Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 year ago

40) #InsideDigitalGrowth: How Effective Are Focus Groups in Digital Marketing Strategy?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

One in three Americans loses sleep over financial problems, but they're too embarrassed to talk about it.

Yet when financial brands want to know what their customers think, what do they do? Ask them to talk about it.

This approach cannot work.

In this episode of Banking on Digital Growth, I address three pitfalls of digital focus groups and then provide a clear path to getting insights that create value for your financial brand and the people you serve.

I talked about:

  • Why people make the decisions they do when buying financial products
  • How people make those decisions
  • Why focus groups hone in on the wrong things
  • How to uncover the greatest insights for your financial brand

You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or here.

Ryan Ask how effective our focus groupswhen it comes to things like developing a new website, are optimizing ourdigital products and product positioning. Well, that's a greatquestion, Ryan, and one that will answer for you on today's episode ofBanking on Digital Growth. You're listening to banking on DigitalGrowth with James Robert Lay, a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing,sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential bygenerating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part ofthe inside digital growth Siri's, where James Robert shares answers to some ofthe biggest digital marketing and sales questions he gets from the digitalgrowth community. Have a question you want to get answers to on a futureepisode? Visit www dot go ask jr dot com to submit your question today. Nowlet's go inside. Digital growth Greetings in Hello Thank you for tuninginto the 40th episode of the Banking on digit Growth podcast where I JamesRobert lay your digital anthropologists coach and guide you along your digitalgrowth journey as you commit to guide people guide people in the communitiesthat you serve beyond their financial stress. That's taking a toll on theirhealth, their relationships and their overall sense of well being. Guide themtowards a bigger, better, brighter future. Because when you do this, Iguarantee that you will generate 10 times more loans and deposits as youelevate your financial brand beyond the commoditized products that other banksand creditors continue to promote in this post covert world. Today's episode is part of the insidedigital growth Siri's, and I look forward to answering a question fromRyan, who's a digital analyst for a financial brand up in the Northwest.Once again, Ryan ask how effective our...

...focus groups, when it comes to thingslike developing a new website, are optimizing our digital products andproducts positioning. That's a great question, Ryan, and it's a veryimportant one to think about and consider, because historically speakingfocus groups for the longest time, they've guided the thinking ofmarketing teams. But with that traditional thinking, focus groupsmight not be the best path forward in today's digital first shopping world.So the answer. Ryan's question. I'd like to first address three pitfalls ofdigital focus groups and then provide you with a clear path forward that willhelp you get the best insights to create the most value not just for yourfinancial brand, but also for the people that your financial brand servesspecifically when developing a new website or even optimizing your digitalproduct mix and how you position those products in a digital world. So let's start with three very bigfocus group pitfalls that can leave you feeling trapped or even stuck. When itcomes to gaining insights into the hearts and minds of digital consumers.We're not interested at the stage about what people buy, but more importantly,Number one. Why do people make the decisions they make when it comes tobuying financial products and services, and then number two, How do people goabout making those decisions in the first place? From there, we can usethis context of a person's why and how around their decision making to furtherunderstand what people buy as the why and the how provide greater clarityinto their biggest roadblocks that they might need to eliminate on their ownpersonal journeys. In addition to also identifying the greatest opportunitiesthat are available for you to create or...

...capture at your financial brand, nowfor context. We used to conduct dozens and dozens of digital focus groups forfinancial brands going back 10 15 years now. And in reflection on those studies,I identified three problems that would always arise around gaining newinsights into digital consumers, thinking once again they're why and howof making purchase decisions for financial products. Does it matter ifthose products or loans or deposits the first problem or pitfall identified isgroupthink? And I like to think of groupthink as the Achilles heel offocus groups because there's often always that one very vocal person inthe group who takes over the collective thoughts of others. And now, yes, it'sthe facilitators job of the focus group to work and prevent this problem andbring people back and give people give everyone a voice. But it's apredictable pattern of focus groups. No matter how hard the facilitator tries.And time and time and time again, I've seen the majority of people withinfocus groups fall in line with a single person's perspective, who once againthey're often the most vocal and they're the loudest. And when thishappens, everyone in the group nods their head in agreement with this selfproclaimed unofficial leader, if you will. Now this is a subconscious resultof our desires people to find harmony and to avoid conflict in a groupsetting. And it also helps a group really reach a consensus very quicklyfor whatever might be being discussed. There are also some other subconsciouspatterns and causes of group think that range from rationalization and peerpressure stereotyping the illusion of coming to a unified idea. But it'simportant to note that groupthink might...

