Marketwise Strategies announces VentureFest North East partnership

Business de-risking specialist, Marketwise Strategies has become the market research partner to VentureFest North East, the regional innovation conference for North East England.
Specialising in strategic research for new product development and business growth, Marketwise Strategies works with science and technology businesses and universities, across the UK and internationally. Formed in 2000, the company has a strong track record in supporting innovation and delivering robust market insights to inform corporate and marketing strategies.

VentureFest North East Executive Director, Simon Green said,

We’re delighted that Marketwise Strategies has become a partner of VentureFest North East. We’ve worked with the team there for many years, on various projects, and their specialist knowledge of innovation makes them a great fit with our plans. A large part of managing innovation projects is reducing risk, which is exactly what Marketwise Strategies’ services can help with. We’re looking forward to working together on helping North East businesses get their ideas to market.

The VentureFest North East innovation conference takes place on 8th November 2016, at St James Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. Growing to 700 people this year, it’s a unique day in the business calendar that’s packed with inspirational speakers and practical workshops to help new, existing – and aspiring – businesses to make new connections, raise finance and explore opportunities.

Jacquie Potts, Managing Director at Marketwise Strategies said, “In our experience, VentureFest North East excels at bringing people together to create new business opportunities. It attracts – and delivers results for – businesses of all sizes and sectors. Whether you are trying to raise finance, find new market opportunities, access expertise or simply be inspired, it is a superb event – and well worth attending. We have taken part in previous VentureFest North East events, including the innovation conference in 2015 and Finance Camp earlier this year, and found them outstanding, with a great mix of people.”

At the VentureFest North East conference in November, Marketwise Strategies will be delivering a workshop session on de-risking innovation.

Registrations for the conference are now open at and attendance is free to all businesses.

Informing SME Engagement at BSI

One of our proudest achievements at Marketwise Strategies is the work we have accomplished with BSI, the UK’s National Standards Body. In 2014, BSI asked us to research the requirement for standards among SMEs in six sectors: Aerospace; Automotive; Construction; Food; Health; and ICT.

This major, multi-mode project was delivered in three stages and was our second research project for BSI. It involved: a review of SME numbers, activities and trends in each of the six sectors; depth interviews with decision-makers in 48 SMEs (face-to-face and by telephone); and a quantitative survey of over 600 SMEs.

Dr John Gibson photographDr John Gibson, who led the qualitative work said, “The SME landscape project was one of the most rewarding that I have been involved in. We were able to visit and interview SME owners and senior teams, and really ‘get under the skin’ of the businesses, to understand what standards meant to them, what would encourage them to adopt standards and why they might or might not want to be involved in developing new standards.

Since the project ended, we have also liaised with the consultants that BSI appointed to explore the economic benefits of standards, and have been able to see how our research has influenced that next phase of SME engagement.”

The research has informed BSI’s strategy for engaging with SMEs, and has been circulated to stakeholders throughout the UK and Europe – including to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, a number of UK universities that are leaders in working with advanced manufacturing, and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN).

Direct links to our Stage 1 (macro level) and Stage 2 (micro level) reports are provided below:

Those reports are also listed within BSI’s website among a series of international publications addressing the economic benefits of standards.

A case study, summarising the project, is available here.


Brand Review – The Value We Deliver

Jacquie Potts pictureWhen Marketwise Strategies embarked upon a brand review, we wanted our clients to be central to the process. That’s why our Managing Director, Jacquie Potts, approached some of our key customers and asked them to let us know: Why they chose to work with us; How they felt about the experience; and – importantly – What ‘value’ means to them.

To maintain confidentiality, an associate carried out the research on our behalf, interviewing 16 clients – from universities, major not-for-profits and the private sector.

This is what we found:

Clients especially valued our
• Acting as a ‘critical friend’ – giving time to understand their organisation and the wider context of the issue
• Providing weekly updates throughout each project – and “keeping the communication going”, especially within complex projects.
• Going beyond simply delivering research findings, by providing clear recommendations for strategy.

They said that we are different from other research firms in
• The “personal ownership” and “demonstrable care” that we give to projects
• The academic backgrounds of our staff, creating a ‘different feel’ and bringing specialist expertise (e.g. in bioscience)
• Our diligence and persistence, to successfully deliver even the most complex work
• Our ability “to cater for very specific things, like the emotional sensitivity of the work”.

They particularly remembered
• The professionalism and experience of our staff
• Our rigorous and thorough approach
• Regular, transparent, open communications.

Summing us up in a sentence, here are some of the things that clients said:
• Accuracy, responsiveness, commitment to deliver what they say they are going to do – very professional.
• Dedicated, committed… principled.
• A friendly, flexible company who engage the client at every level.
• Good at getting to the nub of an issue.
• Intelligent and robust approach.
• Very rigorous and robust.
• They are thorough, professional, they are a pleasure to deal with – and you feel confident that they are going to manage what comes along.
• I just think they handle projects really well.
• I know that I can be confident – whether I am working with them on a project or recommending someone else within the organisation to work with them on a project – that they will deliver.

Changes we are making
• Some clients said that they would like to hear from us more often in between projects. To help us keep in touch with every client, Dr Paul Koshy is taking on responsibility for ongoing client communications.
• Some of our services were not sufficiently ‘visible’ – for example some clients did not know about our work in international markets or about the range of branding research that we conduct. To help remedy that, we are building a new website to better profile our full range of expertise.

We are grateful to each of the clients who took part in the research, which is helping us to better tailor our services and our client communications. Over the next year, we will be putting into practice several more changes that the research has prompted.

New Researcher Appointed

To support our growth in education markets, Marketwise Strategies has recently recruited Antony Mullen, who brings qualitative research experience gained in higher education and freelance roles.

Antony’s past projects have included research into: e-portfolio development, for a Russell Group university; interdisciplinary learning; and the use of mainstream cinema in secondary schools (published in a peer-reviewed journal).

Since joining Marketwise Strategies, Antony has been researching demand for a suite of new degree programmes and has just completed a project involving research among Pro-Vice-Chancellors, directors and managers in UK universities. He also played a part in winning the latter project, conducted for a statutory body.

Antony’s background includes secondary school teaching and a master’s degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature. He is also currently studying for a PhD, at Durham University.

Marketwise Strategies’ Managing Director, Jacquie Potts said, “I am delighted that Antony has joined us. His knowledge and experience will further strengthen our team in education markets.”

A year of success in HE markets

Libary shotMarketwise Strategies has reported its most successful year yet in Higher Education. Working with 11 universities and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education – and delivering multiple projects for many of those – the company has consolidated its position as a leading provider of bespoke, strategic, market research, across the HE sector.

Throughout the year, the company also completed a steady stream of programme portfolio projects, at undergrad and postgrad levels and across executive education and CPD. Other key projects during the year included a detailed review of the UK market for online learning.

Managing Director, Jacquie Potts said, “The year has brought a huge variety of projects. A key theme has been brand and reputation, with projects delivered in the UK and internationally, at corporate and faculty level. Another of our most interesting challenges was a major piece of research to assess the opportunity for an Asia campus, for a research-intensive university. A key challenge for our research team was the need to access some very difficult-to-reach audiences across multiple continents, while ensuring robust and reliable data to inform our client’s decisions.”

“We were also delighted to provide multi-stakeholder research to inform Durham University’s credit union scheme, offering low cost, ethical loans for postgraduate study.”

Marketwise Strategies has also continued its role in supporting technology commercialisation, working with two leading Russell Group universities to assess markets for their innovations.