Marketing, strategy and performance in the UK retail financial services industry
This thesis seeks to examine the marketing practices, strategies and organisational characteristics of companies in the UK retail financial services industry. The research utilises both quantitative and qualitative methods, seeking to determine what, if any, differences in approach exist between companies of different types or with different levels of performance. Three methods are used to evaluate performance; self assessment, peer assessment and expert assessment. Data was gathered using a semi-structured questionnaire as the basis for interviews with managers. Quantitative analysis utilised contingency table analysis and discriminant analysis to test for differences between different groups of companies. Account was taken of problems due to small sample size. The Delphi technique, a form of anonymous polling of experts over several rounds with feedback between rounds, was used to construct the expert assessment based measure of performance. Companies with better performance were found to have a different strategy from those with poor performance. Better performing companies were found to have products better at meeting customer needs than those of competitors, and to charge more for them. Better performing companies were found to be faster at new product development and to show a balance in their strategy between finance and market performance based factors. Companies of different types were also found to differ in their marketing approaches. A high level of consistency was found between the various measures of performance used. The measures were highly correlated and the sets of variables found to be related to performance level measured by different means had considerable overlap.