Helping a national reading charity enhance its offer in a challenging economic climate


  • National reading charity, Booktrust required analysis of the marketing environment and product development research / market testing for several of its programmes, including Booked Up (now Bookbuzz).
  • The charity wished to enhance its offer and investigate new revenue streams in response to changes in funding.
  • The research supported Booktrust’s business planning and was used on an ongoing basis, throughout delivery, to aid decision-making in a constantly changing marketing environment.
  • Methods used included: desk-based analysis; expert interviews; face-to-face customer interviews; diary-based product testing and observations; and online customer surveys, including using social media.
  • We worked very closely with Booktrust throughout the project.
  • The research is helping to shape a range of Booktrust’s programmes and its approach to marketing.

Analysis of the marketing environment and market testing

bookstart bear image

  • Booktrust is an independent charity dedicated to encouraging people of all ages and cultures to engage with books.
  • Its free books programmes involve carefully selecting and gifting books to children at key ages in their development.
  • Almost 3 million children receive books from Booktrust each year.
  • Books are gifted via a range of partners including health visitors, early years professionals, librarians, school teachers and school librarians.
  • Booktrust wished to enhance and develop its programmes, and investigate the creation of new revenue streams.
  • The research covered several of Booktrust’s programmes, in particular, Booked Up, now Bookbuzz, (for children in their first year of secondary school).
  • The research needed to enable strategic marketing outcomes to inform business planning.

Comprehensive programme of stakeholder research: desk-based, interviews, site visits, diary-based product testing, observations and surveys

Existing provision in Booktrust’s markets was investigated and educational experts consulted, before talking to Booktrust’s partners and customers. This involved:

  • A desk-based review of education-related provision.
  • Face-to-face interviews with education professionals across England.
  • Testing of Booktrust packs among teachers and other education professionals, who were asked to keep a diary of how the materials were used and their perceived value. Children were observed interacting with the resources.
  • Online survey of education professionals to provide indications of demand for particular features and content. Survey respondents were recruited via professional membership bodies and social media.

Bookbuzz logoTo inform the transition of Booked Up to Bookbuzz, interviews were undertaken with secondary school teachers and librarians. This included testing of the new logo.

Outputs and Outcomes

  • A series of reports was provided to Booktrust as findings emerged. We worked very closely with Booktrust, to review findings and fine-tune subsequent stages of the research programme accordingly.
  • A final summary report presenting strategic implications for marketing was produced. This could be easily circulated internally and interpreted findings to aid Booktrust’s decision-making.
  • Bookbuzz was launched and has experienced take up from thousands of secondary schools across England.