First Direct - market research


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This is assignment from International Marketing about First Direct. The work required deep understanding of market research and business strategies

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First Direct - market research

  1. 1.  Marketing Strategy6MK001 International  Assignment 1 5 March 2012
  2. 2.  part of HSBC has been providing online banking for almost 20 years claimed to be the UK’s most recommended bank* focused on outstanding service and customer satisfaction awarded as the best service provider, overall best provider, most trusted service account provider and many more very interactive company through their website, Facebook page and Youtube channel Company’s competitive advantage: does not have a branch network (customer access services over the internet or by telephone or through mobile phone banking services over 80% of transactions use the online channel customer service is a key factor; research shows that in terms of customer service the firm is the UK’s number one bank customers always speak to real person, not an automated machine good communication with customers training and development is very important destination employer; keeps their employers for a large part of their careers website is easy to use one of the best security systems in the banking industry first bank to develop a platform for iPhone banking great reputation; one in three of new customers come to the bank as a direct result of recommendation reduced costs of resolving problems and dealing with complaints because of a great customer service (Business Case Studies website, 2012; First Direct website, 2012)* From 6 September 2011 to 26 December 2011, 68% of 102 first current account customers had actually recommended the bank. Closest brand over thesame time period had 44% of 204 current account customers recommend the bank. Source: Independent Survey.
  3. 3.  Marketing research can be defined as the systematic gathering, recording, analysis and interpretation of data on problems relating to the marketing of goods and services. Marketing research is very important. Lack of knowledge of foreign market is a major barrier for international companies. Marketing research helps to overcome this barrier by collecting the data and expertise which is fundamentally important for decision-making process. The use of secondary data in marketing research is essential. In this report, information available on the Internet will be analysed and compared. The Internet will be used because it has transferred the way we find information on customers and track market worldwide and because of the worldwide web companies now are able to get information that was previously impossible or too expensive to come by. (Doole & Lowe, 2012) Research will be done using online databases. There are numerous advantages in using online databases: o They are regularly updated o Web bases information suppliers are able to offer more selective, dynamic and up to date information o Retrieving information online is much more cost-effective o The type and volume of trade information available online has expanded dramatically over recent years o The use of the internet is one of the most important ways in which connectivity can improve a firm’s ability to develop international markets o It is much cheaper than collection of primary data, which will not be used in the research. Primary research would entail substantial investment costs in developing basic information relating to sampling frames or trained qualified interviewers The list of websites and databases used in the research: o OECD website: o CIA Factbook: o UK Trend & Investment: The goal of the research is to provide an assessment of market demand globally, an evaluation of potential markets and of the risks and costs involved in market entries, as well as detailed information on which to base effective marketing strategies. Research will be achieved by three stages: o Scanning international markets to identify and analyse the opportunities using relevant statistics from OECD website. Scanning is to reduce potential markets to five for futher, more detailed, investigation o Comparison of five potential markets and their characteristics – SLEPT analysis and risk evaluation o Identification of the best possible market and detail conclusion and analysis of the sector
  4. 4.  Scanning international markets: International markets are going to be scanned to identify which countries have the potential to growth. Markets will be compared in terms of their accessibility, profitability and market size. Scanning process helps to identify countries where marketing opportunities exist. (Doole & Lowe, 2012) Relevant statistics will be used to identify the best five countries to invest in. Markets will be compared in terms of demand. As First Direct provides banking services, mortgages, credit cards, savings, investments and insurance and their customers need access to the Internet and/or mobile phones, relevant statistics are: o Balance of payments – current account balance, % of GDP o Broadband – households with broadband access o Disposable income – real household disposable income o Household saving rates – forecast o Average insurance spending per capita o Welfare – public pension expenditure o Market size – population Furthermore, the scanning will be concluded and five potential markets will be identified
