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H&R Block Mailers Segment Deeply by Tax Status

H&R Block is going after people who have had major changes in their tax status this year with a multichannel marketing campaign.

The direct push by H&R Block, Kansas City, MO, includes 23 million self-mailers dropping through Jan. 15. More than 60 percent of these are going to potential first-time customers, and the rest are aimed at win-back and retention.

“It's really trying to educate the general public that there [are] 441 new tax laws introduced this year [and that] this is the largest tax law change in 20 years,” said Heather Warren, strategic planner-direct marketing at Campbell Mithun, H&R Block's Minneapolis-based agency.

Creative execution includes 19 concepts and 99 versions. The targeted universe includes new homeowners, new parents, newlyweds, people who have relocated and parents with college-bound children.

Messaging varies based on the segmented demographic. Calls to action are the H&R Block Instant Refund Anticipation Loan, the Double Check Challenge and the Million Dollar Sweepstakes.

The challenge, for example, invites those who have not previously done their taxes with H&R Block to visit a local office where H&R Block tax preparers will double-check prospects' past returns for up to three years to ensure they have received all the money deserved. A sweepstakes incorporated in that challenge offers participants the chance to win $1 million.

A 60-second commercial airing Jan. 21 will urge viewers to call a toll-free number for details on the Double Check Challenge. H&R Block is using different toll-free numbers to test response to its DRTV spot.

“As a measurement tool, you put a different 800 number on each of the different spots so you can measure back to understand how well each spot pulled in getting calls, every single spot to the point of what network it's on and what time it showed,” Warren said.

Another concept tests cross-selling opportunities. Customers who have not used the company's financial advisers for wealth management products will be offered the chance.

The offers are good through tax deadline day, April 15.

Aware that the Internal Revenue Service is encouraging electronic filing, H&R Block is soliciting business for its online filing service as well. The company will send 800,000 e-mails to prospects and promote e-filing in its online newsletter to 1.3 million recipients. E-mails will drop in staggered batches starting Jan. 15. Respondents to the e-mail effort will be sent a follow-up thank-you note once the taxes are done.

This direct effort will work alongside a separate direct mail, radio and TV campaign to target Latinos, a campaign handled by Campbell Mithun sibling Dieste.

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