The research aimed to investigate the promotional techniques used by the UK banks to attract the Indian customers in the UK. The research came up with the ways of promotions that banks undertake and the lessons that the banks can learn from the consumers while promoting the products to the Indian consumer base. An exploratory research was conducted and the data analysis was done based on grounded analysis technique. The promotional techniques used by the UK banks are inadequate to attract the Indian consumers and the negative impact of viral marketing is not addressed. It is recommended that banks incorporate high level of promotions to attract the Indian consumers.
Chapter 1: Introduction
8% of the total population were the ethnic minorities in the UK during the 2001 census. This number is projected to go further up by 4% during the 2011 census. 1316000 was the number of Indians living in England in 2007 (ONS, 2007). According to the 2001 census the UK had 1.8% of its total population from India (CIA, 2009) which is set to rise to a staggering 4% of the total population in the UK by 2011 (Office For National Statistics, 2009). This segment of people can surely not be neglected when it comes to marketing the products. The service sector has also taken note of this and has started offering products in line with the needs of this segment. The financial institutions which were known for offering standardised products have come up with different offers for the ethnic minorities. One such product is the Indian banking system offered to the Indian population living in the UK. The Indian banking system allows the user to open two current accounts simultaneously in the UK and in India. Most of the banks work in co-operation with a domestic bank in India. The user would have the advantage of paying the transaction fee at one place instead of the normal two side transaction fee that is charged for bank transfers between the countries.
This thesis looks at the promotional techniques used by banks to promote the Indian banking system within the UK. There are 170 types of current accounts offered by 36 different providers in the UK. Of these 36 providers, Lloyds TSB, Nat West, Barclays and HSBC have commanding market share of over 50% (Mintel, 2009). The banks started offering the Indian Banking system in various forms in 2007 (Inside money talk, 2007). The standard products offered under this category include the NRI/NRE account, NRO account and FCNR accounts. The products have been in the UK market for over 18 months but the promotions for these products have not been prominent. This modus operandi is what intrigues the author to identify the actual promotional techniques used by banks in promoting the NRI accounts. The thesis studies the four banks mentioned above who have a market share of over 50% in the UK to understand the techniques from both the company perspective and the customer perspective through the required primary research.
The thesis would be looking at the various promotional techniques that an organisation can endure to achieve the various benefits promotions offer. The detailed analysis of the promotional mix is done in the literature review. The literature review is then followed by the various research methods a person can adapt in order to have a better understanding of the chosen topic area. This is explained in the research design chapter. This chapter also includes the different behaviours of a researcher. This then goes onto explain the choice of research for the thesis and the analysis approach chosen.
The analysis chapter speaks about the research conducted and the view points from both the business perspective and the consumer perspective. The consumers have been the prime focus in the study due to the availability of the consumers on comparison to the bank managers. The thesis then concludes with the research findings and the lessons that the banks can learn from the consumers. The recommendation section deals with the various steps the bank need to take to tap into the Indian market in the UK and the need for concentration on the remittance flow to India by the academicians.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
The inevitable integration of markets, nation-states, technologies and knowledge resulting in growing economic interdependence among countries is called globalization. It is clearly demonstrated by the cross border flow of goods, services, capital and knowledge. The competition is on a world-wide basis creating an integrated global space (Friedman, 1999; Gupta, Govindarajan, & Malhotra, 1999; Porter, 1986; Robertson, 1992; Albrow, 1997). The IMF calls it the motor of worldwide economic growth and integration while many like Denton & Al-Shamali (2000) agree that going global is needed for the survival of the companies. Traditionally globalization meant business expansion from developed economies to developing economies but now is more interdependent between developed and developing nations and also between developing nations (Bishop, 2008). The British presence around the world has invited a lot of immigration into the UK. The 2001 census showed that 8% of the total population of the UK comprised of immigrants and this is said to go up by 4% and reach 12% of the total population by 2011. Indians have been the majority in this group of ethnic minorities having a strong presence of 1.8% in the 2001 census and expected to reach up to 4% in the 2011 census. Globalization has led to a large inflow of immigrant population into the UK providing cultural diversity. Hence the immigrant population cannot be neglected when it comes to products that are offered in the market.
International marketing is the coordination of marketing activities across national boundaries in order to find and satisfy global customer needs better than the competition (Hollensen, 2004). Marketing at home has gone past the traditional way of defining the existing segments depending on various demographics like age or sex. The new segments need to be classified based on their origin and culture as well. Customers are the main focus of the marketing. Thus identification of these new segments play a crucial role in the success of a business which is customer oriented. Understanding the needs and wants of the customers becomes fundamental. Culture has a played a crucial role in this identification process as it has become one of the prime definitions while determining segments in the market. These new segments bring in the complexity of their cultures which creates an intricate situation for the marketing mix to be implemented as the identification of the differences and similarities between the various cultures is necessitated at the root level. Product design needs to be done acurately so that the segments are taken into consideration. Promoting the products is equally important in this cross cultural society where in the cultural sentivity needs to be maintained in order to stay away from controversy.
Promotion plays a vital part of the marketing mix of an organisation. The intended customers need to be informed about the products that have been developed for their use and priced according to their wants and made available at various places through a proper distribution. It can be defined as the communication with the consumers facilitating exchanges by informing and persuading audiences to accept an organisation's products (Dibb & Simkin, 2009). Communication is the main essence of promotions. An effectual communication of the products on offer to the customers plays a vital role in the success of the product in the market. The communication process is defined in various ways. Marketing communication can be defined as the persuasive information about the product targeted at its key stake holders within the targeted segment (Dibb & Simkin, 2009). The traditional view of marketing is that of a tool designed to shape the attitudes and purchasing behaviour of flaccid audience (Webster, 1971). This however has been changed to a modern view point as an ongoing, incorporated progression of reciprocated exchange and understanding between sellers and buyers in the market (Jefkins, 1990; Rothschild, 1987; Schultz, Tannenbaum, & Lauterborn, 1994; Shimp, 2003). The communication process needs to be successful i.e., the consumer needs to be aware about the product on offer, the brand that is offering and its unique selling proposition (USP) that makes it lucrative for the consumer to invest in. The communication process can be undertaken in various forms like personal communication, mass communication, image or theme communication and action communication (Pelsmacker, Geuens, & Bergh, 2001). Personal communication is where consumers are approached individually. Mass communication occurs when the number of receivers cannot be identified and media is used to reach the target population. In theme communications the advertiser tries to tell the target faction something about the brand or products and services offered. Action communications influences the buying behaviour of target audience and stimulate purchases. Marketing communication becomes effective upon the proper application of the promotional mix.
