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SME research “Defining the offer” – what drives the market?

Background

Trinity Mirror has one of the largest regional media networks in the UK. They have a unique relationship with thousands of businesses who have used some of their portfolio of around 100 long-standing print titles and more than 70 websites as part of their marketing communications mix.

Following our successful work with some of their regional titles, including the Express and Echo and Plymouth Herald, we were approached to discuss a research project to support the development and launch of a range of new marketing services to the SME market.

Challenge

Trinity Mirror felt they were in a unique position to capitalise on the awareness they had  with well- known newspaper and website brands but were unsure how the SME market would react to the offer of consultancy advice and an extended service offer, aimed at growing business, being delivered by a media supplier.

They also wanted to understand the primary marketing needs of SMEs and determine the best positioning for the new service offer – including the method of introduction, frequency of communication and most appropriate media mix.

Solution

The research proposed was completed in two phases. The first phase was qualitative, using a series of focus groups in key trading areas. We also completed a group in an area which did not have a strong business background for Trinity Mirror for comparison purposes.

The second phase was quantitative, involving conducting 300 on-line surveys with SMEs across the UK, using a leading panel provider, Research Now Ltd. This provided a statistically robust sample to allow sub analysis of the data at the reporting stage.

The target audiences for both phases were recruited from Owners, Directors and Senior Managers who indicated they wanted to grow their business and were either the sole decision maker or final decision maker in purchasing marketing services for their business.

Outcome

Following the presentation of the combined research results to the Senior Management team they are now looking at developing a range of services which will directly reflect the needs of the SME market. The initial extension of the product and service offer in a number of test locations has already yielded promising results.