Newcastle United Foundation Scores High in Satisfaction Research

Kate BradleyOne of the region’s biggest sporting and education charities, Newcastle United Foundation, is celebrating the findings of research which has revealed high levels of customer satisfaction amongst its beneficiaries and funders.

The Foundation, which is supported by Newcastle United Football Club, marked its 10-year anniversary in 2018 with overwhelmingly positive customer feedback, gained in a series of independent, stakeholder perceptions surveys developed by market research specialists, Marketwise Strategies Limited.

The four months long research programme focussed upon the Foundation’s sporting, education, community, health and wellbeing programmes with children and adults; including its work to support disadvantaged children, young people and families.

Using a mix of telephone interviews and online surveys, Marketwise Strategies worked with the Foundation to develop a rounded understanding of the experiences, opinions and needs of different service users, associates and funders. More than 860 individuals and organisations took part in the research – including teachers, parents, programme participants and corporate funders from across the North East.

The survey revealed excellent satisfaction levels across the Foundation’s activities, which include Walking Football, soccer schools, Disability Football for children and adults, a Free Fit Club and a range of schools’ programmes. Among participants in the Foundation’s activities and fundraising events, 95% were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience. Among parents whose children attended the Foundation’s soccer schools, almost 98% were satisfied or very satisfied.

Some of the highlights that parents identified were; making their children more confident, the quality of the coaching and seeing how proud the children were of their achievements. Adults enjoyed working with the Foundation’s friendly staff and found the activities to be a good way to make new friends while getting fit.

Kate Bradley, Head of Foundation, commented; “Over the last ten years, we have developed and grown the Foundation substantially. Last year alone we generated more than £22.5m in social impact. In 2017/18, almost 28,000 individuals took part in our programmes and attendances topped 58,000. Reaching this 10-year milestone, it seemed to be a good time to invite customer feedback. We wanted to understand how aware organisations and individuals were of the work that Newcastle United Foundation does – and how satisfied they were with our programmes and delivery.

We had previously worked with Marketwise Strategies to provide valuable data and market analysis to support our most ambitious project to date, Project Pitchside.  With the help of a small grant from the National Lottery Community Fund through the Building Capabilities fund, we worked with Marketwise Strategies to scope and create a series of surveys, aimed at our different stakeholder groups.  Their team spent time interviewing our major donors and partners, to explore their feelings about the Foundation and its work.

We are delighted with the outcome of the research. It is much-welcomed feedback, helps to validate our existing programmes and also suggests how we can improve. We have already begun to use it to help improve our service and plan our staff development and have also shared the findings with trustees and associates. It’s been a very worthwhile exercise indeed, and what’s more, we have learnt how to embrace market research in an ongoing fashion and so are continually working from an informed perspective.”

A summary of the finding of the research is included in the Foundation’s latest Annual Review (//nufoundation.org.uk/our-latest-annual-review/)

Jacquie Potts, Managing Director at Marketwise Strategies, said; “We have many years experience of conducting this type of research – for clients across the UK – so we’re delighted to be able to use that expertise to help the Foundation.   We designed the research in a way that minimised the cost to the Foundation, while allowing the maximum range of audiences to be surveyed.  Across the project, people were tremendously willing to be involved, and we were able to achieve a very high response rate. As the research developed, it became clear that there is an incredible affinity with the Foundation that exists across its various audiences, which is linked to the power of the Newcastle United brand.”

Building on the knowledge gained through the stakeholder perceptions research, The Foundation has recently unveiled the findings from an economic analysis by Ernst & Young (EY). Fundraising is also being focussed on the next era of development, which includes the new Project Pitchside, a sports and educational hub, which will be located on the site of Murray House Recreational Centre, just five minutes away from St James’ Park.

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.
venturefestnortheast
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 www.venturefestnortheast.com 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.”