The posts here represent the opinions of CMB employees and guests—not necessarily the company as a whole. 

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Infographic: What do Mobile Wallets Have to do With Loyalty?

Posted by Judy Melanson

Wed, Apr 03, 2013

The Mobile Wallet is a hot topic for those in the retail, technology and financial services industries. As you may know, mobile wallets allow customers to pay at store checkouts with a tap or wave of their smartphones. In our recent Consumer Pulse study of 1,500 smartphone users, we learned that half are unaware of Mobile Wallets.

To drive adoption, retailers and technology providers will need to overcome a lack of awareness and fear of new technology, all while offering a clear advantage over more traditional payment methods. As shown below, loyalty programs provide a key leverage point to drive Mobile Wallet adoption.

mobile wallet loyalty

Click to see larger version

Download our latest report on the Barriers and Opportunities for Mobile Wallet and learn more about what will drive (and block) adoption, and who has the advantage as we enter the next leg of the mobile wallet race.

Judy is VP of CMB's Travel & Entertainment practice and loves collaborating with clients on driving customer loyalty.  She's the mom of two teens and the wife of an oyster farmer. Follow Judy on Twitter at @Judy_LC

Topics: technology research, financial services research, mobile, Consumer Pulse, customer experience and loyalty, retail research

New Study: Consumers and the Race for Mobile Wallet

Posted by Megan McManaman

Mon, Apr 01, 2013

Mobile Wallet CMBYou’re about to step out your front door...

But wait just a moment! You can only take your phone or your wallet, which will it be?

Pre-smartphone there would be no contest, I’d take my wallet. But times have changed, and the balance has now tipped in favor of my beloved iPhone. Beyond checking email, I use my phone to deposit checks, see when the train is coming, read the news, record my ski stats, listen to music, and if I've also forgotten my lunch, I can use a mobile wallet app to buy a sandwich at the deli across the street.Of course there’s more to mobile wallets than the fate of my lunch, there are billions of dollars at stake for the banks, credit card companies, start-ups, tech giants and others who want to dominate, or just cash in on, the evolving relationship we have with our smartphones. In our latest Consumer Pulse, we surveyed 1,479 smartphone users about what they know about mobile wallets, what’s keeping them from using, what features they’d like to see, and who they'd trust to provide them.

First things first, half of respondents said they were familiar with mobile wallet technology (or proximity payments)—apps that let users swipe or tap their phone at the point of sale, rather than using credit cards or cash. When we asked this 50% to tell us about their experience and expectations for using mobile wallets most said they didn’t plan on adopting a mobile wallet…but nearly a quarter said they were planning to try out the technology in the next 6 months (TWEET THIS). That’s no small number considering smartphone ownership is nearly ubiquitous.

Now let’s consider our more reticent smartphone users, what’s keeping them from trying out the technology that’s already at their finger-tips? We weren’t surprised to find that security (73% called it a barrier to adoption)—particularly identity theft—was high on the list of what’s keeping people from giving up on cash and credit (TWEET THIS). The good news for mobile wallet providers is 79% said they’d be more likely to adopt if they were guaranteed 100% protection against fraud and theft. While many mobile wallet providers already offer this protection, the results show there’s a real opportunity to benefit from promoting this type of security measure (TWEET THIS).

If you’ve assuaged the fear of being scammed, stolen from, and over-charged (remember when people were afraid to shop online?) what’s next?  Aside from the novelty of scanning your phone, what’s the incentive behind using a mobile wallet over your, just as convenient, credit card? We found reward and loyalty points were very appealing, particularly when offered as additions to existing rewards people get with their credit cards—80% of non-adopters said they’d be more likely to adopt if offered these extra rewards (TWEET THIS). Of course people like rewards and points—you don’t need to be a marketer to understand that. But nearly as many (66%) said that getting the same rewards they got with their credit card would increase their likelihood to adopt—to which I say, c’mon people aim a little higher.

So yes, rewards are nice, but one of the best things about smartphones is the ability to look stuff up. Think of how many arguments have been nipped in the bud by a quick search of imdb.com or Wikipedia. That ability to find the information you want any time, any place, is just as compelling in a shopping context. Including location-based services like the ability to easily compare items in stores nearby increases likelihood to adopt among 78% of non-adopters (TWEET THIS). But we also found people were a little leery of getting too many alerts, both because they can be annoying and because they suck down battery life. Note to providers, offering people the choice of what alerts and discounts they receive could be a major draw as they decide who they’d like to provide their mobile wallet service.

