Only a few years ago, the corporate view of retirement planning at San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Bank tended to focus on dollars and cents â€” how much an individual needed to invest, by when and for how many years,â€ write Julien Cayla, Robin Beers and Eric Arnould, authors of the article â€œStories That Deliver Business Insights,â€ in the Winter 2014 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review. This segmentation did not account for context such as whether a person was inclined to think about long-term financial goals.
â€œAs part of an ethnographic project commissioned by the bank, researchers had customers walk through a life timeline and recount activities they engaged in that related to retirement planning in each decade of their lives â€” their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond,â€ write the authors. The stories showed that baby boomers faced â€œa complex phenomenon of continually negotiated personal travails and marketplace dynamics.â€
As a result of what they heard, the Wells Fargo team reworked how they think of customers. The bank developed a behavior-based segmentation that divided retirement approaches into three groups â€” Reactor, Pooler and Maximizer. […]
As a result, the bank adjusted its marketing strategy and â€œdesigned its retirement planning site to include the various life stages used in the ethnographic research to convey the message â€˜we meet you where you areâ€™ and provide relevant, unintimidating guidance â€” as opposed to producing numbers-dense material filled with endless financial projections.â€