FI Highlight: BankMobile

October 2, 2015
/   Spotlight

Financial institutions that aren’t developing and catering to the wants and needs of younger demographics are missing out on huge opportunities for growth. Luvleen Sidhu, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at BankMobile, spoke with...

EMV Liability Shift: Are You Ready?

September 28, 2015

The talking is nearly over for the US payments industry as October 1st sees the all-important EMV liability shift. Chip cards are being issued to consumers and merchants are upgrading their point of sale...

The 5 Most Dangerous Mobile Banking Habits

September 14, 2015
/   Voices

Mobile banking grows more ubiquitous every year. 52 percent of smartphone owners with a bank account use mobile banking, according to the Federal Reserve, and more than half of users log in at least...

The Case for CSR

September 7, 2015

The demise of a New York City law shouldn’t stop good works

FI Highlight: Nusenda Credit Union

September 1, 2015
/   Spotlight

While it is important for banks and credit unions to consider the needs of consumers, it’s also important for FIs to take employee needs into consideration as well. Michelle Dearholt, SVP of Human Resources at Nusenda...

Is a .bank Domain Right for Your Bank?

August 28, 2015
/   Voices

With the general availability of the .bank registry under way, more than 5,500 applications from over 2,200 banks have already taken place, according to fTLD Registry Services.

Can Smartphones Solve ATM Skimming

/   Insights

ATM skimming remains a big business for organized crime rings. According to a recent article in, card skimming accounted for more than $2 billion in losses. One new approach that banks are exploring...

Cause and Effect: If you build it, will they come?

July 23, 2014
/   Spotlight

Many financial institutions assume that digital banking is lucrative because the most valuable customers happen to bank online. While there is certainly a correlation between online bankers and higher profitability, quantitative evidence suggests that...

Fast Facts: Student Loans

January 22, 2013
/   Insights

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast...

Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services

April 11, 2011
/   Insights

Today, Intuit released the latest edition of the Intuit 2020 report, Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services, which identifies and examines four key trend areas that will  transform the financial services industry...

The Top 10 Trends in the Digital Banking Industry

December 18, 2013
/   Spotlight

2014 is rapidly approaching and as the year wraps, the Digital Insight team has pulled together the top 10 trends in the digital banking industry based on data and trends from studying financial institutions....

Making Banking Fun: Gamification in Financial Services

August 5, 2013
/   Insights

Recently, the team sat in on American Banker’s webinar, “Gamification in Financial Services: Five Proven Ways to Get an Edge,” which shared how leading brands in financial services have applied gamification to reach...

Small Business: Perception vs. Reality

November 21, 2012
/   Insights

In the most recent election cycle, like most others before it, the one sector of the economy that got the most attention was small business.  This is the future, we were told by every...

Technology M&As: The Beats Go On

May 29, 2014
/   Insights

The ongoing fascination with Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics is entirely understandable, because it’s a cool story. However, it also says a lot about what’s going on between finance and tech.

What We’re Reading

May 5, 2011
/   Spotlight

Below are interesting stories the staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below. Virtual Banking Worlds Provide Tangible Lessons American...

What We’re Reading: Thanksgiving Edition

November 22, 2012
/   Spotlight

Below are interesting stories the staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom. Mobile Thursday? Plans for Thanksgiving...

Leave it to quantitative research when you want answers to questions like “where?” “what?” and “how much?”

When you want to know “why?” it’s time for qualitative.

You know all about debt-to-equity ratios, discounted cash flow and option pricing—clear cut areas that you can determine through quantitative research. But what do you know about the drivers of industry cycles? Consumer insights? Management skills? These subjective areas can be measured using qualitative analysis, valuable research that lets you peer into consumers’ minds and better understand what makes them tick.

Professionals in the banking and financial services industries can leverage qualitative research to make financial forecasts based on consumer opinions, more deeply understand customers’ desires and fears, better understand their own teams and areas of expertise, and so much more.

Ready to get started? Here are a few key guidelines when using qualitative research to deliver the powerful insights you need.

  1. Know your objectives.While it seems obvious, it’s amazing how often a very excited and well-intentioned team dives into research before completely buttoning up the objectives of the work. You probably don’t start a road trip without knowing where you need to end up. Starting a research initiative without clear and aligned-upon objectives can have a similar result: lots of wandering around, mixed opinions about where you should end up, issues with timing, and potentially an irrelevant or otherwise less-than-impactful result. Ensuring that the entire team is comfortable with the approach and on board with the timing is also helpful at this early stage, but even those points stem from the objectives so, again, objectives come first.
  2. Focus on the screener. Ensure that your screener specifies the appropriate characteristics, demographics, and product experience of the people with whom you need to connect. And, be sure to allow sufficient recruiting time to find the appropriate target consumer. Once recruiting is underway; the focus shifts to the guide, stimuli creation, and other elements. However, if you’re not engaging the right consumers, even the most well written discussion guide and best developed stimuli is useless.
  3. Design your discussion guide around your objectives. Your research objectives should continue as the leading driver of your topic and discussion set. Work with your consulting partner to ensure that lines of discussion will address the objectives appropriately.
  4. Listen carefully for the themes. While your research objectives should guide your path, be sure to really listen to what the information is telling you—it may be different than what you expected. Going into qualitative research with a hypothesis is great. Reviewing the data and trying to make it fit into what the team “needs” to hear is a huge mistake. Listen to the data with an open mind and to allow the research to guide the findings.
  5. Have an experienced partner. It’s important to find an experienced, capable and trained partner who can work with the entire team to help achieve the research objectives. Conversations should be open and welcoming of additional perspectives. And, sometimes, the role of a true partner is to push back and tell the team things that are important, even if it’s not what the team wants to hear. Valuing and, in fact, encouraging open (and sometimes uncomfortable) conversations leads to deeper analysis and a stronger initiative for the team as a whole.

Through in-depth interviews, group discussions, online forums, and other qualitative methods, you can learn more about who your customers are, what they want, and how you can best deliver what they need.

About Jessica Ritzo: Jessica is director of qualitative research with Insights in Marketing (IIM), a research-based marketing consultancy that helps clients develop the most complete picture of their target audience so they can build emotional and lasting connections with them. 


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Compelling voices and contributed content from around the web

James W. Gabberty

Gabberty is a professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University Polytechnic Institute, he has served as an expert witness in telecommunication and information security at the federal and state levels and holds numerous certifications from SANS & ISACA.

Brad Strothkamp

Marisa Mann

Marisa Mann brings over 15 years of experience in consulting and financial services industries to the Solstice team, working on large scale enterprise initiatives across many technologies, including specializing in the digital space – Internet and mobile. Mann is passionate about mobile and the endless possibilities for the enterprise, delivering business value through strong brand recognition and driving to excellence in the consumer experience. Prior to Solstice, Mann worked at JP Morgan Chase, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, Washington Mutual, Inc, and Accenture.

Zachary Ehrlich

25-year-old writer, and as a native San Franciscan, I am unreasonably loyal to Bank of America, if only for their superhero-like origin story, involving the 1906 earthquake and Italian fruit vendors.