Promotional mix is said to be pertinent if it includes advertising, sales promotions, personal selling and public relations which are bound and resolute on a common objective (Cateora, 1985). The promotional objectives include creating demand in the market for the offered product, creating the required brand awareness, enhancing the attitudes of the customers and influencing their intentions and finally facilitating their purchase (Rossiter & Percy, 1987). Of these four objectives, banks would have achieved brand awareness due to their prolonged presence in the country and continuous promotions undertaken by them for the various products they offer. Creating demand is the most important part for banks to consider when it comes to NRI accounts. The NRI accounts are offered to one segment of the population. This segment needs to be made aware of the product first.
The promotional objectives need to be in line with the marketing mix and associate each other effectively resulting in brand awareness and equity over the term of the brand's life cycle (Groucutt, 2005). Traditionally, advertising, sales promotions, personal selling and public relations were the sects of the promotional mix (Cateora, 1985). However, it also includes direct marketing, sponsorship, product placement, merchandising, word of mouth – viral marketing, internet and digital, reseller support, point of purchase communications and exhibitions become part of the promotional mix (Groucutt, 2005; Engel, Warshaw, & Kinnear, 1983; Dibb & Simkin, 2009; Pelsmacker, Geuens, & Bergh, 2001). Hence promotional mix is a complex map of all the above mentioned entities which perform the task of promotions individually at different levels.
2.1.1 Promotional Mix
Promotional mix; as said previously consists of various entities. Of these entities, most of them concentrate on mass communications as the digital era brings in people. This makes it easier for the promoter to attract the segments directly rather than having an individualistic campaign which might turn out unrealistic most of the times. However saying this, personal selling and point of purchase communications also play a vital role in the successful implementation of the promotional mix. Advertisements and personal selling play a prominent role in the promotional mix where the advertisements create a mass awareness about the product and personal selling gives an in-depth knowledge the customer seeks before making an informed decision (Slater & Olson, 2001).
Advertising comes in various forms which include print, radio and the television adverts which form the core part. The modern era uses these three along with the internet which has become a crucial part in the promotions. Television advertisements are one of the most powerful means of marketing a product or its brand. The major phase of decision making in choosing a product or a brand particularly falls on the effectiveness of marketing (Hackley, 2005). The attractiveness exhibited in the television adverts trigger people in buying any product and thus shape the consumer buying behaviour (Alden, Steenkamp, & Batra, 1999). Television also plays a pivotal role in influencing the consumer buying behaviour as it acts an effective way of repetitive influences without adversely affecting buying behaviour. This can be demonstrated by various successful products in the market including the iPhone which made a staggering sale of 700,000 units in the first week of its release back in June 2007. Such an achievement is possible because of the efficient promotional techniques used by Apple. The term media hype is used quiet often to explain the same. The media hype enabled the Apple to create history. Television advertisements and public relations which are part of the promotional mix have enabled this to happen. A similar story can be said about HSBC which gained the popularity due to its impeccable promotional techniques using their ‘the world's local bank' statement.
b. Sales Promotions
Sales promotions are more popular in the western traditions where competition is high among the individuals and this has been exploited by the organisations to attract more customers in the form of lucky draws and lotto style prizes. Sales promotions in the west take a different approach where reduced prices in the form of seasonal sales offers are promoted by organisations. Sales promotions and advertisements also have been used as a traditional method to attract customers and their prominence has gone to a point where some authors consider sales promotions as promotions and advertisements as a different entity (Blattberg, Briesch, & Fox, 1995). Sponsorship also plays a prominent role in promoting a brand. Associations of big brands with various sports entities have been a known fact with the likes of Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest sponsoring many outdoor activities enhancing their promotions and brand awareness. Not only does sponsorship stop at the sports level but also utilizes film industry across the world there by reaching the masses at the same time at the cost of a few extra million dollars (Schiller, 1991). Various studies also show a positive attitude from the consumers towards the sponsorship for films by the organisations (Astous & Seguin, 1998). This positive attitude has been enabled due to the efficient product placements undertaken by the film makers to suffice the sponsors. This has resulted in a closed loop of activities where the celebrities endorse the product in the movie enabling brand awareness among the customers in a positive way. Sponsorship has the potential to create brand awareness for a mixed audience thereby creating the first step of inquisitiveness for the potential customer. Sponsorship also increases brand awareness and brand loyalty when it is combined with the right PR activities like the sponsorship of a social cause and getting the required media attention for the same.
Merchandising is undertaken by every organisation at various extents to achieve brand identity. This shows the importance of merchandising (Groucutt, Leadley, and Forsyth, 2004). Merchandising enables organisations to achieve brand awareness – visibility, reinforcement, identification, extension of the brand and revenue generation if used effectively (Groucutt, 2005). Merchandising is particularly known and accepted by the small businesses i.e., traders who promise cooperation with the advertisers to carry out the merchandising and they appreciate the method adapted since the early days of marketing (Moses, 1944; Groucutt, 2005). There are two main types of merchandising –namely temptation merchandising where the customer has already decided to buy and the merchadising is on the shelves of the sales store which tempts the costomer to buy the product. The second type is the impact merchandising where the customer has no intention to buy but merchandising triggers the buyer (Chetochine, 2006). Merchandising plays an active role in the banks' promotional techniques. Banks use both the tempation and the impact merchanidising methods. The bill board hoardings create an impact and the flyers in the retail branches act as tempating factors for the potential buyers.
d. Viral Marketing and Exhibitions
Word of mouth, also known as viral marketing plays a prominent role in the brand awareness and influencing the consumer buying behaviour. However the ripple effect can be both positive which would be a gain for the company as in the case of iPhone or can be negative which would make the organisation worry and relook at its PR activities in order to get back the image as in the case of British Airways and its famous terminal five incident which created a huge negative impact in all forms of media and in the general public in the form of negative viral marketing. Viral marketing is one of the crucial components for the success of banks. In a study by Reid (2006) it was found that 90% of customers exposed to positive viral marketing are most likely to open a deposit account with the concerned financial institution and 66% would recommend the bank to their friends and family.
Exhibitions also play a good role in the promotion of the brand where in customers not only are given a direct marketing about the product and sometimes point of purchase communication reinforcing brand name there by enabling a potential for viral marketing. Competitor analysis could be achieved thereby enabling the organisations to play by their USPs. Banks also use exhibitions to promote their products. Such exhibitions might be seen predominantly in universities during the first week of the study term.
e. Internet Promotions
Internet has played a crucial character in shaping many industries in this era. The internet is being used as a powerful tool for promotions of all kinds where everything is available online. From direct selling in the form of online chat with a sales executive of the company to sponsorship of various websites and events that happen online, the organisations have not left a single stone unturned. The internet has enabled the companies to interact and get the feedback from the customers directly there by forcing the companies' to reiterate their way of promoting things. E-marketing as it is often known has become a huge entity on its own which the organisations cannot afford to neglect. It is broader than e-commerce as it is more than just transactions. It is more than building a website; it is more about building the business complementing the supremacy of the customers (Siegel, 1999). It enables continuous customer feedback in the form of constant dialogue, a dynamic dialogue, expressing interests, requesting products and services, suggesting improvements and service feedbacks resulting in the business being customer driven (Chaffey & Smith, 2008). This enables the companies to gain customer loyalty as the customers keep in touch with the companies constantly resulting in the actions being imposed on the companies by the customers and making them happy.