The topic of mobile is rightly dominating the discussion in almost every industry, but the fact is, for most people mobile wallets are still incredibly new. Amid all the noise and growth, there’s still tremendous opportunity for providers who understand the concerns, goals, needs, and desires of the millions (billion?) of people with the technology right at their fingertips.

Mobile Moment ICON

Download the full report and learn more about what will drive (and block) adoption, and who has the advantage as we enter the next leg of the mobile wallet race.




Megan is CMB's Product Marketing Manager, she loves Alpine Replay, and longs for the day she can unlock the front door with her phone.

Topics: technology research, financial services research, mobile, Consumer Pulse, retail research

Market Researchers: What We've got Here is a Failure to Communicate

Posted by Jim Garrity

Wed, Feb 06, 2013

The next time you attend a market research conference, listen very, very carefully. That dull buzzing sound you hear is the collective whine of hundreds of market researchers lamenting their inability to get a seat at the big kids' table or even just some recognition for all the value they provide.

 I know it hurts, but it’s time to do some soul searching and address the all too common ways market researchers get in their own way:

  • over-reliance on statistical significance

  • inability to put oneself in the business partner’s shoes

  • focusing on research objectives rather than business objectives

  • unwillingness to commit to a point-of-view regarding what the data means

I’m not the only one who’s picked up on these industry-wide weaknesses; witness the popularity of the mysterious Angry MR Client on Twitter and GreenBook.  There isn’t a silver bullet that will fix all of the issues facing our industry, but I am sure of this: we need to communicate better.

Over and over I hear people lament that researchers need to do a better job “telling stories.”  I agree completely, and it’s something we have prided ourselves on at CMB for the last 5-10 years.  Lucky for us, while there’s always been and always will be a “story” to tell, there are now so many more tools to help us elicit that actionable insight from the stream of data.  Say what you will about the rise of the quants but there’s much to be said about the art of data, and that can mean taking a visual approach to data—no, not a pie chart.

At CMB, we have graphic designers who, in addition to making our PowerPoint reports look great, have also designed some great infographics.  There are so many more mediums for storytelling available to us and it would be crazy not to take advantage of them.  Maybe there’ll always be an audience for the traditional PPT report/presentation, but I’ll bet there’s also an audience for an infographic, like the one below, highlighting key takeaways:

Banking infographic CMB

We’ve provided these for Customer Experience and Brand Tracking engagements and our clients really enjoy them. Easy to read visuals, like infographics, are a great way to socialize key takeaways across an organization where not everyone needs to go through a huge deck. 

We’ve also gotten great feedback on our Prezis – mini movies that add energy and emotion to the story.  Check out this one that we’ve dummied up to tell the story of a fictitious bank. 

ABC Bank Video from CMBinfo on Vimeo.

We’ve given these in advance of an annual presentation and the result has been increased attendance, improved engagement, and better solution-brainstorming. 

These are just two really simple examples of how you can take storytelling to the next level, engage your audience in the insight, and perhaps get that seat in the C-Suite.

Jim is Managing Director of CMB’s Financial Services practice. He enjoys sweeping historical dramas and is working on his Downton Abbey infographic.

Stephanie Kimball, our Marketing Operations Manager, created the infographic and Prezi you see here. She gets her inspiration from many places, including the 3 million Redbox movies she rents every week.

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, storytelling, consumer insights, Consumer Pulse

From ATM's to Mobile Banking: The Changing Meaning of "Great Service"

Posted by Christine Gimber

Wed, Aug 15, 2012

BayBank CardWhen I moved to Boston in 1988 for college, I was very excited to receive my first “BayBank card.” For those of you from the area, you’ll recall with a smile that BayBank was the dominant area bank; it subsequently merged with Bank Boston which then merged with Fleet. However, through all those changes everyone (at least in my circle) called their ATM card their “BayBank card.” Getting a BayBank card was really your only option if you valued the convenience of an ATM on each and every corner of the three mile stretch from Kenmore Square to Packard’s Corner in Allston. Back then I needed to get cash in $10 increments as easily as I could grab a slice at Captain Nemo’s Pizzeria on Comm Ave. or talk my way into Father’s First Bar in Allston.

