- Full Timeline
Barlow Research Timeline
As the financial services industry continues on a path of unprecedented change, Barlow Research Associates, Inc. remains focused on deepening relationships with clients and developing ways to meet the needs of the industry. We also build on our growing reputation as the voice of the business customer and the premier market research firm servicing the business banking industry.
John and Kathy Barlow found the company to respond to a gap between what commercial bank marketing managers needed to know and the research available. During the early years, company leadership focuses on client needs as a driving factor in product and service development.
Customer Relationship Audit®
Barlow Research develops the Customer Relationship Audit® (CRA), a proprietary product which soon becomes the company's biggest source of revenue. The CRA provides client feedback at all levels of the bank - including the account officer level - and combines it with profitability data, making it a valuable tool for bank management.
Barlow Research hosts its first ever Client Conference, gathering its key clients and partners for collaborative discussion at the historic St. Paul Hotel in Minnesota.
The Customer Feedback and Action Plan is developed to help bankers understand their CRA® scores, see what they are doing well and help them create a plan to help bankers/staff improve scores to better deliver service to their customers.
A multi-client conjoint research initiative in partnership with IBM and Dunn & Bradstreet, Project Saturn investigates the future role of the business banker.
Barlow Research and its partners conduct an in-depth analysis of the small business banking market, specifically studying the impact of new service delivery channels and the importance of the segment looking forward.
The Small Business Banking Membership Research Group is created, the first venture into membership-based syndicated research. Using a topical research approach and in-depth analysis, the results cover a much wider spectrum than any individual client could achieve alone. A comprehensive, syndicated Middle Market research program is also initiated.
Weekly distribution begins for the "Small Business News Network" email newsletter, featuring original Analyst's Journal articles written by Barlow Research staff and industry news curated from publications such as the American Banker and Wall Street Journal.
Golden Valley Location
Barlow Research moves to its new home in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, MN. The building provides dedicated broadcasting space for the monthly First Friday Web Conference series and houses a secure data center for the safekeeping of client data. This facility still serves as the company headquarters today.
Annual Client Conference
Barlow Research begins hosting an annual Client Conference, bringing together bankers and industry partners to share annual syndicated research results and creating an invaluable networking experience.
A new competitive intelligence study of Small Business Internet Banking platforms is conducted by Barlow Research, providing narrated videos of the actual online banking experience of small business customers at top banks.
Business Internet Banking
Barlow Research begins fielding an annual survey investigating the electronic banking behaviors and preferences of business customers from $100K-$500M in annual sales, providing clients with valuable insights and market strategies. This study has now transformed into the Digital Business Banking program.
Monarch Innovation Awards
In recognition of the importance - and challenge - of innovation in the financial services industry, the Monarch Innovation Awards are created to celebrate business banking innovations that benefit customers and the banking sector.
Using a wealth of business banking research, Barlow Research develops the Strategy Dashboard™ consisting of five, interactive, data-driven online tools that guide bankers to business opportunities through sizing markets and evaluating market-specific product usage.
In light of the economic crisis facing the financial services industry, Barlow Research begins fielding a quarterly, targeted survey to learn about economic confidence, credit appetite, business outlook and a variety of pertinent topics.
The Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) market has both enormous size and potential. As little is known about this segment, Barlow Research conducts a detailed study of this unique space to help clients understand this vast customer base and find opportunities.
Barlow develops three, unique, online discussion panel methodologies to deliver content-rich, qualitative feedback from business financial decision-makers. The Flash Panel delivers custom, fully proprietary results in just days.
Future of Small Business Credit Delivery
In partnership with Oliver Wyman, Barlow Research launches a study of the alternative, non-bank, online lenders in the small business marketplace. The research is comprised of a quantitative study, directory of alternative Lenders and narrated videos documenting the actual lending process at ten alternative lenders.
Lender Lab 2.0
Another competitive intelligence study is launched focusing on the end-to end online loan application and decisioning process from the customer experience perspective. This research was conducted using an innovative new approach called the "CX Lab", fully capturing the experience of actual small business customers and producing videos with full narration and process evaluation.
Digital Account Opening
Another initiative from Barlow Research's "CX Lab" is launched, providing competitive insight into the digital account opening application process for a new deposit account, at a new institution.
Small Business Credit 2017
This study marked our second partnership with Oliver Wyman. This initiative focused on the small business customer experience in applying for three specific loan requests at ten leading financial institutions. Through customer journey mapping, best practices and defects in the small business lending experience were identified. This customer journey work was complimented with results of a lender survey which covered strategic priorities and performance across key indicators. A Lender Forum to share learnings with bank peers comprised the third component of this work.
Small Business Cash Flow Study
Barlow Research conducted a multi-method investigation in the critical topic of cash flow management to capture the mindset, lifestyle and pressures of a small business owner, help banks mitigate friction in the customer journey and identify potential for changing/switching cash flow solution providers. Qualitative in-depth interviews and a quantitative survey provided insight into the cash flow processes, pain points and opportunities for financial institutions.
Banker of the Future
This forward-looking study, the third in Barlow’s collaboration with Oliver Wyman, provided direction to banks to re-envision their small business sales and service models by balancing customer preferences and cost. The customer perspective was revealed in three components 1) trends in self-service and banker channels 2) 30 CX Lab evaluations of actual customer service journeys 3) concept testing of innovative service models. The banker perspective included a full day ideation session with high-performing account officers resulting in the concepts tested with small business customers and a bank benchmarking survey on current state, roles/responsibilities, performance management, productivity/tools and the future state. A forum to promote industry-wide learning of study implications was a culminating event.
Merger Playbook: BB&T +SunTrust
To provide timely guidance on a significant bank merger, Barlow Research published a special, voice of the business customer analysis of the impact for both the banks involved and for their business banking competitors. The analysis focused on key customer metrics of the individual institutions, pre-merger. The playbooks highlighted the new competitive landscape resulting from this merger, insight into the strengths and opportunities for BB&T and SunTrust, and identified potential challenges in the banks’ integration that offered opportunities to competitors. Specific focus was placed on the bank and channel use as well as satisfaction metrics and small business digital banking strengths and areas of opportunities for BB&T and SunTrust.
Small Business Zelle® User Study
The Zelle® study marked an expansion of Barlow Research’s CX Lab capabilities as it focused both on the functionality and customer experience of the product’s entrance into the small business market. This study tested four top bank’s Zelle® deployment using each institution's mobile application. A variety of features and functions were tested including: Capabilities to send, receive, request, add payees, stated dollar limits and fees and communications associated with transactions.
Finding Core Deposits
The Finding Core Deposits study identified the key segments (e.g., industry, sales volume and business age) presenting the optimal opportunity to increase core bank deposits by analyzing deposit balances, sizing opportunities and aligning target markets with different deposit product strategies. This three-component initiative captured the deposit behaviors in three business customer sales ranges. Companies: 1) $100K-<$5MM, 2) $5MM-<$25MM and 3) $25MM-<$500MM.