Promotional mix is important for the service industry as well specially the financial services which come under the B2C businesses category as well. It is important for banks to have the right promotional mix in order to facilitate the sale of their services to the varied consumer base it targets to. In this case, the NRIs are a segment of the total population on which the promotional mix used by banks is investigated.
Many organisations do not differentiate properly between promotion and sales objectives. Colley, who came up with the DAGMAR (Defining Advertising Goals, Measuring Advertising Results) philosophy says “advertising's job purely and simply is to communicate, to a defined audience, information and a frame of mind that stimulates action. Advertising succeeds or fails depending on how well it communicates the desired information and attitudes to the right people at the right time and at the right cost” (Colley, 1961, as cited in Engel, Warshaw, & Kinnear, 1983, p165). This statement cearly specifies the need for promotional objectives and a promotional strategy before undertaking any kind of promotions.
2.1.2 Promotional Strategy and timing
A promotional strategy is necessitated for the improved communication of the products on offer by an organisation to its consumers. This can be defined as the guarded incorporated program of communication techniques and resources designed to present the organisation and its products to its potential customers; to communicate fulfilling attributes of products enhancing sales and contributing to the long term objective of the organisation i.e., profit (Engel, Warshaw, & Kinnear, 1983). Promotional strategy proves vital in order to achieve the intended promotional objectives. The marketers implement two basic types of promotional strategies in the form of push strategy and pull strategy. The Pull strategy creates a stimulus in the minds of the end users creating an additional demand for the product or the service on offer resulting in a pressure in the distribution channel thereby increasing sales. The Push strategy relies more on the personal selling onto the B2B background relying on the distribution channel for sales. This is done by giving trade discounts and other offers to the wholesalers and the likes in the distribution channel forcing them to spend the extra money and resources to attract the end user rather than attracting the end user directly (Kurtz, MacKenzie, & Snow, 2007). The pull strategy uses a lot of advertising and other promotional mix components to influence the consumer buying behaviour there by increasing the demand in the market squeezing the distribution channel there by creating more demand in the B2B division. On the contrary personal selling and sales promotions are more often used in the push strategy where in B2B promotions take place forcing the wholesalers and retailers to stock up the product. In the service industry more of the pull strategy is used as the role of wholesalers and retailers is limited on comparison to the products that are offered in the other segments. Banks in particular rely on the pull strategy as they tend to attract the end users directly and the transactions happen direct between the providers and the users and the role of the distribution channels are limited.
The timing of the promotional mix implementation is also of major importance. The right timing of the use of the individual components of the promotional mix is crucial. Depending on the product or the service under offer the mix has to be timed and used at a given budget. This effective utilization results in the realisation of the promotional objectives. The apt blend of the promotional mix in the product life cycle is important as well. The timing of the individual components of the promotional mix during the life time of the product life cycle ensures the full completion of the cycle and increases brand awareness.
Promotions are decisive for the services sector as well. The financial services offered by various institutions need the proper implementation of the promotional mix for effective brand awareness and achieving the institutions ultimate objectives. The realisation of the promotional strategies and the promotional objectives is vital as it a chain reaction where the successful implementation of the promotional mix results in the achievement of the promotional objectives which in turn result in the realisation of the sales targets and the company's ultimate objective of increasing share holder margin in the means of profits and market share. Promotions not only create short term success but also are evident in the brand's long term sustenance in the market. The promotional mix needs to be implemented at the right time and at regular intervals which results in an everlasting brand image in the end user's mind. For this to be a positive one, the promotional activities are crucial.
Chapter 3: Conceptual framework
Marketing is a separate entity on its own. The marketing mix has four main components namely the product, place, promotion and price. Each component has a vital role to play to make the marketing campaign of a company a success. Promotions are one of the primary requirements of marketing as it is the communication component of the marketing mix. Promotions convey the message from the company to the end user. Promotions consist of various components like promotional mix, promotional strategy and timing among others. Promotional mix is the central theme of the research.
The research was conducted in order to understand the promotional techniques used by banks in promoting the NRI accounts in the UK. Upon conducting the research a framework was developed to analyse the data that was collected. The following pictorial representation of the framework gives a summarised idea about the research conducted.
In the following pictorial representation ( 1), the framework that was developed to analyse the rich data collected during the research is shown. The banks promote the NRI accounts to the UK based Indians. The end result required by the banks is the sale of the product. This research concentrates especially on the promotional mix and the various advantages that each one offers when used in the right mix. The banks in order to promote their products need to undertake the various components of the promotional mix at the right proportion. On doing so the different objectives of promotions are realised i.e. while advertising creates awareness of the product, the merchandising enhances attitude of the customers towards the brand and the product offered. The viral marketing influences the intension of the customer and the sales promotions and exhibitions facilitates sale of the product on offer. The internet which is a crucial part of the promotional mix has the capacity to do all the above mentioned functionalities. The right use of these components can create a difference for the organisation.
Chapter 4: Research Design
Research is a process enabling one to have an exploration on particular issue or problem in order to gain knowledge and information to solve it (Burns & Burns, 2008). It involves adopting the systematic approach and strategy with clear rationale in order to complete the project with required findings (Walliman, 2001). Thus research is a way of gaining a better understanding or the solution of a problem through a systematic rational approach. Research methodology is very important for researchers to define the scope and findings of their research and support their research questions that they are trying to investigate (Walker, 1997).
Research design is the detailed outline channelling a research study towards its objectives. The design of such a study involves many interrelated decisions like the (Aaker, Kumar & Day, 2004) like the type of research to be conducted on the chosen area and the type of researcher one is. The decision is crucial when it comes to choosing the type of research and the analysis methods. The research design can be broadly classified into two categories namely research approach and research tactics. Research approach is from the researcher perspective where the type of research is decided as exploratory, descriptive, analytical and predictive. Research tactics deals with the type of data collected which are of the qualitative and quantitative types. The following sections deal with these explicitly.
4.1 Research Questions
The research is conducted to answer the following research questions.
ü What are the various promotional techniques adapted by the banks to promote banking to Indian customers?
ü What can banks learn from the consumers to promote their products in the future?
The answers for these two questions are found through the primary and secondary research on the topic area. The various research methods available to conduct the research and the research techniques adapted for this research are discussed in the following section.
