We have recently been undertaking some local market research for a financial services business.  The need for the research arose from an analysis of new business.  The company was increasingly finding new business from existing customers and their families and contacts but very little was coming from the immediate locality.

Why is this important?  Well, one of the main reasons is that ‘local’ is flavour of the month, whether in buying fruit and veg or selecting a tradesperson.  Secondly, the financial services firm had a ‘shop window’ or rather an office frontage, door and the potential for revised signage.  Thirdly, the cost of servicing clients in the immediate locality is significantly less in terms of time and travel costs than driving an hour to several meetings before securing any fee paying business – the client is more likely to come to you resulting in 50% more new business meetings.

The main premises of the research was to test whether the ‘man on the street’ was a) aware of the existence of the business, b) if they were, where is the company’s location in the town and finally c) did the interviewee have any knowledge of the services they offer?

Without going into all the methodology and statistics, the main observation was that about 50% of the people surveyed (who lived in the town) had heard of the firm, and of those only 20% knew where to find the offices.  Some even directed the researcher to other financial services firms!  As for the services offered by the client, the results demonstrated that those surveyed had barely any knowledge of what was on offer.

The implications for this client were relatively straight forward.  They were missing out on a niche market that is simple to access.  A nifty piece of local marketing, well presented and focussed on the clients’ needs will turn the balance of new business around.  Watch this space for how it pans out.

This case study demonstrates that businesses become stuck in the same activities because no-one asked the obvious questions.  The knowledge gained from a piece of market research allowed the financial services company to allocate their limited marketing budget effectively.  Maybe you should ask your locals some similar questions?