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Leading Edge Management Consultancy Limited

marketing research

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Using market research to make the right strategic and marketing decisions

Focused market research can provide a powerful objective view from customers, prospective customers, suppliers and even employees. This will give you statistically reliable data, and the insight needed to make sound marketing choices and business decisions. Typically, you will want to work with a specialist third party to help you get the best return from your market research programme.

Why use us for your market research?

At Leading Edge we specialise in business to business research and in particular focus on the construction, flooring and building materials industry. However, our experience does extend beyond these sectors. In particular, we believe we can offer you the best market research solution as we have

  • experience in over 200 market research projects
  • excellent strategic and planning skills
  • an in-house team of telephone interviewers based at the Wokingham office
  • detailed knowledge of the construction and building materials industry

Keeping the interviewing in-house enables us to maintain a better control on the quality of interviews and we can instantly answer any issues that may crop up during the research. It also means our interviewers are familiar with the building materials and construction industry which improves the quality of feedback.

You can read more about our research team here.

Research techniques and construction industry experience

Our market research experience includes the collection of data using a range of techniques depending on the specific requirement, all of which can deliver excellent information for strategic and tactical decision making. The most commonly used collection techniques include

  • telephone interviewing using CATI technology
  • web based data collection - typically via email link to URL
  • face to face for detailed executive interviews
  • postal questionnaires
  • focus groups
  • mystery shopping
  • omnibus survey

It's not just the data that the research delivers which is important; it's the interpretation of the data as well. The top-line results may provide a certain level of information, but understanding what the results are telling you is both more interesting and enlightening. This is where we are able to add even more value because of our knowledge of the construction industry and our experience of interpreting and presenting results in a meaningful format.

Our experience in the construction and building materials industry means we understand the key industry issues and terminology from day one and will have probably already had experience in interviewing your required target audience.

Omnibus surveys

We carry out regular omnibus surveys with samples of

  • specifiers
  • main contractors
  • flooring installation businesses
  • sales and marketing executives in the construction industry

For those of you unfamiliar with this research technique, an omnibus survey is a method of quantitative marketing research where questions from a number of clients are included in the same interview. The advantage to the research client is mainly based on cost as this is shared among a number of businesses who will all pay according to the number of questions they wish to ask. This technique is normally used by clients when either budgets are restricted or there are only a small number of questions and it is not worth setting up a stand alone research programme.

There is a fixed cost per question to reach a sample of 50. The cost depends whether the question is closed (multiple choice type question) or open. Costs are shown below.

Specifiers / main contractors / senior executives
Closed question 350 GBP
Open question 450 GBP

Flooring installers
Closed question 250 GBP
Open question 350 GBP

Please contact us to find out the timing of the next omnibus surveys.

Key stages in a market research project

When approaching a market research project, we break it down into a number of work stages. A typical research project would have the following stages

  • Agree the objectives of the research
  • Propose appropriate methodology and sample base
  • Develop and agree the questionnaire with the client
  • Carry out pilot interviews
  • Amend the questionnaire or target interviewees if required
  • Carry out interviews using in-house team
  • Produce data tables
  • Analyse data, develop conclusions and implications
  • Use the conclusions from the research to provide input to marketing and strategic plans - for example, via workshops

We would be happy to discuss your specific requirements to see whether we can be of assistance. Please contact us to discuss your project requirements in more detail.

Potential scenarios and research solutions

Possible scenario Suggested research methodology
Market assessment Research with specific target customer groups to identify purchasing behaviour, attitudes to competitors, route to market, market growth or decline, brand share, clients strengths and weaknesses. Often used as input to market planning.
Branding External research to determine expectations, perceptions, attributes and attitudes. Internal survey with employees to establish beliefs and attitudes. Analysis will assist in branding decisions and indicate whether conflict exists between current situation and proposed direction.
Customer satisfaction External and internal survey to establish the 'moments of truth' which are then tested against perceptions and expectations amongst customers to achieve benchmarking and highlight areas for improvement.
New Product Development & investment decisions Combination of field research and desk research to identify possible interest levels, buying behaviour & market trends. Competitor research to evaluate gaps, strengths & weaknesses.
Diversification & new market penetration Combination of field research and focus groups, to draw out the main enablers, barriers, drivers, attitudes and perceptions, including procurement processes and distribution channels. Further field research may be conducted to affirm the findings more quantitatively.

Market research case studies

We have carried out over 200 projects involving market research since we started business in 1988. Here is a brief summary of a small selection of these projects.

Market Research for a brick manufacturer

A well-established brick manufacturer wanted to assess whether the capital outlay required for a new plant would be justified by the extra revenue derived from diversification into a new product. They felt this diversification was necessary to offset the future effects of a maturing brick market.

We were tasked with researching demand for this new product across domestic and commercial sectors and to identify the prime distribution channels, probable price range, and to suggest a format for the new range. We achieved our results using quantitative and qualitative research in the form of telephone and face to face interviews, across an 80-strong sample of specifiers and suppliers throughout the country. The findings were supported by further desk research into market conditions and competitor profiles enabling the client to make a decision based on a solid knowledge of the market.

Trade research in vinyl flooring market

We carried out telephone and web based interviews with flooring manufacturers, contractors, architects and distributors to produce this assessment of the commercial luxury vinyl tile market in the UK. The telephone and web based interviews provided us with the data to identify market structure, market size, pricing, product market share, key routes to market and general product design trends. We also assessed contractor attitudes towards main manufacturers.

Research with building chemicals customer base

This company had recently experienced customer service issues but, after opening a new warehouse and the introduction of improved order fulfilment actions, wanted to track its service level performance. The objective of the research was to understand its customers' expectations and their perceptions of the service that they receive, identify areas of customer service in which it can differentiate itself and benchmark the company's performance against its competitors. The customer interviews numbered 170 and were carried out by telephone.

The results showed that the company was still seen as performing relatively well, although there were some areas where work was needed. The management of the company set up a task force to improve their poorer scores and the areas of underperformance have now been addressed.

Market assessment for plastic drainage manufacturer

This manufacturer wanted us to assess the potential profitability of importing a new plastic waste trap from Europe. Telephone and face to face interviews were carried out with diy stores, distributors and pre-packers to assess the potential market, pricing and attitudes towards the product. To obtain a return on the substantial investment needed in tooling a substantial market share was required. The outcome identified that the product could be sold profitably by using a specific pricing strategy and route to market.

Building products market share analysis

For the last four years we have been carrying out an extensive interview programme to assess the market share of specific building materials in key construction sectors. This involves 1,400 interviews each year with specifiers and contractors to identify the type of material used in construction in each part of the project. We have developed a sophisticated model to handle the data and calculate the market share - the model contains over 1,000 pivot tables for example. The share is also assessed by key market sector eg health, housing, education, offices, marine, rail.

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