A leading provider of private-label credit cards  


Evaluate the long-term viability of one of the client’s main lines of business    


Wall Street analysts and other industry pundits had declared that one of our client’s core lines of business was dying and would soon attract only a small niche of dedicated users. Our client was at a major crossroads: Was it time to get out of this line of business, or could the service continue to be profitable?

The leadership team needed to understand the value of the service from the customer’s point of view. What value, if any, did customers find in this service, what drew them to it, and what were their reasons for continuing to use it? What convinced some consumers to not use this service?


Epley conducted 30-minute telephone discussions with more than 400 consumers from broadly representative groups. We made sure to include consumers who were not in the target demographic for the service.

Using 10 contrast groups, we examined the motivations behind consumers’ initial acceptance or rejection of the service. We also probed to discover the differences between frequent users of the service and those who used the service marginally.

We explored the service’s varying degrees of value to the consumers who used it, and we asked consumers who had discontinued the service to explain why they left and what they used as an alternative.

We summarized each interview into a brief synopsis written in the words of the consumer. We then coded and analyzed all data and used quantitative analysis to look for themes and to uncover the differences between the groups. We gave the client all of the interview summaries and a final report that included a quantitative analysis of the data.


Our findings stood in stark contrast to the conventional wisdom of the pundits. Consumers did indeed value this service, and the business had significant growth potential. In our report, we advised the client to…

  • Continue marketing this service to the types of consumers who valued it most
  • Adjust the marketing strategy to engage consumers at the point of purchase, a practice that had never been used in this particular business before

Today, this service is one of our client’s most robust, profitable, and recession-proof lines of business.