4.2 Research Approach
The research approach as mentioned above can be exploratory, descriptive, analytical or predictive in nature. Exploratory research is conducted into a research problem or issue when there are very few or no earlier studies to which we can refer for information about the issue or problem. It is used to look for models, ideas or hypotheses rather than testing or confirming a hypothesis (Hussey & Hussey, 1997). It is generally used to gain better insights and familiarities with the subject area for further research in the later stage. Researchers generally favour this research approach as they need not have any prior knowledge enabling them to be flexible without any pre conceived notions. This allows them to bring their own understanding into the research. But the disadvantage of this flexibility is that the hypotheses developed are either vague or do not exist in most of the scenarios (Walker, 1997).
Descriptive research on the other hand concentrates on the view point of the various aspects in the research environment. These aspects include the pre formed hypothesis on which the research would be based, a standardised research procedure and an expected result. It describes a phenomenon as it is, identifying and obtaining information on the features of a particular problem (Hussey & Hussey, 1997). The descriptive type of research is generally based on a pre formed hypothesis which is tentative and speculative. The disadvantage however lies in the fact that the research is already pre decided and the results are speculated before the actual result is established by the research there by reducing the flexibility of the research and concealing the researcher's free flow of thoughts which may prove vital in the research.
Analytical research which is also known as explanatory research is an extended form of descriptive research. The description is continued to the analysis stage of finding the reason behind the happenings. Thus the aim of analytical research is to understand the phenomena by discovering and measuring causal relations among the topic area (Hussey & Hussey, 1997). Research that studies the relationship between two or more variables is also referred to as a correlational study (Blumberg, Cooper, & Schindler, 2008). Again like the descriptive methods the disadvantage is the pre determined path of research. This method however analyses the reason behind the happenings giving a better insight into topic area.
Predictive research is the next step of the explanatory research. It involves finding the problem, describing it, finding out the reason for it like the analytical approach. However, it goes on to predict the phenomena on the basis of the hypothesised, general relationships (Hussey & Hussey, 1997). It involves high level of inference. The prediction once done is expected to control the phenomena that are predicted (Blumberg, Cooper, & Schindler, 2008). The disadvantage of this approach lies in the fact that the predictions are done based on the hypothesis which is pre formed there by reducing the scope of innovation in the techniques that can be used to control the phenomena that is predicted.
4.3 The researcher
The type of researcher one is, decides the type of research he/she undertakes. A researcher can be categorised into one of the three groups namely the positivists, the realists, and the interpretivists. The positivists follow the stance of a natural scientist wishing to work in an observable social reality assuming the final result of the research would be generalisations based on some pre defined hypothesis or a law. The researcher is unaffected by the research subject and would not affect the subject either (Remenyi et al, 1998). It is frequently advocated that the positivist researcher would likely be using highly structured methodology in order to assist replication (Gill & Johnson, 2002). The extensive dependancy on the resources like predefined hypothesis and techniques to conduct the research is also noted among such researchers. The resources here refer to the phenomena that the researcher can observe would lead to production of credible data. Such a researcher would most efficiently work on a descriptive research which includes a lot of quantitative data (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009).
The realists are the researchers who depend more on the senses i.e. they believe what the senses show as reality is the truth. There are two types of realists – direct realists and critical realists. Direct realists like positivists believe that the experiences through the senses portray the world accurately. There is a direct meaning of the things that a person observes and experiences are of direct link to the objects in the world. On the contrary, the critical realists believe that the experiences are gained not through direct sensations and things in the world but the images of the things (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). Critical realists believe that the subject area can be understood only upon understanding the social background behind the topic area. They say there are two things – the object and what it conveys and the social context with which it has been understood. Their understanding is in accordance to the social conditioning and cannot be understood independently of the social actors involved in the knowledge derivation process (Dobson, 2002).
The interpretivists believe it is not possible to get rich insights into the complex world if the complexity is reduced to law-like generalisations (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). They emphasise the need to differentiate between the social actors involved in the research. This is because they consider the fact that the world is a theatre and people are the social actors. Interpretivism comes from two intellectual traditions: phenomenology and symbolic interpretivism. Phenomenology refers to the sense making by the social actors and the symbolic interpretivism is the continual process of interpreting the social world (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). The author's choice of the research stream and the research technique would be discussed in the concluding sections of this chapter.
4.4 Research Tactics
The main stream research tactics can be classified as quantitative and qualitative. Qualitative research method can be generally defined as a research that produces findings not obtained by means of statistical, numerical or other procedures of quantification (Strauss & Corbin, 2008). It is also defined as a technique that is relatively amorphous to the measurement approach allowing a variety of possible consumer responses. The freedom afforded by both the researchers and the respondents makes qualitative research as the first step in exploration (Keller, 1998). A qualitative research allows the researcher to discern, comprehend and attain deeper understanding of attitudes, feelings, opinions and actions of individuals or a group. Qualitative research allows study of things in their natural settings which enables the researchers to attempt making sense of, or construe, trends in terms of meanings people bring to the data collected (Denzin & Lincoln, 2008). The materials used for qualitative methods include personal experiences, life story, interviews, observation, interaction, and visual texts. The data for this method usually tend to be descriptive moments, meanings, and complications from individual's experiences. Qualitative research explains these in descriptive text format (Denzin & Lincoln, 2008).
However, qualitative methods have certain drawbacks which include the time required for the research, analysis of the data and most importantly the authenticity of the data collected. The qualitative research takes more time to be conducted given the nature of its methodology. Also, the analysis could be tricky resulting in the researcher moving away from the actual research topic area. The authenticity of the data collected is also important. The data given by the participants on the face to face interviews would vary depending on the culture they hail from. The human interaction complicates the study as the research questions posed to the respondents need to be sensitive enough to make the respondent comfortable while participating in the research.
The quantitative method on the contrary deals with the quantified data having measurable characteristics. Numerical values are used to explain the research and solve the problems. The importance of quantitative research would be given to the collection of numerical, statistical analysis, and the results of the data (Curwin & Slater, 2007). As opposed to qualitative research, the quantitative research methods were initially developed for natural sciences to study natural phenomena. The quantitative research methods includes the survey methods, formal methods (e.g. econometrics), and numerical methods such as mathematical modelling (Myers, 2004). The quantitative methods however cannot be used efficiently when the research involves human emotions. The major drawback of the quantitative study would the reduction in the understanding of the human emotions to a point based system (Strauss & Corbin, 2008).
There are a lot of methods available for data collection varying from observation and questionnaires to in depth interviews. Depending on the type of research undertaken and the researcher's nature; appropriate data collection technique is used; this can be either quantitative or qualitative in nature. In the present research, an exploratory, qualitative research is conducted in order to understand the subject area better. This is done so by undertaking group interviews and semi structured interviews.