  5. 5.  As five potential markets has been identified, further research will conclude: o SCLEPT analysis of these markets o Type of market identification and the level and nature of competition o Risk evaluation using the four-risk matrix Furthermore, the final selection of one potential market will be made and the justification of selection will be made in the form of conlusion of the most important and influencial factors for a business Detailed analysis will be done on the profile of potential market and the sector
  6. 6. Statistics used and countries ranked:a) Balance of payments – current account balance, % of GDP (2010)Top 5 countries: Switzerland, Norway, Luxemburg, Germany, Denmarkb) Broadband – households with broadband access (2009)Top 5 countries: South Korea, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmarkc) Disposable income – real household disposable income (2010)Top 5 countries: Norway, South Korea, Canada, Slovak Republic, Finlandd) Household saving rates – forecast (2012)Top 5 countries: Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Australiae) Average insurance spending per capita (2009)Top 5 countries: Luxemburg, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Norwayf) Welfare – public pension expenditure (2007)Top 5 countries: Switzerland, Netherlands, United States, Canada, Belgiumg) Market size – population (2010)Top 5 countries: China, India, United States, Indonesia, BrazilAll the statistics are shown in Appendix 1
  7. 7.  As market scanning has shown the most profitable countries which demand services offered by First Direct are: o Switzerland – 4 appearances in the rankings o Norway – 4 appearances in the rankings o Luxemburg, Germany, Denmark, South Korea, Sweden, Canada, Belgium – 2 appearances in the rankings As there are seven countries with 2 appearances in the rankings, they will be compared in terms of market size, and three will be chosen. These countries are: o Germany o South Korea o Canada Finally, five potential markets are: o Switzerland o Norway o Germany o South Korea o Canada
  8. 8.  SLEPT analysis is an investigation of the Social, Legal, Economic, Political, and Technological influences on a business. Social factors relate to pattern of behaviour, consumers’ tastes and lifestyles. Age structure also have influence on buying trends. Companies need to adapt to changing styles and fashions. Legal factors include laws, regulations, consumer protection legislations, environmental legislation, health&safety, employment laws which can influence the business. Economic factors include changes in the interest rate, wage rates, and the rate of inflation (i.e. general level of increase in prices). Businesses will be more encouraged to expand and take risks when economic conditions are right, e.g. low interest rates and rising demand. Political factors relate to changes in government influence and also organisations such as European Union. These changes include directives and regulations. Technological factors include technology development and access to modern communication technologies, which help to reduce costs. (Jeannet, Hennessey, 2004;Doole & Lowe, 2012)
  9. 9. SLEPT Norway Switzerland Germany South Korea Canada - First language is Korean but English is widely taught at schools - 72.9% of population is in working age (CIA Factbook – South Korea, 2012) - - Second largest insurance market and third largest banking market in Asia - Despite the global economic slowdown, annual insurance premium - -English is first foreign maintained a high growth trend in 2011 due to changes in the financial - Cultural similarities language, and is ideal - Possible language - Possible language environment as well as diversifying consumer needs. - English as a first business environment for barrier barrier - The on-going demand for after-retirement protection-type products as language UK exporters (UK Trade - 67.8% of - 66.1% of population well as health insurance products, including accident and illness, and - 68.5% of population isSocial & Investment, 2012) population is in is in working age medical expense coverage products are expected to drive this growth. in working age (CIA - 66% of population is in working age (CIA (CIA Factbook – In life insurance sector, sales of both annuities and savings insurance Factbook – Canada, working age (CIA Factbook – Germany, 2012) products are in high demand among consumers. 2012) Factbook – Norway, Switzerland, 2012) - It is expected that South Korean insurance sector will grow in coming 2012) years on account of more demand for retirement pension scheme, health insurance policies and introduction of new products/policies with more benefits as well as protection.(UK Trade & Investment – Korea, 2012) - The policies of government have an emphasis on expenditure - mixed legal system combining European civil law, Anglo-American law, on social welfare, the and Chinese classical thought (CIA Factbook – South Korea, 2012) environment and local - With EU-Korea FTA taking effect from 1 July 2011, the market has government at home. become more attractive to foreign investors. - Important issues for - Financial Investment Services and Capital Market Act (FSCMA) The Norway’s foreign policy FSCMA came into force in February 2009. The new law was meant to include climate change, reshape the landscape of the industry by breaking down regulatoryLegal sustainable energy and barriers separating stock brokerages, futures trading and asset security (UK Trade & management, thus encouraging market consolidation to form large, Investment, 2012) internationally competitive players. (UK Trade & Investment – Korea, - It is unlikely that the 2012) company will be faced with requests for bribes when doing business (UK Trade & Investment - Norway, 2012)