...not always be detrimental. Azaz well,and this is when a good facilitator will challenge the group with anopposite assumption on opposite opinion and insist that the group providemultiple perspectives around whatever is being discussed, both positively aswell as negatively. The second problem or a pitfall with digital focus groups,is when looking to get into the mind of the digital consumer. There's no directcorrelation between opinion shared and focus groups and the behaviors thatpeople actually take. For example, a focus group might express an opinion ordesire that they want to save more money. They might want toe lose weight.They might want toe live healthier. It doesn't matter what the express intentor the desired future state is. At this point, the challenge here arises aseveryone in the focus group coming back to the problem. Point number one.Everyone starts toe nod and shake their head in agreement that, yes, off course,I want to save more money. Who doesn't desire that future state? However, ifwe take, take the focus group away and we get into the world World one'sdecision making process and their actions don't necessarily follow theirexpressed opinion or desired intent. Once again. For example, let's comeback to that idea of of the future state. I want to save more money.That's the consensus that we get out of a focus group. And so a financial brandwill take that insight. And they begin to optimize, Let's say, their savingsproduct thinking that that's the solution that will help these peoplereach their desired future state because it was the agreed uponconsensus of the focus group.

But then something happens. No one buysor adopts that new saving product, or at least they don't from theexpectation of the financial brand. And so the question now is, Why did we endup with that result, everyone expressed their desire to save more money in thefocus group. Everyone nodded their head in agreement, and that's the problem. They expressedthis desire in the focus group, which was further reinforced by group Thinkthat I addressed in pitfall number one. However, in the real world, thesepeople's actions, their behaviors, they're thinking patterns. They don'tconnect with the desired future state that they're looking to achieve savingmore money that ISS. This is why it's not on Lee important to uncover aperson's goal or their desired future state. That's the easy part. It's easyfor people to unpack and dialogue around what they're looking for, whatthey hope to achieve, what's much harder and and really mawr intimidatingto share in a focus group setting or the roadblocks that stand in their wayof of, of reaching that desired future state. And this is even more true infinancial services because there is a tremendous amount of shame that'swrapped up in a person's financial roadblocks, a person's own uniqueindividual financial challenges. For example, Stash com did a study, andthey found that one out of three U s consumers are losing sleep and feelingstress all the time because of financial problems. 34% feel tooembarrassed to discuss those financial matters because, well, they think thatthey're worse off than than their...

...friends. And then one out of fiveAmericans don't talk about money because they're ashamed of theirpersonal financial habits. And this is only getting worse and will onlycontinue to get worse. I predict post co vid what we need to get people toopenly and honestly discuss their financial situation both the good, thegoals of where they're looking to go, a swells more, more important, theroadblocks of what's holding them back. It's gonna be very hard to do that infront of a group of strangers in a focus group setting, because in realityit's the roadblocks identifying and uncovering the roadblocks that providea financial brand with the greatest opportunity for them to maximizedigital products and digital digital product positioning. Because it'sthrough the digital product and the product positioning. Those were thecures those air, the prescriptions to people's biggest pain points. So comingback to the example, let's say once again the focus group, we reached thegeneral consensus that everyone wants to save money. That's the future state.That's the desired future. They want to create everyone in the group, you know,jumps on the groupthink train and enthusiastically agrees that, yes,that's what we want. But what we don't learn once again is whythese people have a savings problem to begin with in the first place, because maybe they don't have a savingsproblem. I'm willing to predict based on all the research that we've done,these people have something deeper. It's it's it's a deeper problem, andthey might not even be aware of it. These people have a spending problem. And so instead of optimizing a savingsaccount, as I mentioned in the previous example, that's the incorrect solution.The missed opportunity here is really...