Interviews are of three types namely structured, semi structured and unstructured or in depth interviews. Structured interviews use questionnaires based on preset and standardised or identical set of questions commonly referred to as interviewer administered questionnaires. In this the questions are generally read out and the answers are recorded and would be pre coded for most part of it. Such interviews are generally used to collect quantitative data and are generally known as the quantitative research interview (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). This method restricts the researcher from probe more into the respondent's response. It would also be a monotonous scripted research with a strong chance of missing out crucial data that might be obtained by questioning the respondents based on their response.
Semi structured interviews are non standardised interviews which are often referred to as qualitative research interviews (king, 2004 as stated in Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). The semi structured interviews are based on a list of themes and questions that a researcher would wish to cover. The questions vary depending on the context. The interviewer varies the question order and includes or omits questions depending on the response obtained. It would be an interactive session where the researcher would have the flexibility of getting the required data from the respondent in the form of newly framed questions during the time of the intereview. However such a research method depends entirely on the researcher who should be careful not to stress the respondent and to tactfully collect the required data from the respondents.
Unstructured interviews are informal. They are also known as in depth interviews. The researcher does not have a pre set questionnaire but has an idea of the subject area he/she wishes to explore during the interview. The respondent is given the opportunity to talk freely about events, behaviour and beliefs in relation to the topic area. Such an interview is often labelled as non directive (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). As Saunders says, it is non directive. This research method carries the risk of deviating from the topic area. Focusing the discussion with the respondents on the topic area would be difficult aas the method is informal in nature.
The above mentioned interviews are face to face interviews. Apart from these methods, there are telephone interviews and group interviews. Telephone interviews offer potential advantages associated with access, speed and cost. Time is a major concern where in the respondent might not be able to give the interview in the stipulated research time. However, there are strong concerns about this technique due to the loss of advantage that is obtained from the face to face interaction where the researcher gets the advantage of understanding the context, the visual cues that the respondent gives and the tone in which the respondent is replying to the questions that would make the researcher do a critical review while analysing the collected data. Also controlling the pace of the interview would be difficult in this type of interview.
Focus group (also known as focus group interview) is a group interview that focuses on a particular issue, product, service or topic and encompasses the need for interactive discussion amongst the participants (Carson et al, 2001). Individual responses are both encouraged and more closely controlled to maintain focus in this type of group interview. The researcher here is generally known as the moderator or the facilitator who keeps the group within the boundaries of the topic area and creates interest in the dicsuusion among all the participants while avoiding creating any bias in the opinions of the respondents (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). It is mostly used to collect qualitative data where reposndents' opinions play a crucial role in the analysis of the data collected. Keeping the focus within the topic area is the primary concern in this type of interview.
4.5 Research Aims, methods and limitations
The goal of this research is to investigate the ways and methods followed by the UK banks in attracting the Indian customers. The research in its original form was intended from the business perspective. The research aimed at getting the opinions and insights of the four major banks in the UK namely Lloyds TSB, Nat West, Barclays and the HSBC. However when the research was undertaken, the availability of thee mangers and the timing of the research made it difficult to limit the study at the business perspective. Only one manager agreed for an interview and the rest were not able to take part in the study due to timing constraints. Hence as a contingency plan the research looked at customers of the banks. This gave the research a better understanding as the banks and the customers' views were available enabling the researcher to do a comparative study.
The research project is primarily based on qualitative data researched. The research involves a clearer understanding of the cultural differences and the emotions attached with it in order to convince the customer to buy the product. Human interaction is the best way to understand this as the emotions can be understood in a clearer way and the errors would be reduced on comparison to other methods of primary research. The data collected from the various literary sources act as secondary data and the interviews would be part of the primary data that have been accumulated for a further understanding and exploration of the topic area.
There is a necessity for determination of the best way to accumulate data and process them, considering the time constraints, validity and reliability of the data that would be collected. Taking all the factors into consideration, quantitative research based on a positivist approach would not be suitable for this research due to the nature of the topic. The influence of culture on the promotions in the banking sector cannot be easily understood by surveyed data. To explore the various cultural expectations and the promotional styles for the Indian consumers, rich data is required which cannot be achieved to the required extent by surveyed data. The research is trying to investigate the promotional techniques used by the UK banks to promote the NRI accounts in the UK. Considering this is exploratory in nature and the level of interpretation of the data required, a qualitative research method is best suited to understand the area and answer the research questions of the study. The researcher is more oriented towards the critical realism group as a way of thinking; however the topic area's nature demands the researcher to be more of an interpretivist than a critical realist. The research hence would be exploratory in nature depending on qualitative data obtained and analysed from an interpretivist way.
The research was qualitative in nature involving three semi structured interviews and two focus groups. All the limitations of these two techniques applied for the research undertaken. One of the focus groups consisted of students who have been in the country on an average for a year. Hence the limitation of the data that was collected from them included the lack of the knowledge of the participants about promotional techniques used by banks at the time of launch of the products.
Also, the research sample size was 12 customers due to the nature and timing constraint of the research. This meant that the representation of the research would be inadequate in order to make an accurate conclusion for the research from the business perspective. However the data collected and the analysis conducted which is explained in the following section shows the similarity in the view points of the business and the customers there by enabling the research to take a conclusion and draw up the recommendations for further study and the business.
Chapter 5: Findings and Analysis
There are over 632,000 Indians residing in the UK (Office For National Statistics, 2009). The number has increased substantially over the years and Indians have been the largest immigrant population in the UK. India also is the largest receiver of remittance money (Migration And Remittances Team Development Prospects Group, 2009). A significant amount of money is being transferred from the UK to India in the form of remittances and business transactions. Considering the remittance that India is getting and the number of Indians in the UK, the banks can attain high levels of profit and market expansion by offering tailored products to the untapped Indian market in the UK. In the UK, financial services specially the retail banking sector is dominated by four banks namely Lloyds TSB, NatWest, Barclays and HSBC which together hold more than 50% of the market share (Mintel, 2009). This research tried to find out the promotional techniques used by the UK banks to attract the Indian customers by offering the Indian banking system the cultural adaptations that might be required in order to promote these accounts. Also the research is trying to find out the consumers' view as learning for the banks in the future.
The initial research was intended to focus on the business perspective with four interviews with the bank managers of the four banks mentioned above. However when the research was conducted due to the lack of availability of bank managers of Lloyds TSB, NatWest and Barclays, a semi structured telephone interview was conducted with the senior customer services officer in charge of the HSBC NRI services. As part of the contingency plan, interviews of customers were planned and executed. As part of the plan, two focus groups and two interviews were carried out. The participants of the individual and the group interviews varied in terms of age and job profile, the details of which are available in appendix 1. The participants included students, self employed British Indians, employed, unemployed and retired Indians from Nottingham. The questions for the interview with the businesses in this case the HSBC bank concentrated on the theme of promotions under taken by HSBC to promote NRI accounts, reasons for limited promotions and the future plans from the bank's side. The questions for the customers were based on the theme of knowledge of NRI accounts, the various promotions they have seen and the impact of these promotions on the customers. The group interviews were generally based on discussing the various promotions that the banks adopt to promote the NRI account, comparison of promotional levels in India and the UK and the product awareness in general.
