Helping the Spanish bank refine their roadmap and add value to a core customer segment in the SME banking market

CaixaBank, Spain’s leading financial group in terms of retail banking and one of the most important in Portugal, had witnessed the SME market shifting in other countries. It anticipated that Spain would soon see a similar wave of disruption.

The challenge

CaixaBank wanted to get ahead of the curve of innovation in its own country by securing the first mover advantage. To do this, it had to define a core SME segment to go after: either small entrepreneurs (known locally as ‘autonomos’) or small businesses (‘pymes’).

Typically, most disruption starts with a focus on entrepreneurs, as they’re easier to KYC and they alone contribute to 18% of Spain’s GDP.

What we did

The work we did with CaixaBank had a dual purpose: to provide the team with a data-driven perspective as to which sector they could add the most value to, and to reframe their existing strategy.

Over 6 weeks, we ran two key strands of research:

  • Other markets - We helped CaixaBank identify what players in other markets around the world were doing differently, and how their offerings were disrupting the status quo.
  • The local market - We evaluated its competitors in the Spanish market to see how big banks were changing their strategies to deliver more value to consumers.

First, we held a series of face-to-face and remote interviews with a range of people from both target groups. We interviewed businesspeople from a range of industries, which gave us an initial insight into the key needs and pain points for target customers.

“Mystery shopping” branch research, where we visited a number of Spanish banks, helped us to understand the services being offered by competitors.

Then, armed with a list of Jobs to be Done (JTBD), we ran an online quantitative survey with over 500 people using MaxDiff, a statistical trade-off technique. This allowed us to size and rank which JTBD offered the biggest customer opportunity.

Defining a market opportunity matrix

Having combed the competitor landscape, we developed a market opportunity matrix, focusing on four key areas. (Notably, entrepreneurs and small businesses prioritise JTBD differently, so we made sure to factor this into our recommendations.)

Hygiene factors

These are areas where customers already feel they’re well served. Any bank must deliver on these (and to a high standard) in order to stay competitive.

Hygiene factors that were applicable to both entrepreneurs and small businesses included ensuring they’re only doing financial admin that adds real value, and being able to communicate easily with the business’ bank.

Current battlefield

We presented some areas in which competitors are starting to create products and services to satisfy underserved customer needs.

Areas to de-prioritise

We looked to assess whether there were any elements in CaixaBank’s existing roadmap that could be de-prioritised to allow the team to focus on other areas.

Growth opportunity

We established which customer needs are not already being serviced by the market, and how CaixaBank can develop solutions to solve that.

Jobs that were considered important for both groups were connecting with people or businesses who demand their products or services, and always having access to funds when they’re needed.

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