Over time, however, my needs as well as my definition of convenience changed. As time marched on, I started to think about buying a home, saving, and investing. Convenience was still the most important thing to me, but convenience now meant ubiquitous ATMs, a close branch to open new accounts, as well as a host of connected financial products. I liked being able to do all my business in one place. I was an established customer, and pretty pleased with the convenience of one-stop-shopping.

However, I feel like a new definition of convenience is on my horizon having more to do with useful, practical technology solutions. I want to view my investments, credit cards, savings accounts for my kids, and checking accounts all on one screen. I want to work with my bank virtually; I have two checks in my wallet, just sitting there waiting for me to make my way to an ATM machine. There is one up the street, about a half block diversion from my train, but without exception I leave work later than I should in order to collect my children from their babysitter, so I bypass that ATM. So there they sit, my sad paper checks, uncashed in my wallet and feeling very inconvenient.

The latest Consumer Pulse study from CMB uncovers some very interesting findings regarding convenience and perceptions of value among consumers. Nearly half (48%) of bank customers believe banks can differentiate themselves with good service. But they are like me—the definition of “good service” is evolving; convenience is no longer just about more branches and ATMs, but also about innovative technologies and remote banking options.

The study also found that while larger banks have a reputation for offering the most online and mobile services, credit union customers report online banking usage that is just as high as larger bank customers, and they give their institutions higher marks on performance than they’re larger peers. I would never have associated credit unions with convenience, but technology and their smaller customer bases are leveling the playing field. I wish that I had remote deposit capture, and I hear rumors that my big-bank provider has it, but I can’t find any information about it on my online banking portal. Not very convenient.  

My brother-in-law is a 26 years old gadget-guy, and a rabid fan of USAA for both insurance and banking. He was never in the military (his grandfather was), so when I learned about his fandom, I was curious because it didn’t add up. I thought of USAA as traditional player, the epitome of an old-school company.  He cited “great service” as the reason he’s loyal. When I asked what he meant by “great service,” he mentioned that he was first among his friends to have remote capture deposit. Definitions of service and convenience are changing; it will be fascinating to see which financial institutions keep up.

Learn more about how technology is changing the definition of good service:

describe the image

 Download the full report: The New Banking Value Proposition.




Posted by Christine Gimber, Christine is an Account Executive with CMB’s Financial Services team. A few of the things keeping Christine from cashing those checks are her three little kids, and competing in triathlons.

Topics: financial services research, mobile, Consumer Pulse

Bank Approval: What Matters to Customers

Posted by Jim Garrity

Wed, Jul 11, 2012

If you believe the news you might imagine Americans have a pretty low opinion of bankers. It seems cut and dried; the recession laid bare a lot of anger over banks’ role in the economy’s crash.  But new insights from our Consumer Pulse research on banking approval, suggest bank customers’ views are a bit more balanced. We asked over 1,400 bank and credit union customers how they felt about their primary bank and the industry as a whole.  

We found that while it’s true that most Americans aren’t happy with the banking industry they are pretty happy with their own banks. This kind of discrepancy isn’t shocking or unusual— Congress has abysmal approval ratings, but people tend to rank their own representatives quite highly, clearly personal experience counts for a great deal.  

CMB bank approval
When we looked at customers' banking approval and experience we found some things worth noting:  

  • Approval ratings vary by bank type. Community banks and credit unions were rated more highly than regional and large national banks, with credit union customers giving high marks to many elements of their banking experience, from fees and rates to commitment to the community and remote banking offerings. In fact 85% of credit union customers rated the value they got from their bank as “excellent.”

  • As for what doesn’t appear to impact approval ratings, those with household incomes under 50k gave just slightly higher approval (51%) to their banks, compared to those making 100k or more (47%).

  • Just 9% of customers who disapprove of their banks (and 2% of all respondents) say they’re actively looking for a new bank, but willingness to make the switch also varies by bank type. A full 22% of regional bank customers who disapprove of their bank say they are actively looking for a new bank, versus only 7% of large bank customers. One explanation for this disparity is that while large banks are known for accessibility and product breadth, and small banks are recognized for personal service and lower fees; regional banks are often chosen for their proximity. And as we’ve seen in our previous Consumer Pulse research, increasingly that is not enough.