...the opportunity to capture is tooptimize ah spending account that includes some type of financialcoaching or guidance community accountability to hold those peopleaccountable, to transform their relationship with money, to transformtheir thinking patterns about money and, most importantly, transform theirspending behaviors because then and only then when they transform theirthinking and relationship with money, will they transform their spendingbehaviors. And when they transform their spending behaviors, they'llfinally be ableto work towards achieving that desired future state ofsaving more money. Finally and briefly, the last pitfall that I'd like todiscuss the last problem with focus groups is historically speaking focusgroups. I've really tended toe focus. The conversation around solutions nowis a digital anthropologist. I really want to understand the motivationsbehind why people want what they say they want and even from the context ofdigital shopping. Why do people do what they do in specific order? And whenwe're thinking about focus groups, it's very difficult to uncover theseunderlying thoughts. These feelings, these emotions even because, as notedin focus group pitfall number two, the issues tied around financial shamethese air deeply rooted in a person, psyche and and really strongly relatedto their family of origin as well as their environments both past and evenpresent thinking about focus groups, participants often share insights intosolutions solutions they think they...

...need to a problem they think they have,that they want from your financial brand. And so what happens here is theystart talking around feature sets, and that creates a checklist of items thatyou take away and begin to execute against, but they're not thinking about.They're not talking about how they would actually apply this product toeither a overcome a roadblock that's standing in their way, or B use thisproduct to realize their hopes and dreams to get to the bigger, better,brighter future that they desire in the first place. They get stuck on on thesolution or the feature set the checklist and being in a focus group. It doesn'tfacilitate the deep analytical conversation into the person's why, ifyou will, why do they want what they want? Technology has transformed ourworld, and digital has changed the way consumers shop for and buy financialservices forever. Now consumers make purchase decisions long before theywalk into a branch if they walk into a branch at all. But your financial brandstill wants to grow loans and deposits. We get it. Digital growth can feelconfusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financial brand marketing andsales leader. But it doesn't have thio because James Robert wrote the bookthat guides you every step of the way along your digital growth journey visitwww dot digital growth dot com to get a preview of his best selling book,Banking on Digital Growth, or order a copy right now for you and your teamfrom Amazon. Inside, you'll find a strategic marketing manifesto that waswritten to transform financial brands, and it is packed full of practical andproven insights you can start using...

...today to confidently generate 10 timesmore loans and deposits now back to the show. So to some of these challenges,there's a great cartoon from Tom Fishburne that shows a marketer who hasscaled this mountain. And so he's sitting at the edge of this mountain.He's peering over the top, and he finds a focus group of eight people sittingaround the table. As the marketer reaches the top of the mountain. Headdresses the focus group, Andi says, Oh, all knowing Focus group, tell meyour unmet consumer needs so that we can create disruptive innovations foryou and then looking down at the marketer from their Roundtable On High,one of the people sitting at the focus group, he replies, We want morepromotions, and then another pipes up and shares. Yeah, we want you to makeeverything cheaper. And when I think about this cartoon from Tom Fishburne,there's there's such a tremendous amount of truth wrapped up in thesingle image about some of the pitfalls that I just shared. And this is why, ifwe're not careful, digital focus groups quickly become a fruitless exercise inwishful thinking as focus groups to get good context out of them require somereference points and thinking about Tom Fishburne insights like We wanteverything to be cheaper or We want you know, to you to make Ex More like thisand less like that. Those insights aren't helpful. It all, alternatively,something toe. Also consider is product innovations and optimization is thatlead to transformational breakthroughs are, in reality to find by the absenceof reference points. I think Steve Jobs said it best when he shared quote. It'sreally hard to design products by focus...

