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An asset management firm wanted to understand their customer behaviors and motivations for the launch of a new investment product

Research Method: Customer Journey Maps, 1:1 User Interviews, Affinity Mapping, Card Sorting

Client: Asset Management Firm

1 / Background

The asset management firm wanted a partner to help them map the journeys of different investor audiences, noting critical points and opportunities for impact, so that they can craft a tailored, well-managed experience for their customers throughout all phases of their relationship with them, from awareness and familiarity to loyalty and referral. 


Key questions the investment advisor wanted us to answer include: How can we influence our clients at key moments in their journey? How can we cross-sell other services and facilitate client transition to a higher service level?

2 / Method
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In preparation for our interviews, our teams conducted an analysis of four of our client’s key competitors to understand how their experiences vary. These insights informed the discussion guide and shined a spotlight on potential differentiation points.

Before our user interviews, we created the screener to recruit participants and the semi-structured discussion guide. We conducted 10-12 user interviews for each journey. Interviews allowed us to balance quality time with each participant and gain speed-to-insights.The 10 – 12 interviews gave us both breadth and depth to flesh out a journey map, including representation across segments (age, journey in the shopping funnel, household investable assets, knowledge on investment). 

Once the interviews were done, we conducted different research activities to validate our findings with a new set of participants.  Activities such as card sorting and affinity mapping allowed us to uncover key themes within the process for shopping for an investment advisor. We had both in-person and remote validation sessions, especially because of the pandemic, we quickly switched to conducting remote workshops. We supplemented the in-person exericses with surveys and focus groups. 

From the competitive analysis, user interviews, and validation workshops, we were able to create the customer journey along with a companion insights and recommendation deck for customers in both acquistion and engagement. 

3 / Research Impact
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In addition to the journey maps themselves, the investment firm also received a competitive analysis and insights and recommendations companion decks. 

Through the insights, they learned:

  • How their clients ended up selecting their firm for investment advice

  • What differentiates their firm from its competitors

  • What factors go into total account satisfaction  

  • What factors go into closing out an account


Through the recommendations, they can now:

  • Reach clients at key moments when they are open to influence

  • Deliver targeted messages that resonate

  • Deliver messages using the right channels

4 / My Learnings

Recruit again, if necessary

During this project, we had to re-recruit a set of participants because the first set had limited knowledge on what is a robo-advisor. Even though we wanted customers for an acquisition journey, it was difficult to learn about their shopping process when they equated a robo-advisor to a chatbot. The new set of participants gave us much more insights than the old one, which made us realize the importance of having the right people to interviews. 

Different research methods can still drive similar insights

We had an in-person workshop scheduled for a validation session, but once New York "shut down"because of the pandemic, we quickly changed our workshop into a remote one. Instead of conducting card sorting exercises and mind maps, we switched to surveys and semi-structured discussions. I learned that there's more than one research method to get the answers you need. 

Promote buy-in with individual 1:1s

The client team had a point of contact for each product and customer segmentation. It's easier to promote buy-in when you have individual 1:1s with leads before the team-wide research readouts. 

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