In a GAFA world—in the era of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon—traditional financial services companies are facing stiff competition. New players with a non-financial services background are entering the arena, offering products and services that are mobile, social and personal, and that fit effortlessly into consumers’ lives.

Banks and other financial services companies that want to compete can no longer afford to focus only on their processes, regulations and organizational structure. They must rethink their products and how they serve their customers, or risk losing them.

To discover the rules of engagement in this new world, we* partnered with innovation consultancy gravitytank and researched how people deal with financial decisions, and interact with money and banks. Our objective: confirm through qualitative research our hypothesis that digital is actually changing the way consumers deal with money and “money moments”, and thus find a new language to connect with them (right experience, right interaction).

From interviews we discovered that the approaches of customers to money and financial services, rather than varying by demographic (age, sex, income, occupation and location) actually vary by mindset. Mindsets explain how people think and feel about money, how they manage, track and get money, and how and when they spend money.

Money mindsets can be divided into four main categories:

  • Experiencers report that the tangibility of enjoying money makes the work worth it. They spend a greater proportion of their money than those with other mindsets.
  • Balancers want to modulate their in-the-moment decisions without the anxiety of falling short. They define success by getting the best deal in each transaction, maximizing rewards and staying on their financial plan so they don’t have to worry.
  • Explorers want support and resources, not instructions and rules that displace their intuition. They define success by saving money and making trade-offs, so they can be happy and live comfortably.
  • Achievers thrive on goals, progress and knowing they’re in control. They define success by budgeting for clear, often tangible goals. This helps them feel in control and prepared for the future.

We see these mindsets as a valuable tool. They could not only help financial services to better understand their customers’ distinct behaviors, but also construct new and fulfilling experiences, even going as far as identifying the need to access new sources of meaningful data through which to glimpse these mind-sets.

In my next post, I’ll look at how these money mindsets can be used to build a powerful new segmentation model.

*A joint initiative involving Accenture Strategy, Fjord (part of Accenture Interactive) and Accenture FS Distribution & Marketing, co-led by Luis Villa at Fjord and myself

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