Developing business support services – Business Services Research for the University of Wales, Newport

The University of Wales Newport offers a variety of support services to businesses and was looking to grow and develop the provision of these, and to expand the number of businesses worked with. Intelligence was required to inform this development and we undertook a programme of quantitative and qualitative research with businesses to explore their use of business services, and the potential future demand for services provided by the University.

The research aimed to understand how support services were being used by companies in the region and the demand for business support. It went on to explore usage of universities for businesses support, and the barriers to and drivers of accessing this support.

Conducting the research

Qa undertook a quantitative telephone survey with 276 local businesses, followed by in-depth interviews with 15 of these businesses.

The sample for the telephone survey was created by merging data from the University’s CRM system with a contact database procured by Qa. The questionnaire was developed by Qa in conjunction with the University. Further analysis of the data highlighted significant differences in responses between businesses of different sizes and sectors. GIS mapping was undertaken to determine relevant businesses for targeting of future marketing campaigns, by combining data on travel time, prevalence of accessing external support, likely growth areas and training and consultancy spend.

The in-depth interviews were conducted with a range of businesses that took part in the telephone survey and were willing to take part in further research. Thematic analysis identified similar trends and patterns among businesses responses, with trends then linked to the responses to the quantitative survey.

Impact on marketing activity

The research provided the University with a better understanding of the business market and promotional activity required to attract this market. As a result of the research the University not only changed the way it targets marketing activity; the findings of the research were also used to shape the way individual faculties and departments interact with businesses.

Contact

Michael Fountain Research Director at Qa for more information: michael.fountain@qaresearch.co.uk 01904 632039