Page 4: Research findings
Numeric data gives a factual basis for planning - a snapshot of a situation. On the other hand, qualitative information can find out the things that really matter to consumers. For example, 80 out of 100 consumers questioned might say they preferred one brand of coffee over another. However, more valuable information comes from understanding what it is they prefer. Is it the smell, the taste, the packaging or the price?
To meet student needs for a valuable, helpful financial service, Barclays needed to understand what students really wanted. By using student focus panels and staff working in branches with a high proportion of student customers, Barclays was able to discover students' concerns, priorities and strength of feeling.
The outcomes of the opinion panel and the sample of student customers showed that:
- students relied heavily on different forms of credit. These included an easily manageable bank overdraft to finance their time at university
- students wanted and often needed to own high-tech gadgets and electrical goods, such as laptops
- students wanted to have separate accounts to manage their student borrowing and spending
- any incentives offered would not alone motivate students to choose that product. They were expected as part of any deal.
This insight was a real help to Barclays when considering the most attractive proposition for students. Its objectives were to attract new student accounts. It also wanted to retain students as customers for life in a profitable relationship that met their financial needs.
Barclays could now start to put together an offer that would embrace the main concerns of the target market. These concerns were financial security, credit availability, flexible banking and the right sort of incentives.