  •  Wondering why customers so displeased with their bank, end up staying? Over half (54%) agree switching banks is a hassle.

Amidst the real anger and displeasure aimed at banks and the banking industry as a whole, the real message may be: don’t underestimate the power of the customer’s banking experience. Fewer than one in five of respondents agreed that “all banks are pretty much the same.” This is good news for banks who can take the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition and from a terrible industry reputation.

Download The Future of the full-Service bank Branch here.CMB Banking Consumer Pulse

Posted by Jim Garrity, Jim is Managing Director of CMB’s Financial Services    practice. He isn't looking to switch banks anytime soon.

Topics: financial services research, Consumer Pulse, customer experience and loyalty

Infographic: The Future of the Full-Service Bank Branch

Posted by Stephanie Kimball

Wed, Jun 13, 2012

banking infographic

Infographic designed by Stephanie Kimball. Stephanie is CMB's Marketing Operations Manager. You can follow her on Twitter at @SKBalls

Topics: infographic, financial services research, Consumer Pulse

Are Full-Service Branches Here to Stay? Don't Bank on it.

Posted by Jim Garrity

Wed, Jun 13, 2012

Bank Research CMBThirty years ago, the ATM revolutionized banking convenience by letting customers conduct their business at any time, and without stepping foot in a branch— there are now several generations who can’t remember a time before you could just “hit the machine.”  But all that automation meant fewer bank customers face to face with bank reps and the products they sell. Decades later, rising cost pressures, new regulations, consumer desire for added convenience, and diminishing returns on full-service bank branches have created an economic challenge for banks.

To understand the impact of these changes, through our Consumer Pulse we explored customer perspectives on bank convenience, fees, and branch alternatives. We found what bank customers say they value, doesn’t necessarily match up with what they’re actually doing.  We asked people how important having a branch nearby was to their sense of banking convenience—most (67%) reported it was “very important.”  Taken by itself this isn’t a shocking statistic; we know bank customers appreciate personal service and convenience. But asked how often they actually go to a bank (not an ATM—a full-service branch) nearly half (45%) go fewer than 5 times per year.   

What explains this disconnect between what consumers say they need and what they actually use?  Online and mobile banking services mean customers can conduct most transactions from the comfort of their home or office. Although a trip to the local branch is often unnecessary when you can check your balance, transfer funds, or make payments from your phone, customers find full-service branches appealing. Still, fond memories may not be enough to keep branches, as customers know them, open.  

For the first time in over a decade, banks are closing branches faster than they’re opening them, and banks are looking to alternatives with lower overhead and operating costs. To understand what alternatives were most and least appealing, we asked respondents to participate in a trade-off exercise to evaluate new banking concepts. When forced to choose, customers were willing to give up their local branches rather than see fees rise. These findings suggest branch proximity, while still important to many, is not as critical to a convenient banking experience as it might have been in the past.

One of the alternative banking concepts we tested was the” teller-less” branch. The teller-less branch is largely automated, but sales professionals are available to discuss bank products, and customer representatives are available by phone. In one of the more surprising findings, customers said they would rather have their local branch close altogether than have it replaced with a teller-less branch. This finding, while counter-intuitive, is telling—banks will need to educate their customers on how new banking concepts will affect and benefit them.

While the full-service bank branch may become a thing of the past, banking convenience and service are as relevant to today’s bank customers as ever—even as the modes of service change.

Banking research CMB Consumer PulseDownload the full report: The Future of the full-Service bank Branch here.

Posted by Jim Garrity, Jim is Managing Director of CMB’s Financial Services practice. He hasn’t stepped foot in his bank branch in months.

Topics: financial services research, mobile, Consumer Pulse

We are the Millennials! AND WE ARE. . .Hopeless?

Posted by Keri Ibbitson

Wed, May 30, 2012

Millenials textingThe other day I read an interesting article in the Chicago Tribune; the headline read:   Hard-hit Millennials less likely to be brand loyal. As a “hard-hit” millennial (those aged 19-34), who owes the value of a modest-home in student loans, I was very interested in what the marketing masterminds of the world had concluded. Turns out, it’s not so good.