  10. 10. SLEPT Norway Switzerland Germany South Korea Canada - over the past four decades has - solid GDP growth in 2004- demonstrated incredible growth and global 07slowed in 2008, and - Highly developed service integration to become a high-tech contracted in 2009, before sector, led by financial industrialized economy returning to positive growth in services – very strong - GDP per capita: $31,700 (2011 est.) 2010-11 competition - the fifth largest - Inflation rate: 4.2% (2011 est.) (CIA - Inflation rate: 1.4% (2011 est.) - Low unemployment economy in the world Factbook – South Korea, 2012) - GDP per capita: - GDP per capita: $53,300 (2011 - GDP per capita: $43,400 in PPP terms - Increase in attracting foreign investment $40,300 (2011 est.) est.) (CIA Factbook – Norway, (2011 est.) - GDP per capita: over recent years - Inflation rate: 2.8% 2012) - Inflation rate: 0.4% (2011 $37,900 (2011 est.) Economic - Increasing demand for a wide est.) - Inflation rate: 2.2% - Insurance industry remains dominated by (2011 est.) (CIA small local companies, which makes market Factbook – Canada, range of goods and services of - A major international (2011 est.) (CIA entry much easier 2012) all kinds financial centre (CIA Factbook – Germany, - Competition is notintense at present, - Attractive and easy partner for Factbook – Switzerland, 2012) however, has a potential to intensify further UK exporters 2012) in next few years(UK Trade & Investment – - No national debt (UK Trade & Korea, 2012) Investment - Norway, 2012) - openness to foreign investment and imports - Not a EU member (CIA Factbook – South Korea, 2012) - The stability of the banking sector is underpinned by strong fundamentals and - Not a EU member - Not a EU member (CIA active regulation - However, member of European Factbook – Switzerland, - The relaxation of controls on cross- Economic Area (CIA Factbook – 2012) - EU member (CIA ownership of financial services will open up Norway, 2012) - Not a EU member (CIA - Employs internationally Factbook – Germany, opportunities for market entry Political - Focused on Corporate Social Factbook – Canada, 2012) binding sanctions, in 2012) - The European Union and Korea signed the Responsibility (UK Trade & particular sanctions imposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on 6 Investment - Norway, 2012) by the United Nations October 2010 resulting in the removal of 97 per cent of all tariffs cutting €1.6bn of duties annually for EU exporters from July 2011. (UK Trade & Investment – Korea, 2012) - excellent domestic and international services featuring rapid incorporation of new - one of the worlds technologies - highly developed most technologically - excellent - One of the most advanced - fixed-line and mobile-cellular services widely telecommunications advanced communication service telecommunication networks in available with a combined telephone infrastructure with excellent telecommunications provided by modern Europe; domestic sattelite subscribership of roughly 160 per 100 domestic and international systems, domestic technology system personsTechnological - Internet users: 4.431 million services satellite system - - boom in e-commerce - Internet users: 26.96 - Internet users: 6.152 million - Internet users: 65.125 million (2009) (CIA (2009) (CIA Factbook – Norway, - Internet users: 39.4 million (2009) (CIA (2009) (CIA Factbook – million (2009) (CIA Factbook – Canada, 2012) Factbook – South Korea, 2012) Switzerland, 2012) Factbook – Germany, 2012) - The number of broadband subscribers is 2012) constantly increasing by 10 million/year (OECD website – China broadband, 2012)
  11. 11.  Further research will assess the viability of those markets. There are three types of market opportunities: o Existing markets: difficult market entry, many competitors, customers are already served o Latent markets: potential customers, small competition, easy market entry o Incipient markets: do not exist at present, there is a future emergence of needs that have to be fulfilled, no competition at all Next, the services provided by First Direct will be categorised for every market. There are three types of products: o Competitive products: have no significant advantage over existing products on the market o Improved products: not unique, but represents improvement upon existing products o Breakthrough products: complete innovation on the market, likely to have significant competitive advantage To conclude, the level and nature of competition that First Direct will encounter can, therefore, be analysed by relating the three types of market demand to the three types of competitive products. (appendix 2)The analysis will determine whether market entry is likely to succeed. (Hollensen, 2011; Burton, 2009)
  12. 12. Types of market Low Product Existing Latent Incipient Switzerland, Canada, Competitive Germany Cost Distinctive Norway Truly innovative South Korea High Low Risk High Conclusion:- The risk of investment in these markets is relatively low- First Direct would have „me too” little advantage over its competition in Switzerland, Canada and Germany, because of very well structured financial sector and high level of competition in these markets- It would find an ease of market entry in Norway, since the competition is not as high- In South Korea, however, the company would find high competititve advantage since the financial sector is still developing, and there is no existance of spiecialized internet bank on the market (Korea4expats, 2012)- On the other hand, because of the first mover advantage, the cost of investment would be high
