Understanding consumers is central to effective marketing, and yet our understanding of how consumers buy financial services is rather limited. For many personal consumers, financial services are not seen as particularly interesting or exciting purchases; they are seen as complicated, and often it is difficult for consumers to identify differences between a bank account from, say, HSBC and one from Standard Chartered, or between an insurance policy from Aetna and one from AIA. Consumers find it difficult to evaluate their purchase in advance, and consequently experience high levels of perceived risk. Furthermore, as explained in Chapter 3, financial services are often seen as uninteresting and consumption is contingent – that is, the services in themselves do not generate a current consumption benefit; indeed, they can serve to reduce current consumption pleasure. In some cases
By the end of this chapter you will be able to: ● understand the factors that influence consumer decision-making in financial
services ● recognize the ways in which financial services providers can influence the
buying process ● recognize the differences between final consumers and business consumers
in relation to financial services.