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For Financial Goods and Services, more doesn’t always mean better


Financial industry players have been racing to offer diverse products and services, but what do consumers really need, want, and can afford?


The financial industry has grown to be a highly competitive space. Both old and new financial institutions have launched a wide variety of products to the market.

 

With the vast number of options, it is easy to think that there must be a perfect product for every customer profile. But is there actually a market looking to use or patronize these offerings? 

 

Global studies have shown that the Philippines lags in terms of financial literacy. According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) 2021 Financial Inclusion  survey, only 2% of Filipinos were able to correctly answer the six basic financial literacy questions.

 

How can you convince someone to buy into a product or service they know nothing about?

 

In most cases, you can’t.

 

Lack of interest is driven by a lack of knowledge and while it may sound obvious, an idea this straightforward is often overlooked by highly transactional and product-focused companies looking to expand their businesses.

 

In the process of deciding which segment of the population would make the most sense in growing their numbers, simple questions such as “Does my customer know what I’m selling?” or “Does my product actually solve their problems?” easily fly under the radar.

 

Placing the customer at the center was a key imperative in developing a new market entry strategy for one of the oldest Philippine financial institutions.

 

DISCOVERY

For Acumen’s client projects, discovery and baselining are among the most crucial phases. For this engagement, that meant developing a deeper level of understanding not only of the business, but also of its customer base beyond what could be extracted through internal numbers and sheets.

 

Through structured conversations with consumers, they were able to determine a key barrier that was consistent across the subsegments of a broader market — financial education.

 

Stemming from the insight that Filipinos in different demographics struggle with financial literacy, Acumen identified three underlying core principles most relevant to a specific target segment. From there, the consultants came to the conclusion that it would be best to condense the product line-up into two products. These products made the most sense in the context of the segment’s true financial capacity while supporting their short- and long-term aspirations.

 

The assessment results allowed the brand to clearly articulate the value of their product to the new consumer segment. Further, the recommended distribution channels and market strategy positioned it in the spaces that would naturally build brand trust and credibility among potential clients.

 

Similarly, this process of customer profiling also allowed Acumen to provide insights for product prioritization to one of the six Philippine digital banks.

 

For most tech companies, creating product roadmaps and prioritizing which features must go live is often a difficult discussion. The possibilities are truly endless, but the key question lies with the consumer: Which features are actually most relevant to them? 

 

By building a solid understanding of consumer behavior, beliefs, and sentiments, Acumen not only identified the most significant features for customers but also mapped unique use cases for each. Armed with the insights from the discovery phase, the company’s strategists were able to clarify the types of users that needed to be engaged with for product concept testing.

 

In the end, instead of simply providing the client with a list of winning concepts, Acumen delivered more actionable output. This included comprehensive consumer profiles, in-depth insights into why each feature resonated with the consumer, and even an Acquisition-Adoption-Advocacy funnel which mapped how to optimize each feature based on the consumer’ perceptions and motivations for use. 

 

At a time when there appears to be unlimited choices, financial service companies need not compete in terms of the quantity of products they offer. It is more about relevance and practicality.

 

Meeting the customer’s needs and providing value is easier said than done. But having a fuller understanding of a customer’s pain points and motivations is the best way to transform how a company engages with the market.

 

From short, one-off transactions, companies can build long and meaningful relationships that give them the opportunity to offer solutions that actually translate to business growth. 

 

Dedicating time and resources to obtaining a deep familiarity with consumers is the best investment a financial business can make because at the end of the day, how do you expect to sell products to a customer you don’t understand?  Written by: Stia Untal - Consulting Associate, Acumen Strategy Consultants

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