailchimp?
Intuit's first and foremost focus is to "nail the customer experience." When asked if Intuit will offer Mailchimp within QuickBooks on a modular basis or if it will be included in different tiers, Chriss would only say that Intuit will "test into that." With the deal not closing until the end of Intuit's second quarter (1/31/2022), information on pricing or how the product will be offered will not be available in the short term.
Is Mailchimp simply an expansion opportunity for Intuit's current customer base?
Chriss said that Mailchimp is not only an expansion opportunity for the current QuickBooks customer base but also an opportunity to acquire new QuickBooks customers.
Small businesses often need to do certain getting started activities first, such as getting online or finding a way to connect with customers - activities where Mailchimp excels. A small business that is just getting started may naturally turn to a platform like Mailchimp before they even begin to explore financial management or payroll software. Chriss added, "Mailchimp is going to be the tip of the spear to bring those customers in ... We certainly see Mailchimp as a great front door for us into the rest of the (Intuit) ecosystem.”