  13. 13.  The risk factor in opportunity analysis cannot be over-estimated. In the markets where opportunities have been identified, researchers need to make an assessment first as to the type of risk apparent in that market. To carry out the assessment , the four-risk matrix will be used. (Johansson, 2009) Country: Norway Risk level A B C D E F Low Moderate Some Risky Very risky Dangerous Risk type Political x Commercial x Industrial x Financial x Country: Switzerland Risk level A B C D E F Low Moderate Some Risky Very risky Dangerous Risk type Political x Commercial x Industrial x Financial x
  14. 14. Country: GermanyRisk level A B C D E F Low Moderate Some Risky Very risky Dangerous Risk type Political xCommercial x Industrial x Financial x Country: CanadaRisk level A B C D E F Low Moderate Some Risky Very risky Dangerous Risk type Political xCommercial x Industrial x Financial x Country: South KoreaRisk level A B C D E F Low Moderate Some Risky Very risky Dangerous Risk type Political xCommercial x Industrial x Financial x
  15. 15.  Selected potential market is South Korea. South Korea has advantage over all analysed markets, because of its potential to growth and constant development. It is the fourth largest economy in Asia and 12th in the world Population of 50 million makes it a huge market Because of the EU-Korea FTA taking place from 1 July 2011, the market has become more attractive to foreign investors, whereas competition is not so high at present. Because of that, First Direct could get competitive advantage, since it provides unique services such as internet banking which are relatively new for Korean market. Highly developed and profitable financial services sector – no need for market development Second largest insurance market in Asia – huge demand Third largest banking market in Asia – large demand for banking services Competitiveness as a global financial centre has improved dramatically to become 11th competitive centre in the world Investment from international financial services groups is increasing – which proves the fact that South Korea has potential for business investments in banking sector There is active regulation on banking sectors which helps to maintain stability – stability is very important since it limits the risks Insurance sector remains dominated by small, local companies, however, international groups have made strong inroads – potential market gap for dominant international insurance provider
  16. 16.  The relaxation of controls on cross-ownership of financial services will further open up opportunities for market entry, acquisition and business development. As international financial services groups look to develop their footprint in Asia, a presence in Korea is becoming desirable, if not essential – ease in market entry Despite the global economic slowdown, annual insurance premium maintained a high growth trend in 2011 due to changes in the financial environment as well as diversifying consumer needs. The European Union and Korea signed the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on 6 October 2010 resulting in the removal of 97 per cent of all tariffs cutting €1.6bn of duties annually for EU exporters from July 2011 Financial firms will gain substantially from the FTA. They will be able to freely transfer data from their Korean branches and affiliates to their headquarters overseas – huge potential advantage for First Direct FTA commitments will also enable for financial firms to be off-shoring of back office functions which could impose additional costs of £10-20 million for such firms setting-up operations locally. Long-term strategic investors have moved into the market in recent years, in many cases acquiring the stakes of an earlier wave of private equity buyers. The FISCMA (Financial Investment Services and Capital Market Act) could open up new opportunities for cross-selling to bank customers, including further development of Bancassurance and capital market business. Other opportunities include further development of corporate lending and services, a sizeable proportion of which is currently conducted abroad. To compete in South Korea UK companies are recommended to have a capable local distributor, licensee or franchise partner who has an established network in the market and extensive market knowledge – recommended but not neccessary, since First Direct provides its services over the Internet A long-term perspective and a reliable partnership between supplier and their local partner is one of the key factors in achieving success. IT crimes are often reported in Korea, however, the government st up a National Cyber Security Centre which helps to preventing cyber attacts. Since the use of internet banking is increasing, the incidence of hacking and information theft also keeps on rising. The government enacted the Electronic Financial Transactions Act in 2006 – nothing to be scared of, since First Direct has the best security systems available on the market (UK Trade & Investment – Korea, 2012; Doing business in Korea, 2012; First Direct website, 2012, OECD website, 2012)
  17. 17.  First Direct using its expertise and experience in providing excellent service will do very well on South Korean market South Korea is great opportunity because of its growing potential over last few years, market size, high broadband subscription, growing demand for financial services and insurance Despite the fact that language barrier, non-membership in the UE and cultrural differences might be challenging, it is worth investing because the risk-reward ratio is very high.
