Citation Note

Based on field research; 18 pages.

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A first objective of the case is to provide students with a better understanding of how firms can interact with consumers to support consumer decision making in different stages of the ‘customer journey’ (with a focus on the financial services industry). For example, the case can be used to discuss how firms can support consumer information search, consumer purchase decisions, consumer (financial) product monitoring, and consumer (financial) product performance evaluations. Secondly, the case can also be used to analyse consumer channel usage and how this usage varies across consumers and consumer situations. Customer-centred marketing typically requires balancing information consistency across channels on the one hand and personalising messages and services on the other. The case offers a framework to discuss how these different goals can be met. Thirdly, the case addresses firms’ strategic decision to position itself across the service-channel mix. More specifically, the case allows students to investigate the question of service branding in particular in an online setting. What factors determine an online service firm’s brand value and how is this brand value extended to other channels or to other sub-brands online? Implications for the firm’s own internal focus can also be discussed (e.g., customer closeness vs. operational excellence).


When Independer evolved from a financial product comparison website into a financial intermediary, it urgently needed a new business model that could, on the one hand, retain existing customers, while on the other, attract new ones.

Abstract began in 1999 as a financial product comparison website to help customers make better choices by bringing transparency into the market. Within a decade, it grew into a major Dutch financial intermediary that provided not only comparison but also brokerage services. As the Dutch financial market became more transparent with the growth of other comparison websites and an increase in government regulatory policies, focusing on transparency was no longer enough for Intensified competition and the adverse economic climate added to the pressure. The company needed a new business model to attract new customers and increase profits. It considered a new ‘Just Right’ model in which customers would largely allow to manage the customer’s financial products and make optimal choices on their behalf. would now aim to become a trustworthy financial manager for its customers rather than a product comparison website only. The new business model, however, was not without issues: Market positioning, customer channel mix decisions, and maintaining a strong brand image all presented major challenges for the new business model.


The case presents the challenges and opportunities facing many firms during a business model shift: How can a firm that has excelled on serving a specific segment penetrate a broader market?

Case Study