5.1 Analysis Technique
In the analysis of the rich data that was collected during the research, grounded analysis was adopted. The research itself was part grounded research and part exploratory in nature. Grounded research is one which is committed to research and discovery through direct contact with the social world while rejecting the idea of theorising before data collection (Locke, 2003). Supporting this kind of research is the exploratory research which is started off with an idea and with minimal preformed frameworks. These two techniques of research were combined for research and analysis. The analysis section is done on the basis of the themes that came out of the primary research conducted. This is in line with the grounded analysis. In this the data collection and analysis proceed simultaneously. The research was shaped from the data rather than on the preconceived theories that were available. This is similar to the grounded analysis technique as mentioned by Glaser & Strauss (1995).
Rich data was collected during the process of primary research. Once the data was collected, the data was coded and sorted out into various categories depending on the participant response. The categories are divided depending on the prominence that was given by the participants of the various interviews and focus groups. These categories are analysed in the flowing sections. There is mode of comparison between the promotions happening in the UK and in India which the participants have generally pointed out. Arguments and counter arguments are created to validate the data collected. The analysis of the data collected based on the different themes that came out of the interviews is as follows.
5.2 Product knowledge
The research as mentioned involved both individual and group interviews. In total there were 13 participants of which 12 were customers. Upon interviewing the customers it was found that the majority had a good exposure to the product and were well aware of the product. This is evidenced by the fact that 100% of the respondents from the interviews acknowledge their awareness about the product. The magnitude of awareness varied between the customers. Some knew about the existence of the product but without much knowledge and hence being a bit more inquisitive about it during the interview. This is evidenced by the statement told by one of the participants in the focus groups saying
“I feel that they did not promote their account very well like their NRI accounts. It is just that a friend of mine recommended me to the bank so I just got my account over there (P5, Focus group 2).”
One the other end of the scale one of the participants was highly informative about the product. This might be due to fact that the product was introduced while the customer was a student in the UK. The participant went on to tell that the promotions were carried out internally by the bank. As from the business perspective the respondent from the HSBC bank said
The product awareness of the sample size is demonstrated on the pie chart above. The number of people having high level of awareness is 16 - 17% (2 participants out of the sample size of 12). Another 17% of them had good idea about the product. The rest were aware about the product but did not have a good idea about the product. They constituted to 67% of the sample indicating that the promotions were happening but were not reaching the customers quiet well.
The voice of the customer is crucial for the success of the company (Hornstein, 2005). This is applicable even for the service sector. The products need to be known by the customers else the customers would not be able to evaluate the institution and hence may choose the competitor or the supplementary product that is on offer. In this case it is the money transfer agencies like Western Union, Money Gram among others. The magnitude of promotions undertaken by the likes of Western Union cannot be compared to the banks which are hardly promoting their product.
These financial institutions (like western union and money gram) have regular promotions of various kinds conducted both in the UK and in India. The product advantages are shown in the adverts promoting the customer to enquire about the services. The benefits offered upon becoming members of such institutions also attract the customers. The brand presence is also an added advantage. There are around 85 agents operating only in Nottingham alone (WesternUnion, 2010) compared to 16 branches of Lloyds TSB in Nottingham (LloydsTSB, 2010). Hence the benefit of doubt would go the substitute product which is the kinds of western union money transfer.
At this point it would be best to speak about the drawbacks of the product and the consumer feedback. The product has been in the Indian market for sufficiently long time. The product knowledge hence has been good amongst the customers and the potential customers. However the strict regulations governing the inflow of money and the taxation issues that are not that evident in the other financial institutions like Western Union and Money Gram. This has caused the customers to be more careful when choosing the Indian banking system. The same was quoted by one of the participants of the focus group who particularly was not happy with the banks for the delay in the transfers and unwanted fuss as he terms it. This has been supported by various financial analysts and media who are particularly concerned about the banks not being geared up to handle the Indian customers who are a major source of income to the nation from outside the country and hence making themselves a potential segment for the banks (Duttagupta & Thomson, 2009). The banks cannot afford to neglect them. This problem needs to be tackled with utmost care.
Product awareness is crucial for the success of the product in the market and for it to achieve its full life cycle. As Dibb and Simkin (2009) say that the intended customers need to be informed about the products that have been developed for their use and priced according to their wants and made available at various places through a proper distribution. This is enabled by having sufficient promotions about the product. In this case it has been evident that there has been product awareness indicating the fact that sufficient promotions have been conducted by the organisations. However the case of viral marketing cannot be ruled out where the product knowledge might be due to the word of mouth awareness by friends and family like one of the participants points it out
“It is just that a friend of mine recommended me to the bank so I just got my account over there (P5, Focus group 2).”
This is indicating that the promotions are less and even the promotions happening in India are not impacting greatly on the consumers in the UK.
5.3 TV adverts
The attractiveness exhibited in the television adverts trigger people in buying any product and thus shape the consumer buying behaviour (Alden, Steenkamp, & Batra, 1999). TV adverts have played a vital role in the promotions of products since the early 1950s. The sample population was first spoken to about and quizzed about their product awareness. Once this was done the next major topic which was discussed in both the focus groups were TV ads. The participants seem to know about the various promotional ads undertaken by the Indian banks in order to promote the NRI account. One of the participants went onto explain the entire advert conducted by one of the Indian banks for the NRI banking system (P1, focus group 2).
This shows the level of attraction the ad could get. Of all the participants only one had little knowledge of the television adverts that the Indian banks use to promote the NRI account. However it was interesting to find out that there were no television adverts conducted by the UK banks to promote the NRI accounts in the UK. One of the participants is British of Indian origin. She says
“I have seen some TV ads on the Indian channels like Zee TV and others. That is the only place where they really advertise ICICI bank” (P3, focus group 2).
This was backed by the claims of the participants of the first focus group who have an average stay in the UK for four years claiming that there were no TV adverts for the NRI accounts that they could remember in the UK channels.
Some of them do remember the TV ads by the Indian banks in the Indian channels aired in the UK. The participants have been impressed by the adverts used by the banks there by motivating the customer to go into the bank and find out about the other product on offer. Such a promotion is often called impact promotions (Chetochine, 2006). This promotional technique is used by one of the high street banks in the UK which has created an impact on the customers. This is evidenced by the following statement made by one of the participants in the study,
“I haven't seen many ads for the NRI accounts in the UK but Lloyds TSB has a lot of catchy ads. When you see that you wanna go check what else do they offer? They promote their products well” (P4, focus group 2).