...groups. Ah, lot of times people don'tknow what they want until you show it to them. Now think back for a moment2007, when the iPhone was first launched. What if Apple had focused?Grouped the phone before going to market? You know, I think at the time,people might have complained. Can't you just have a physical keyboard thatslides out the back? Like all the other phones? I e. BlackBerry. You know,people make decisions based upon the information that they have based uponthe context of what they know today, because there's no reference point intheir mind. Thio anchor against another possible, even possibly better solution. Apply this thinking. The banking peopledon't need another checking account. What do people need? That's the bigquestion. It's not even what if people need its's diving deeper into that?What's the pain they are experiencing? What's stressing them out, what'skeeping them up at night? What's taking a toll on their health and their wellbeing? The answers might not have anything to do directly with theproduct per se, because remember checking accounts or commoditize, andthey facilitate a transactional experience. That transaction being bothat the time of quote unquote purchase of the checking account itself,regardless of if that purchases made online or over the phone or in thebranch as well as at the time of purchase, once again now, using thechecking account or the debit card in relation to making a retail purchaseonce again online or in person. Either way, this is the transaction of justdollars and cents.

Banking must become so much more than atransaction. This is why I teach financial brands to transform theirthinking, to put the transformation of people over the commoditizedtransaction of dollars and cents. And this requires courage to do somethingthat really has never been done before. So how do we get there? How do we godeeper into the hearts and minds of digital consumers? That's exactly whereI'd like to guide you next in our conversation, as the great opportunityfor your financial brand is to gain insights through quantitative andqualitative digital secret shopping studies. And the insights gainedthrough these digital secret shopping studies are than further amplified whentaking to consideration competitive benchmarking of other financial brands.Other banks, other credit unions, as well as neo banks and neo lenders theirdigital experiences because all of them provide a foundational relation andrelativism into a consumer's mind off what's being presented. In addition toalso providing some alternative choices available to them. Furthermore, whenthinking about digital secret shopping studies, it offers a tremendouscompetitive advantage for you. And what I mean by that is we did a recentindustry study where we surveyed more than 300 financial brands. And what wefound is that 94% of bank and credit union websites have never undergone anytype of digital secret shopping study. Could you just imagine for a moment, ifAmazon or Zappos or any major digital retailer never secret shopped theirdigital experiences? What would those...

...experiences look like today? Now, onthe flip side of this equation, 72% of financial brands have been performingongoing secret shopping studies for their physical branches. And the lackof focus on digital secret shopping study is troubling because we know fromanother study that we conducted that 87% of consumer journeys begin online,regardless of where they apply online over the phone and the branch. For somequick context, The best way to think about digital secret shopping studiesis through two different lenses. The first is that of quantitative studies,where you can gain some perspectives around the big data sets, think heatmaps, click maps, scroll maps of some of the key product pages on yourwebsites. These quantitative studies, these big data sets provide perspectiveat the macro level and do how people are shopping for product on yourwebsite as well as what specific actions they take throughout the buyingjourney. But the how and the what are only half of the story of the overallnarrative. This is where qualitative studies come into play, and this iswhere you can utilize thick data to uncover the why around. Why do peopledo what they do? And, more importantly, why do they feel the way they feel whenshopping for a financial product on your website? In relation tobenchmarking your digital shopping experience with that of other financialbrands? On the most important element of these qualitative studies comes fromasking the right questions and then responding to a person's unique answerwith empathy. This is why the first two questionsthat we ask here at the Digital Growth Institute when conducting digitalsecret shopping studies for financial...

