Intuit: Quickbooks Upgrade

9 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Phillip E. Pfeifer

Phillip E. Pfeifer

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


This case describes an innovative response-modeling project at INTUIT. The case can help students understand the basics of (and the issues surrounding) response modeling, an important tactic in data-base marketing.




Tom Klenke, marketing database and analysis specialist at Intuit, had often argued that his firm should take better advantage of its new database capabilities. Klenke saw modeling and testing opportunities in almost everything the marketing group did. With almost $ 100 million in marketing and sales expenditures in fiscal 1995, he reasoned that any gains in efficiency would reap substantial dollar rewards. “We might be doing fine now when response rates are high and sales are growing,” he said, “but I think we could be doing even better. And in the future if things get tighter, it will be imperative to be better at deciding where and/or on whom we spend each marketing dollar.”

Klenke was now getting the opportunity to put his ideas to the test, using the results of a recent 801,821-piece direct mail campaign. If this modeling project proved successful, it could change the way Intuit did business and enhance the status of Klenke's marketing group.

Company Background

Founded in 1983 by Scott Cook, a marketer from Procter & Gamble, and Tom Proulx, an engineer fresh out of Stanford University, Intuit sought to revolutionize the way consumers performed everyday personal financial tasks. The company attempted to create software products so easy to install and use (so “intuitive”) that even new computer users could use them right away.

With the introduction of Quicken in 1984, the company took a huge first step toward its goal. In contrast to the 30 or so existing personal-finance packages, Quicken was designed with the consumers in mind. Cook and Proulx surveyed potential customers by phone and in person and then incorporated their ideas into the software. Quicken was designed using innovative screens and a checkbook metaphor to mimic the way people currently handled their personal finances. The software quickly dominated the personal finance software market. By 1995, Quicken was the top-selling personal finance software package in the world (with a 70% share of the U.S. market across all platforms) and Intuit was the largest maker of financial software.

In 1992, Intuit introduced QuickBooks, an alternative to accounting software. QuickBooks provided complete and powerful bookkeeping capabilities to small businesses. In keeping with the company's philosophy to make their products as easy as possible to use, QuickBooks used familiar checkbook and invoice forms in place of debit/credit accounting methods. In 1995 Intuit had approximately 800,000 QuickBooks users.

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Keywords: direct marketing, regression analysis

Suggested Citation

Pfeifer, Phillip E., Intuit: Quickbooks Upgrade. Darden Case No. UVA-M-0496, Available at SSRN:

Phillip E. Pfeifer (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4803 (Phone)


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