Nat Natarajan, SVP Product & Engineering, Intuit

Above: Nat Natarajan, SVP product & engineering, Intuit

Two years ago, TurboTax had fewer than 200,000 customers filling out their taxes on their mobile phone.

It was a tiny percentage of its 31 million users — and completely unsatisfactory for Nat Rajesh Natarajan, senior VP for product and engineering at Intuit, the parent company of TurboTax.

Sure, some tax returns are complicated by necessity, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be done on the phone.

Within a year, he transformed the mobile product. Now TurboTax sees more than a million mobile users a year, and that number is climbing, in part because of the work Natarajan’s team did to shift Intuit’s culture to mobile-first.

We’re pleased to announce that Natarajan is speaking at our Mobile Summit event, held in the scenic Cavallo Point Lodge resort in Sausalito, California on April 4 and 5, about exactly how he did it.

Here’s the higher level summary: It took changing his entire team to make mobile their focus. Not only that, the team focused on one mobile platform at a time — no more running separate teams for Android or iOS. The company built the app once and made it available on any platform, via a proprietary wrapper that could work on any native app experience or on the mobile web.

Moreover, the nascent mobile team initially didn’t have the millions of dollars of budget Intuit typically spends on go-to-market campaigns, Natarajan said.

So the team picked a single marketing person, who happened to have product development and management experience, to kick-start a low-budget campaign. She started by taking out creative ads on Snapchat, the fast-growing messaging service that had only just started experimenting with ads. One ad involved getting users to hunt for their W2 using their mobile phone. Soon, hundreds of thousands of people were noticing the campaign, Natarajan said. (The company declined to comment on exactly how much it spent.) As these efforts bore fruit, the team doubled down on how much it spent. By the second year, recognition grew: Apple gave the app its Editor’s Choice award and featured it prominently.

I’ll be moderating the conversation with Natarajan, going deeper on these themes of cross-platform challenges, customer feedback incorporation, rapid product transformation, and internal cultural shift.

Other speakers at Mobile Summit include leading executives from Google, Pandora, GrubHub, Touch of Modern, Runtastic, Pocket Gems, Kik, and more.

GrubHub CMO Barbara Martin Coppola

Above: Barbara Martin Coppola, CMO, GrubHub

We invite only 180 executives to the Summit (you can apply to attend here). It’s designed to be an intimate experience where executives exchange strategies around some of the hottest trends in mobile — at a time when brands are having to move quickly to embrace instantaneous distribution. The goal is to make the Summit the best insider event, and an independent one free from influence from specific vendors or platform owners.

Leading vendors will be there, but we try to invite brands and other independent app owners to create the best mix possible.

Ethan Smith, Yummly

Above: Ethan Smith, chief growth officer, Yummly

Working sessions go into depth on specific topic areas, and cocktail receptions make sure the networking juices flow.

Topics include the following:

  • User acquisition
  • Designing the user experience
  • Messaging and video
  • Mobile marketing automation
  • Targeting your marketing
  • How to build your mobile marketing team
  • How to orient entire organization around mobile
  • M-commerce and online-offline convergence
  • Nurturing existing users
  • Harnessing data for mobile engagement
  • Mobile advertising attribution
  • Predicting and measuring

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