  18. 18. B) C) D) E) F) 2007A) G) thousands 2010 2010 2009 2012 Australia 1,9 2010 2009 Australia .. Australia 23 802 Australia -2,6 Australia .. Austria 0,5 Austria .. Austria -0,3 Net savings Australia 2 372 Austria 8 545 Austria 57,8 Belgium 3,7 Belgium 1,4 Belgium -0,6 Austria .. Belgium 10 697 Belgium 63,4 Australia 10,3 Canada 4,1 Canada -3,1 Canada 3,5 Canada 35 129 Belgium .. Chile 1,1 Chile 2,2 e Canada 72,0 Austria 7,7 Chile 17 916 Chile .. Canada 2 902 Czech Republic 0,2 Czech Republic 10 296 Chile .. Czech Republic -3,8 Czech Republic 0,2 Belgium 11,1 Chile .. 0,1 Denmark 5 539 48,9 Denmark 5,5 Czech Republic Denmark 2,2 Estonia 1 332 Denmark .. Canada 4,3 Czech Republic 714 Estonia 3,5 76,0 Finland 5 454 Denmark Estonia Czech Republic 5,9 Denmark .. France 63 964 Finland 2,9 Estonia -2,7 Estonia 62,0 Finland 0,2 France -2,1 Finland 2,0 Denmark -0,9 Finland 1 739 Germany 82 806 56,0 France 0,2 Germany 5,6 EU27 Greece 11 390 France 0,9 Estonia 5,6 France 4 408 Greece -10,4 Finland 73,7 0,1 Hungary 9 929 Germany 1,0 Hungary 2,1 57,5 Finland 0,9 Germany .. Germany 0,8 Iceland 318 France Greece .. Iceland -8,0 64,6 Greece .. Greece 0,4 Ireland 4 592 Germany Hungary -4,0 Germany 11,4 Ireland -0,7 Hungary Israel .. Greece 33,1 Hungary 406 Israel (1) 3,1 Iceland .. Hungary 7,6 Italy 59 096 50,9 Iceland 3,0 Italy -3,2 Hungary Ireland -2,2 Iceland 860 Ireland 8,1 Ireland 0,9 Japan 125 047 Japan 3,6 Iceland 86,7 Israel (1) .. Ireland 10 345 Israel Korea 49 239 Korea 2,8 53,7 Italy 3,6 Ireland Italy Luxembourg 503 Luxembourg 7,5 Italy -0,8 Israel (1) .. 1,2 Italy 39,0 Japan 6,7 Mexico -0,6 Japan .. 0,2 Mexico 112 602 Korea 3,8 Italy 2 733 Japan 60,0 Japan a Netherlands 16 625 Netherlands 7,6 Korea 3,8 Korea 95,9 Netherlands 2,6 Japan .. New Zealand 4 432 New Zealand -2,2 2,9 Luxembourg .. Norway 12,9 Luxembourg 71,1 Korea 1 890 Norway 4 922 New Zealand 1,1 Korea 0,0 Poland -3,4 Mexico 4,1 Poland 37 361 Mexico 13,7 Luxembourg 46 688 Luxembourg 0,5 Portugal -9,7 Norway 8,5 Portugal 10 763 Netherlands 77,0 Netherlands -0,4 Mexico Poland 4,7 Mexico 160 Slovak Republic 5 414 Slovak Republic -4,0 Netherlands 0,0 New Zealand .. Slovenia 2 044 New Zealand 63,0 Slovak Republic 2,5 Netherlands .. Slovenia -1,2 5,2 Spain 45 289 Norway 77,8 Norway 4,0 Spain -4,5 Slovenia 10,1 New Zealand 669 New Zealand Sweden 9 463 Sweden 6,3 e Poland 51,1 Poland 2,6 Switzerland 8 148 Norway 4 396 Norway 0,6 Switzerland 14,7 Portugal 46,2 Portugal 1,1 Sweden 12,6 Turkey 76 936 Poland 427 Poland Turkey -6,5 e United Kingdom 64 757 41,7 Slovak Republic 3,2 Portugal 0,5 Slovak Republic Switzerland 12,4 Portugal 1 802 United Kingdom -2,5 Slovak Republic 0,5 United States 327 188 56,1 Slovenia 0,3 Slovak Republic .. Slovenia United States 4,5 United States -3,2 Spain -5,4 Slovenia 51,3 Brazil 203 829 OECD total .. Spain Gross savings Spain 1 818 Spain Sweden 1,6 Brazil .. Sweden 79,5 Sweden 2 514 China 1 370 044 