One Financial Education Intervention, Two Performances, What Happened?

Nguyen-Cousins, Tam (2018). One Financial Education Intervention, Two Performances, What Happened? In: European Social Marketing Conference 2018 (Upton, Martin; Brambley, Will and Roby, Helen eds.), 5-7 Sep 2018, Antwerp, Belgium.


It is often expected that one financial education intervention should offer similar performance in changing financial behaviour to determine its role in social marketing. Behaviour change takes time and it needs different approaches to different segmentations. It involves multifaceted aspects and cannot always be controlled by the organisers. If the performances of an intervention are not consistent, should we reject or endorse it?
This paper takes a critical view of the application of social marketing mix concepts from 4Ps and segmentation in designing and assessing the impact of a financial education intervention. The short course “Managing My Money” (the MMM) was designed and delivered through direct and online channels. Using the dataset from a large research project of the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance (PUFin) at the Open University in co-operation with the Coventry University, funded by the Money Advice Service’s What Works Fund.
There were diversified experiments to explore the impact of one financial education intervention which distributed to specific target audiences in different places. This seeks to explore what works and does not work for different populations in improving their personal financial behaviours including saving and borrowing. This paper selected the datasets of 438 members of New Central Credit Union (NCCU) from 1953 NCCU members and 1257 members of Coventry District Credit Union (CDCU) from 1322 CDCU members who lived in Coventry and categorised into neighbourhood segmentation by wards. The purpose is to explore how a specific neighbourhood environment might influence individual saving and borrowing behaviour. Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) was used to design the experiment and to assess the impact of the intervention toward saving and borrowing behaviours among the control and experimental group. The experimental group received either face-to-face intervention at a workshop or printed materials and an online course, while the control group did not receive any of these treatments.
This paper offers a case study to explain why one financial education intervention does not always offer the repeated performance through the lens of social marketing. Some findings are useful to social marketers and educators, in the use and evaluation of a financial education intervention, to promote desirable saving and borrowing behaviours. Changing borrowing behaviour is more multifaceted than changing saving behaviour. It requires a sensitive approach in dealing with simultaneous savers and debtors. Individual financial capacity constrains their saving and borrowing behaviour change. Neighbourhood segmentation is useful in explaining the limitations when intervening in a financial behaviour change.

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