According to a study released by WSL Strategic Retail, 25% of Millennials reported that they do not have enough money to cover basic needs. It also concluded that 80% of Millennials believe it’s important to get the lowest price when shopping and 60% would choose a lower priced item over their usual brand if it meant saving a few bucks.  The article also suggests that retailers had previously considered Millennials their “golden ticket” to growth and success. I guess they opened the wrong Wonka bar.

As an agent of consumer research, I began to wonder about our clients and other brand marketers. Are they spending sleepless nights trying to develop plans to compensate for a demographic that is not only unwilling, but virtually unable to spend? Millennials have already been dubbed “untouchable” by traditional marketing standards due to the digital boom; it makes you wonder why brands would invest countless dollars in research and marketing efforts if Millennials are such a lost cause. My advice to marketers? …don’t start losing sleep just yet.

To be clear, we see evidence that supports WSL’s conclusions. Our Winter 2011 Consumer Pulse research on loyalty found that Millennials expressed less loyalty than Boomers to a range of products, with the exception of social networking sites and electronics.

However, we can also find support that suggests Millennials are not as hopeless as they seem. The same Pulse research found that 84% of Millenials consider themselves moderately loyal. In addition, nearly half (46%) said that there are companies or products they’re so “loyal” to that they do not consider price when making a purchase decision. So how does one crack that egg?  What it comes down to is experience. Fifty-three percent of Millenials were willing to pay a bit more to companies they’ve used before and whose products they know they’ll like.

Despite it all, Millennials appear optimistic. Having grown up in an era plagued by war and economic strife, you would think the negativity would bring us down. However, Millennials are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. According to a separate Consumer Pulse research study CMB conducted in summer 2011, 48% of Millennials surveyed were optimistic that their financial situation would get better in the next 12 months. And nearly a third (29%) said the economic downturn had no effect on their stress levels.

While our pockets may not be as deep as we would like, we are optimistic they one day will be. In fact, the same Summer 2011 Pulse research found 59% of Millennials viewed “being indulgent” a highly important goal/value. When the day finally comes where we can afford to spend, you can bet we will, and loyalty will be a driver. So have a little faith, brand marketers of the universe…we Millennials sure do. 

To read our latest Consumer Pulse reports exploring exploring trends in social media, healthcare, technology, travel, entertainment, and finance, click here.

Posted by Keri Ibbitson. Keri is an Associate Researcher with the Travel and Entertainment team. She considers herself very brand loyal, always choosing General Mills Cocoa Puffs over store brands.

Topics: millennials, Consumer Pulse, customer experience and loyalty

Young Consumers Poised to Disrupt Yet Another Business Model: Pay TV

Posted by Peter Fondulas

Wed, Apr 18, 2012

RNew Age of TV-poltergeistemember the heyday of the music industry? Remember how the big music companies pulled off a nearly unthinkable feat—convincing consumers to re-buy previously purchased products (vinyl) on a new medium (CD)? That’s what can happen when you’re the only game in town.

In addition to generating “found” revenue, the move from vinyl (including vinyl 45s) to CD had another profound impact—it solidified the album as the industry's unit of purchase. Hear a song you like? Hand over ten or fifteen dollars and you can own it. We’ll of course throw in other songs; maybe you'll like them, maybe you won’t. But you really have no other choice.

Somewhere along the line, young consumers—college students especially—got it into their heads that they no longer wanted to pay for music. And, as hard as it is to believe, they were even less interested in paying for music they didn’t want in the first place. File-sharing sites like Napster were happy to oblige. Not only did consumers begin downloading music for free, but perhaps more significantly, they also embraced a new type of music business model—an à la carte, unbundled model, where they could choose only the music they wanted.  How quickly did the music industry adapt? Well, you know how that played out….

Young consumers appear to be at it again, poised to disrupt another industry that's built its fortunes on a bundled-service business model and on being the only game in town: the pay TV industry. The numbers aren't huge yet, but 5% of consumers in our recent New Age of Television study say they've never had a pay TV subscription. If you’re thinking that these are the folks with aluminum-foil rabbit ears on their TV sets, think again. Half of these "never had pay TV" household decisionmakers are 22-30 years old (more than double the percentage in the study’s total sample) and 63% have college degrees (also higher than the norm) Their income is lower than average, but they've chosen to spend their money on broadband service (they had to have broadband to be included in our study), and not on cable and satellite.