Sweden 2,1 Switzerland .. France 16,0 China .. Switzerland .. Switzerland Switzerland 6 376 6,0 India .. India 1 315 473 (OECD Turkey 26,2 Turkey .. Portugal 9,8 0,0 Indonesia 0,9 e Turkey .. website, Turkey Indonesia 252 756 Russian 69,5 United Kingdom 0,0 Spain 11,2 2012) United Kingdom United Kingdom .. .. United Kingdom 4,5 Federation Russian Federation 142 023 United States 2,2 United Kingdom 6,3 United States .. South Africa .. United States 4,3 South Africa 51 532 United States 63,5
  19. 19. Low Types of market Product Existing Latent Incipient Possible long-term Competitive ‘me too’ little advantage Classic market gap advantage Cost Market development Distinctive Ease of market entry No direct competition needed High competitive Markets need to be Truly innovative advantage First mover advantage identified HighLow Risk High
  20. 20. Burton D. (2009) Cross-cultural marketing, Routledge, New York.Business case studies website (2012) Using customer service to position a businessA first direct case study, available online at:, [accessed on 1 March 2012].CIA Factbook – Canada (2012) CIA the world Factbook, available online at:, [accessed on 1 March 2012].CIA Factbook – Germany (2012) CIA the world Factbook, available online at:, [accessed on: 1 March 2012].CIA Factbook – Norway (2012) CIA the world Factbook, available online at: , [accessed on 1 March 2012].CIA Factbook – South Korea (2012) CIA the world Factbook, available online at:, [accessed on: 1 March 2012].CIA Factbook – Switzerland (2012) CIA the world Factbook, available online at: , [aceessed on 1 March 2012].Doing business in Korea, (2012) Financial flyer 2011, available online at:, [accessed on 1 March 2012].Doole I., Lowe R. (2012) International marketing strategy: analysis, development and implementation, 6th ed., Cengage Learning EMEA,Andover, United Kingdom.
  21. 21. First Direct website (2012) Discover First Direct, available online at:,[accessed on 1 March 2012].Hollensen S. (2011) Global marketing: a decision orientated approach, 5th ed., Prentice Hall, Essex.Jeannet J-P., Hennessey D.H. (2004) Global marketing strategies, 6th ed., Houghton Mifflin Company, New York.Johansson J.K. (2009) Global marketing: Foreign entry, local marketing & global management, 5th ed., McGraw Hill, New York.Korea4expats (2012) Online banking, available online at:, [accessedon 1 March 2012].OECD website (2012) OECD: statistics from A to Z, available online at:,3746,en_2649_201185_46462759_1_1_1_1,00.html, [accessed on 1 March 2012].OECD website – China broadband (2012) Total broadband subscribers by country, available online at:,3746,en_2649_201185_46462759_1_1_1_1,00.html, [accessed on 1 March 2012].UK Trade & Investment – Korea (2012) Financial sector in Korea, available online at:, [accessed on 1 March 2012].UK Trade & Investment - Norway (2012) Oversears business risk – Norway, available online at: , [accessed on 1 March 2012].