SPOTLIGHT: Exploring Financial Planning Behaviors

From time to time we like to share some of what we’ve been up to at W5, including how our research engagements have helped clients achieve their business goals and some of the lessons learned. This case study highlights W5’s approach to helping a global financial investment leader in better understanding consumers who do not enlist paid professional financial advice. The client’s goal was to develop strategies and services to better target this audience. The research goals were particularly relevant as consumers have increasingly shifted their financial management behaviors from in-person to online interactions.


W5 conducted one-on-one, in-depth interviews with consumers classified according to varying levels of investible assets between $50K to $500K. Interviews were structured as an opportunity to have natural conversations about their approach to planning and goal setting as opposed to narrowly focusing on perceptions of financial management and investing. By delving deep into respondents’ emotional and rational decision-making processes in other areas of their life, W5 could understand the context for financial decisions.


W5 identified five unadvised consumer personas that were used to communicate the similarities and differences in consumers’ beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes towards financial planning and advisement. W5 also produced a video highlight reel of the interviews to bring the voice and perceptions of the unadvised consumer directly to decision makers at the client’s headquarters. Viewing and targeting unadvised consumers from a more humanistic perspective, as opposed to data-driven asset levels, allowed the client to focus on the motivations and barriers around finances and financial management in a way that encouraged empathetic engagement strategies and relationship building.


Spotlight is a special feature of the W5 Blog showcasing W5 consultants’ approach to designing marketing research studies, creating engaging deliverables, and informing strategy. For more information on W5’s approach to qualitative or quantitative research contact:

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