Burning Your Industry For Your Own Benefit

Who exactly made the mistakes H&R Block talks about when they say 4 out of 5 returns they review contains errors.  (If you missed it: H&R Death Ad)

The commercial is designed to make it look like CPA’s made the errors.  Other professionals.  

And only H&R Block has the skills to save you from this industry of idiots.

Since H&R Block has decided to burn their industry’s reputation it would be interesting to know if the statistics actually support the implied claims of incompetence.  My guess is they do not.  

I would assume that most of H&R Block’s customers are not folks checking up on their CPA’s but individuals who prepared their taxes themselves. If so they are running a campaign designed to reduce confidence in the professional CPA designation (which Block also depends on) for short term gain.

I may be a bit cynical, but when a company says they are better because everyone else is stupid, I start to question everything about the claim.  

How can an industry attack backfire on Block?

First – CPA professional organizations (of which many H&R Block employees belong) will call them out and either expose fraudulent use of statistics.

Second – Would it be good to expose the answer to this question “What percentage of H&R Block preparers are CPA’s during tax time?”

Third – If the tax code is too complex for CPA’s in general, then maybe we really should simplify things so that none of us need to use them at all.

Promoting true competitive advantage is a key component in marketing.  Unfortunately too often statistics are spun to create the appearance of advantage where none exists.  In the end this reduces consumer confidence in your communications and can cause long term harm.

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