Such TV adverts create an impact on the potential customers creating a curiosity amongst the customers about the products on offer. The same was said about Indian banks as well. Participants of the focus group were keen on mentioning more about the Indian banks ICICI and HDFC for their excessive adverts on the television channels in India. HSBC also got mentioned during the discussion. However the NRI Banking System's promotions were happening only in Indian channels and promoted by Indian banks. The UK banks have clearly not taken any step into promoting the products.
5.4 Internet Promotions
The banks in the UK also seem to be promoting the NRI accounts. The promotions have been very little in magnitude that most of the customers have not heard or seen any UK banks promoting the NRI accounts. However when quizzed, one of the participants said that the UK banks were using internet, mail and direct sales as means of promotions.
“When I had a Lloyds TSB savings account I remember they kept on promoting this NRI account by mail. I used to get like something in post with forms and everything in it” (P4, Focus group 2).
This shows that the promotions were internal i.e. promoting the NRI accounts to the existing Indian customers. The participant went on to tell that when she uses the internet banking, she gets pop ups promoting the NRI accounts before she can reach the accounts summary page. Again, this is an internal promotion technique.
The UK banks have advanced internet marketing strategies. As mentioned above the products have been consistently marketed by the Banks using the internet as a tool. The marketing has been internal mostly. Sufficient utilization of the internet to promote the NRI accounts has not been seen. Utilization of internet for marketing the products makes the business more customer driven (Chaffey & Smith, 2008). The UK banks in general have utilized the internet to promote their brand and their major products making them customer driven.
5.5 Other promotional techniques
Apart from the TV adverts, the banks have utilized various promotional techniques in order to promote their products. The techniques range from visual merchandising to print and radio adverts. The participants were able to pin point some of the promotional techniques used by the Indian banks to promote the NRI accounts. Majority of the participants mentioned the use of print media i.e. newspapers as means of promotions used by the banks. One participant also mentioned about the radio adverts.
Apart from these methods the participants mentioned the various other techniques like bill board hoardings, pamphlets and flyers that are available in the banks' branches and the personal selling i.e. when the customer enquires about the account then the product is promoted to the customer. One of the participants went on to suggest the promotions carried out by banks in India.
“Basically they do billboard hoardings then every branch they give you pamphlets leaflets and stuff. When any customer visits that particular branch they directly communicate with the customer. Also there are TV ads, ads on radio channels. Basically banks use all sorts of media in India to promote the NRI accounts” (P2, Focus group 2).
The statement of claim even though looks vague cannot be neglected as the participant has been impacted by the various promotional techniques used by the banks. This indicates a lot of activities from the Indian banks in order to promote their products.
Another promotional technique utilized by the banks is viral marketing. As pointed out earlier, the customers seem to be well aware of the product even without having seen the promotions of the product. This can be linked to viral marketing. In a study by Reid (2006) it was found that 90% of customers exposed to positive viral marketing are most likely to open a deposit account with the concerned financial institution and 66% would recommend the bank to their friends and family. The same can be applied to the UK banks in the case of NRI banking services. NRI banking system's awareness in the UK can be credited to viral marketing. However since the banks have not promoted the product well, the negative side of viral marketing also needs to be considered. The product's drawback was discussed in detail by few participants in the focus group who seem to be upset with the product on offer. This had the potential of influencing the potential clients of the banks. Proper implementation of the promotional mix is the only way to handle the issue. The issue is a big concern for the banks as the product is just two years old in the market and its life cycle might be reduced if proper care is not taken for it to be promoted in the market.
5.6 Promotional mix
The promotional objectives include creating demand in the market for the offered product, creating the required brand awareness, enhancing the attitudes of the customers and influencing their intentions and finally facilitating their purchase (Rossiter & Percy, 1987). The big four UK banks' objectives of creating brand awareness has been successful given the market share the banks have. However, the creation of demand for the NRI accounts seems to be comparatively minimal in the UK due to the lack of promotions. The research found out that the promotions happening in the UK are comparatively less. The application of the essential promotional mix in order to promote the product to the required level to make it a success in the market is not seen. The creation of demand is lacking as shown by the various excerpts from the conversations that are discussed above. The attitudes of the customers are difficult to access given the short sample size of the research. However in the sample size the hassle mentioned about the product shows a negative attitude by the customers towards the product. Proper promotions are lacking there by allowing the customer to maintain the negative attitude which has the potential to influence other potential customers through the viral marketing said above. Since the use of promotional mix is limited for the product the facilitation for the purchase of the product is minimal and reduced to direct point of sales communication which stands a chance of influencing the potential customer.
Chapter 6: Conclusion
The number of Indians in the UK is growing every year despite the various restrictions that the government has placed on the immigration. This is due to the various attractions in the UK in terms of education and career. Almost 8% of the total population is projected to be Indians in the next census. The role of the remittance gain in India should also be considered given the fact that India is the largest receiver of remittance in the world. This shows that there is a potential flow of currency from the UK to India in the form of remittance. The financial sector can take significant advantage of this if they can tap into the market. The banks along with the financial agencies specialising in money transfer like Western Union and Money Gram fight it out in the market. The banks have the NRI current accounts or the Indian banking system in place to tap into the Indian market in the UK. The research was conducted in the area of promotional marketing giving significance to the promotional techniques used by banks. The research tried analysing the various techniques that are available to adopt for the banks in attracting the Indian customers. It studied the ways and trends of the UK banks in promoting their NRI accounts. Two main research questions were sought to be answered by the research.
What are the promotional techniques adapted by banks to promote the banking to the Indian customers?
This question was sought answer for by approaching both the customers and the banks. The research feasibility and the research time available reduced the research to concentrate on the promotional techniques used by the top four banks in the UK in terms of market share. Lloyds TSB, Nat West, Barclays and HSBC together have more than 50% of the market share in the retail banking sector. These four banks were taken as a point of study to analyse the various promotional techniques used to attract the Indian customers in the UK. The NRI current accounts or the Indian banking system was the chosen product for the study. The promotional techniques, the use of the promotional mix and the achievement of the various promotional objectives were evaluated in the research.
Upon collecting data from the banks it was found that sufficient promotions were not undertaken in order to promote the NRI banking system due to compliance issues. Also the product was promoted to a minimum extent upon its launch in the UK market which later faded away. The promotional mix was not sufficiently utilized and the promotional objectives were not met in completion.
