Commonwealth explored receptivity by financially vulnerable families to savings product marketing using a cutting-edge marketing research tool, the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET). ZMET is an innovative research methodology that elicits insights about human decision making through metaphors and storytelling. Using a sophisticated interview technique, researchers encourage consumers to create stories and identify images about their feelings related to a topic of study. From these stories emerge metaphors, messages, and imagery that professional marketers use to build brands and products. The two ZMET studies Commonwealth undertook focused on how consumers approach (1) money and savings, and (2) their children?s financial futures.
The ZMET tool can deepen our understanding of how to increase saving activity among financially vulnerable households.
An opportunity exists in the credit union industry to expand the use of metaphors in marketing imagery and messaging.
Credit unions have an opportunity to explore both positive and negative metaphors as a way to reach financially vulnerable families.
ZMET studies can inform product designs, suggest ways to position or reframe products, reveal themes and imagery for marketing campaigns, and generate raw consumer feedback from which to develop new business strategies.
Researchers have identified more than 15 core metaphoric categories that evoke emotion across cultures. Credit unions imagery and messaging largely concentrate on two basic concepts: utilitarian and aspirations/attainment.
Evoking emotion in marketing material is crucial to engaging current and potential credit union members yet many of the metaphors used by credit unions evoke limited emotional responses.