Consumer Insights Strategies for Finance Managers

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Finance managers regularly create reports and share insights to guide decision-making at financial institutions, but do they really understand the mind of the customer? And to generate these reports and insights, finance managers need data. This is where consumer insights strategies can be helpful in obtaining the necessary data to fuel reporting and business intelligence (BI).

Continue reading as we explore consumer insights strategies for finance managers. And be sure to take a look at the case study section for examples of consumer insights strategies in real-world scenarios.

What Is a Consumer Insights Strategy? 

A consumer insights strategy helps a business understand who and where its target customers are, what they specifically want in terms of products or services, and why they need it.

These insights guide new product and service development, create targeted marketing materials, and improve sales and lead generation. Generally, it helps to understand consumer behaviors in the context of the target industry and market.

Consumer insights are generated from data, and bad data logically leads to bad insights. To generate the best consumer insights, finance managers should remember that insights are only as good as the data source. Low-quality data is defined by low standards of accuracy, completeness, reliability, relevance, and timeliness.

What is the difference between market research and consumer insights? 

Market research and consumer insights are closely related.

Market research is the process of gathering information on a customer group or entire industry. It defines the needs of customers, opportunities, and competitors using data and statistics.

Consumer insights are similar to market research. They come with additional prescribed actions to promote business growth and continuous improvement to operations and service delivery.

In summary, market research tells you there are 50,000 people participating in the market. Consumer insights tell you how to reach those 50,000 people in the most effective way possible to generate maximum value. 

Why Do Finance Managers Need a Consumer Insights Strategy? 

By establishing a robust consumer insights strategy, finance managers deliver the following outcomes in their role:

1. Enable Competitor and Industry Insights 

Banks and financial institutions may vary in name, but the underlying service offering is almost identical between competitors. To differentiate and stand out, the first step is listening to customer needs within the industry, including your own customers and those who use competitor services. This information leads to insights on unmet needs. Whoever can fulfill the customers’ unmet needs is likely to capture a wider audience.

2. Continuously Improve the Customer Journey 

The customer journey explores the processes taken by a customer to achieve a goal when interacting with a company, as well as the quality of the experience while doing so. Consumer insights can identify gaps and prescribe actions to fill the gaps for continuous improvement to the customer journey.
One example of a customer journey is reporting fraudulent financial activity. What do you do to report fraud? Is it simple or complex to report fraud? What emotions do customers feel? How quickly does the problem get solved?

3. Develop Personalized Services and Marketing 

Consumer insights will give a clear picture of what specific consumer segments demand, and differences in demand between demographics and geographic areas. This allows for customer-centric marketing and personalized service delivery based on individual preferences.

The future of finance will demand an individualized approach as opposed to one-size-fits-all. This will enable banks to predict customer needs, offer more targeted financial services, and communicate the right message to prospective customers.

Case Studies on Consumer Insights Strategy in Finance 

Schlesinger Group worked with RBC and BMO to implement a new consumer insights strategy. You can read an overview of both case studies below:

How did RBC develop an agile, quantitative consumer insights strategy? 

RBC is a large banking institution in Canada. It leveraged Methodify to develop an agile, quantitative consumer insights strategy for its marketing team.

Now, it can complete creative testing on marketing themes within 48 hours by automating research processes, compared to four weeks with its previous strategy. Ever since, creative tests have been data-driven according to consumer input. This avoids any subjectivity associated with the highest-paid persons opinion (HiPPO) by basing all decisions on customer input.

How did BMO enable automated quantitative research and self-service consumer insights? 

BMO is a top bank in North America. It leveraged Methodify to generate consumer insights on marketing campaigns and enable self-service research.

Methodify covers approximately 80 percent of BMO’s research needs from end to end. It democratized access to research tools, meaning every team member can now collect marketing data and generate actionable consumer insights. The outcomes include automated quantitative research campaigns that collect data in days instead of weeks. Self-service research allows team members to get information faster, and it reduces interruptions to workflows.


How do you create a successful consumer insights strategy? 

The 2022 US Banking Industry Loyalty Report by Schlesinger Group and Apex Scoring System explores the principles that make a good consumer insights strategy. A successful consumer insights strategy for finance companies is based on five common principles:

1. Go Farther Than What, Ask Why 

“What?” questions usually lead to one-word or single-phrase answers. “Why?” questions deliver greater context, helping you understand customer motivations and behaviors.

Plan and design your research campaigns to always ask why, alongside what. QualBoard can help!

2. Loyalty Must Be Cultivated, Not Forced 

Loyalty cannot be forced. Consistent effort toward understanding your customer base will generate the most long-term value.

3. Reveal Feelings and Beliefs via Consumer Profiling 

Customers make decisions based on feelings and beliefs. Consumer profiling combines demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioral information to understand what a typical customer feels and believes. If you understand your typical customer, you can become more customer centric.

4. Align the Brand with Consumer Feelings and Beliefs 

Use the insights generated during consumer profiling to transform the way you present your brand and services.
The goal here is to find underserved feelings and beliefs, and to align your marketing campaigns and offerings to actively serve those areas. This is what consumers want, so why not give it to them?

5. Continuous Measurement and Improvement 

The most successful consumer insights strategies are open-ended, seeking to continuously measure and improve the customer experience. After taking action, measure to understand what worked and what didn’t. Use your measurements to guide the next action and repeat into the future.

Develop Your Consumer Insights Strategy with Schlesinger Group 

Schlesinger Group is a leading global provider of quantitative and qualitative market research solutions. Our experienced team and vast panel of research participants allows us to conduct deep market research to support a consumer insights strategy.

Our team can help finance companies to design and develop a consumer insights strategy that supports wide-scale business transformation. This leads to customer-centric products and services, created by focusing on exactly what customers want and need.

To book a consultation with Schlesinger Group for your next research project, get in touch today.