The product awareness among the consumers was very high due to the level of the promotions happening in India. The promotions are carried out by the Indian banks like ICICI and HDFC. These banks have undertaken high level of promotions for the NRI accounts due to the remittance money flow into the country from various parts of the world. This has caused high level of product awareness amongst the people in India and people of Indian origin residing in the rest of the world. This applies to the Indians in the UK as well. However when it comes to the UK banks due to the poor level of promotions undertaken by them to promote the product, the promotional objectives has not been achieved. The cycle has stopped at brand awareness and product awareness. The reminder of the cycle which includes enhancing the attitudes of the customers and influencing their intentions finally facilitating their purchase is not seen in the case of the NRI accounts in the UK.
The various promotional mix components that could be used by the UK banks vary from advertising to merchandising to point of sales. However the banks resorted to low level of promotions for the product. The promotional mix used by the UK banks includes internet and merchandising. The TV adverts were missing apart from the initial hype created in the media when the product was launched in the market. Also most of the promotions were internal i.e. to the existing customers. This meant that new customers were not aware about the product offered by the UK banks. The product awareness was with respect to the existence of the product in the market. However the various providers of the service especially in the UK have not promoted their product to the required extent.
The UK banks have failed in promoting the product in the market there by not attaining the promotional objectives. This has lead to failure ion capture of the market which is now strongly controlled by the substitute product in the market i.e. direct money transfer which is operated by various financial agencies like Western Union and money gram.
Additionally the draw back in the product itself in the form of various constraints by the governing bodies have created a negative viral marketing for the product there by creating a problem for the banks to sell the product in the market without the required promotions to reinstate faith in the product and enable sale.
What can banks learn from the consumers to promote their products?
The promotional techniques used by the UK banks as discussed in the thesis are inadequate. From the consumers' perspective the product knowledge is minimal and the attitude of the customers to the product is weak. The intentions of purchase of the product are minimal given the level of promotions happening in the market. The banks need to learn the needs and wants of the customers in order to suffice them. There are a lot of things that the banks are to learn from the customers. The most primary point to be noted by the banks is the attitude of the customers towards the product. There is a negative attitude that is growing among the customers due to the viral marketing effect. This needs to be tackled with appropriate public relation techniques combined with the promotional mix.
The banks also have to consider the magnitude of the transactions that the potential customers can contribute to the banks. In order to achieve this, banks need to consider adequate promotional techniques as done in India by the local banks to gain the advantage over the substitute products. Further learning for the banks is discussed in the recommendations section.
Chapter 7: Recommendations
The recommendations are split into three sections for a better clarity in understanding the research conducted. The three sections are academics, banks and the researcher himself.
7.1 Recommendations for the academics
The NRI current account or the Indian banking system is a prominent product in the market. The number of Indians living outside India is roughly estimated to 24 million from various sources. Most of the Indians have left the country in search of better prospects or have migrated from India during the British rule in India. This is one of the main reasons for India receiving the highest remittance in the world. The financial sector is gaining high levels of profit due to the various transactions happening across the world with India. There is a need to study the remittance structure and the way financial institutions are promoting their products in order to gain the maximum out of the current situation.
The academic studies have involved the study of various banks and their promotional marketing strategies across the world. The promotional techniques have been studied extensively by thee academics. However the prominence of the NRI accounts has been left out by the academicians. There is very little literature available on the promotional techniques used by banks to promote the NRI banking system. This research has tried to investigate the various promotional techniques used by the UK banks. The limitations of the study create a scope for future research in the topic area both in the UK and in other parts of the world where the product is on offer.
7.2 Recommendations for Banks
The rich availability of options to promote their products need to be utilized effectively in order to achieve the promotional objectives there by enabling the achievement of marketing objectives resulting in the achievement of the organisation's objectives. The base from the promotions perspective stays at the achievement of the promotional objectives. The number of potential customers for the product on offer by the banks is increasing by the day due to the high flow of immigrants from India. A high level of indulgence from the banks to promote the NRI accounts is required to achieve the potential sale of the product.
Internet is a very powerful tool for promoting products in the current day. However, stopping the promotions to the existing customers does little help to gain new customers. The internet at the present level is used more for product awareness. The potential of the internet to influence intention, enhance customer attitude and facilitate purchase of the product is not used to the best by the banks. This has limited the sale of the product and the awareness of the product.
Viral marketing has created a negative impact on the product. Proper and effective public relations combined with use of impact advertising are recommended to the banks to promote the NRI accounts and gain the confidence of the customers. The product is still new in the market and has potential to gain more market share for the banks if suitable promotional techniques are used to promote the product and the brand.
7.3 Recommendations for self – a critical analysis of the process
The research module was one of the most interesting modules in the course. It gave an opportunity to the student to understand a chosen topic area in a better way and create a scope for the student to pursue career in the topic area due to the high level of indulgence required to understand the topic area. The chosen topic area was initially cultural marketing. The researcher was more interested in finding out the cultural differences between the various cultures present in the UK and ways to market the products to the culturally diverse crowd. The research proposal was written on the similar lines. The initial aim of the research was to find out the promotional techniques used by banks to attract the diverse population. The first supervisor meeting changed the entire concept. The supervisor, a wise man advised me to change the topic and steer away from studying different cultures due to the timing constraints of the research. He appreciated my interest in studying cultures and informed me that the research I intended to carry out initially was a PhD research requiring three or more years of in-depth research in order to achieve what I intended to find out.
It was mutually agreed that the research would then be conducted on the promotional techniques used by the UK banks to attract the Indian customers. The entire process was an eye opener as the research enhanced the researcher's confidence to a great extent. The confidence gained helped the completion of the research. There were a lot of hurdles in the completion. The research process initially intended to study only from the business perspective with four scheduled interviews with the banks. However the researcher was able to gain access to only one bank there by reducing the required amount of primary data to analyse and conclude. This led to the creation of the contingency plan to interview the customers. The research was carried out by conducting face to face interviews with 12 customers in the form of focus groups and individual interviews. The researcher understood the way of gaining information from the business people and the customers by asking the right questions at the appropriate time. There was a delay to the research with the customers due to the availability of the various participants for the two focus groups conducted. This created a stress in the research and decreasing the confidence. The researcher is thankful to the supervisor for boosting the confidence and for the support. The research was then based on grounded analysis technique. The grounded analysis meant that the researcher had to think and read between the lines of the primary data obtained. This was a challenging thing to do which helped the researcher gain an insight to the topic area. Overall, the research process was a crucial learning process helping the researcher to understand the research methods and the process of research and analysis in a better way.
If the research is to be conducted on the same topic in the future, the concentration would be more on the business perspective. The plans of the banks on the ways that they intend to promote their product are recommended to be researched. The research methods would still be suggested to be the same as an exploratory research would best suit the topic area with a grounded analysis technique. The research can be further extended from the consumers' perspective by conducting a grounded research which would give substantial information from the consumers' view point.