And yes, they are watching TV and movies. They're just accessing that content the same way they presumably learned to do so in college—on their laptops (72% watched on a computer in the week prior to the study), and finding content from aggregators like Hulu (43%), network TV sites (33%), and file-sharing sites (10%). They’re accessing the specific programs they want without paying for unwanted programs or networks in a bundle. They may have to wait a year to watch the first season of Homeland, but that may not be a huge deal, considering how much they'd need to pay for that privilege and how much other content is available online.

The multimillion-dollar question: Will these young consumers eventually get pay TV? The answer: unlikely, at least based on what they told us. Only 15% said that they would definitely or probably sign up within the next 3 years.

Three years is practically an eternity in today’s TV world; who knows what will happen between now and then? Once these consumers settle in to a more stable life, start a family, and make more money, they could decide that the convenience of picking up a single remote for access to a ton of content is too attractive to resist. But then again, by that time someone may come up with an online solution that's just as, or even more, convenient. And maybe it will be less expensive.

We're going to keep an eye on "never had pay TV” consumers in future waves of our study. And the industry will probably want to as well. After all, it’s not as if college graduates—looking for places to live, comfortable accessing content online, and with limited finances—are going to be in short supply any time soon.

Posted by Peter Fondulas. Peter is co-author of the New Age of TV study, a CMB consultant, and President of Fondulas Strategic Research.

Download the summary report The New Age of Television: How Consumers Make Choices in a New Era of Entertainment Options


Topics: Consumer Pulse, television, digital media and entertainment research

New Study Explores What Drives Consumers to "Like" and Subscribe

Posted by Keri Ibbitson

Tue, Mar 27, 2012

CMB infographicIn 6th grade, my teacher sent home a survey to parents about “What motivates your child.” My mother wrote down three things: candy, money, and anything free. I remember this so vividly because I was mortified. I wanted her to say something meaningful like, “positive praise” or “a creative academic environment.” But no, she laid it all out on the table; that I was a greedy, Twix-loving, free loader.

Here at CMB, we spend a considerable amount of time investigating what motivates consumer behaviors. We want to know what the consumer is doing and why, and we want realistic and actionable insights. Keeping this in mind, I have considered my mother’s response to that long-ago survey and realized she probably should ditch being a nurse and consider a career in marketing.

To take an in-depth look at what motivates consumers to “Like” a company on Facebook and subscribe” to e-mails we partnered with Constant Contact to survey 1,481 Americans over 18.  The top motivators to these two strategic means of engagement are: to receive special discounts, or take part in special promotions. This concept of free giveaways, deep discounts, and being privy to special information is a major driver of customer engagement.

While the understanding that consumers enjoy receiving deals and free gifts may not seem like breaking news at first, it’s an important finding for companies looking to get the best return on where they decide to spend money on special deals, discounts, and giveaways. In a recent Consumer Pulse exploring the motivations of customer satisfaction survey takers, we found many consumers were motivated by the desire to improve the company and service rather than free gifts and incentives. Yet this doesn’t hold true for consumers “liking” brands on social media or subscribing to email lists.

Many consumers don’t particularly care about the bottom line of their favorite brands or businesses. They want to know “what can you do for me?”  Businesses who utilize e-mail and social networking to engage with their consumers need to heed this opportunity. More often than not, consumers want to know how they will benefit from a long-term business to consumer partnership.  Organizations that best understand the underlying intentions of their consumers have the key to turning special promotions and discount programs into lasting customer relationships. 

Long-term engagement is essential to solidifying a brand in any market. With the volume of communication and information sharing ever growing, businesses need to be prepared to meet their markets’ expectations. Consumers spend a lot of time on these outlets and businesses must be able to find a way to provide something meaningful so they’re not lost in the noise. Facebook pages and informational e-mails are only as good as what they can provide to their audience.

CMB Consumer Pulse

Download the full report: 10 Facts about Why and How Consumers "Like and Subscribe here.




Posted by Keri Ibbitson. Keri is an Associate Researcher with the Travel and Entertainment team. She has found her motivational drivers have grown since 6th grade, and they reach well beyond candy, money & free stuff. 

Topics: social media, Consumer Pulse, customer experience and loyalty