...brands are contextual and framed arounda specific product. And we asked these first two questions number one beingbased on what you're seeing right now. Do you feel like you can trust thisfinancial brand, and this is one of the most important questions because it's abinary question. It's either true or it's false. It's one or 20 and it's ananswer that's being formed within milliseconds of being presented withthe digital experience, whether that be on a desktop on a tablet or mobiledevice. And now, as we dig deeper into that response, we can then follow upthat question based upon what you see. How does this financial brand make youfeel right now? And even more importantly, why do youfeel that way? And from here from these first twoquestions framed around trust, feelings and emotions, we can then dive into 10to 12 other questions that provide additional perspective and two, why aconsumer thinks the way they do, why they behave the way they do. Why dothey make decisions the way that they're making them when shopping for afinancial product on your website, in relationship to the benchmarking ofexperiences on other bank credit union neo bank, near neo lender websites,mobile sites, etcetera. So as we wrap up today, I'd like tocome back to Ryan's question when he asked How effective are focus groupswhen it comes to things like developing a new website, are optimizing ourdigital products and product positioning? In brief summary, Ryan, Ishared three primary pitfalls and problems for digital consumer focusgroups. Pitfall number one is groupthink, and the confirmation biasof that group think coming out of focus...

...groups. Pitfall number two of focusgroups is there's not always a direct correlation between opinion shared andfocus groups, and the behaviors that people take in reality and then pitfallnumber three is that focus groups tend to focus around the solution when thegreatest opportunities are instead found. By uncovering the roadblocks,the pain points the problems that people are experiencing. But to sharethose financial pain points to share those financial problems specificallyaround money, which that pain is further amplified by financial shame.This is a very difficult conversation for people toe have in front of a groupof strangers. Digital consumer research is hard, but not because findingparticipants and conducting interviews. In fact, it's never been easier toconduct digital secret shopping studies as we've done many times before.Digital consumer research is hard because it forces you to considerpeople's true behaviors their true motivations. And then they might not belike you. And when you get responses, feedback insights back, oftentimesthose challenge your own perceived bias and perspective of the world. Andthat's sometimes very hard thio intake process and then take action on. Furthermore, when we think aboutdigital product optimization and innovation, it comes from recognizing unmet needand really not just an unmet need but a new emotional pain point and thenworking to figure out how toe alleviate that pain, develop the cure, theprescription. And as I've noted through...

...these three pitfalls and problems withfocus groups, it's hard for focus groups to identify a person's greatestpain. Because either a. Most people don't know what they're missing out onuntil they experience it in the first place and be once again, people simplydon't want to share their financial pain, their struggles and really thereshame in front of a group of strangers. So looking ahead the path forward togain clarity into the hearts and minds of digital consumers through digitalsecret shopping studies. This is the opportunity which can heal the greatestinsights for your financial brand simply by asking good questions.Digital secret shopping studies do offer a tremendous competitiveadvantage because we found that 94% of financial brand websites banking creditunion they have never undergone any type of digital secret shopping studyat all. Ever. Just imagine what insights that you'dbe able to uncover and capture if you were to commit to conducting a digitalsecret shopping study for just one key product line on your website every 90days. How much you continue to grow from good to great from these insights,because that is exactly what digital growth is. Digital growth is a journeyof transformation, and it is a journey of guiding people in the communitiesthat you serve beyond their financial stress towards a bigger, better,brighter future. And as you continue to move forwardalong your own digital growth journey, if you have a question like Ryan, Iwant to hear from you because I wanna help you continue to grow from good togreat as you maximize your own future digital growth potential. Just go to www dot go ask jr dot com.Submit your question and I will answer...

...it on a future podcast episode. Andremember, the only bad question is the question that goes unasked until nexttime be well, do good and wash your hands. Thank you for listening toanother episode of banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Ley. Like whatyou hear. Tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review on Applepodcasts, Google Podcast or Spotify and subscribe while you're there to geteven. Mawr Practical in proven insights, visit www dot digital growth dot com tograb a preview of James Roberts bestselling book Banking on DigitalGrowth or order a copy right now for you and your team from Amazon. Inside,you'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framed around 12 keyareas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10 times moreloans and deposits until next time, be well and do good.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (149)