This blog was started at the time Latimer Appleby was formed in late 2012. The London Olympics had been a resounding success earlier in the summer, and there was much to look forward to. The purpose of the Latimer Appleby blog was simply to provide a more personal view of the market research business. The topics to be covered would include Market research (of course), but also:
- Sales, and
- customer service.
Plus, the blog would cover business in general. In fact, anything vaguely commercial where we could share our views and opinions on a subject based on our wide experience.
Latimer Appleby Market Research was formed in September 2012. Two different people, Paul Latimer (that’s me), and my good friend Peter Appleby. Both of us with different perspectives on business came together to see what we could do to create a new entity. One was a marketer, the other came from a sales and business development background. Together we thought they could develop something unique.
Sadly, in early 2015 Peter passed away leaving the business solely with me. As a result, I now lead the company. So perhaps it’s worth sharing a few facts about my own career and my experience. To help explain why I feel able to write this blog at all.
After graduating, from the University of Birmingham in the early 1980s, I completed a postgraduate marketing diploma at what was then Kingston Polytechnic.
My client-side marketing career began in business magazine publishing, with Morgan-Grampian, in a role that was actually more of a market research function. From there I moved into toys and games with Hasbro, at the time a little-known company outside North America. Whilst there, in the late 1980s, I held various brand management roles in both the UK and the US, working on several high-profile toy ranges such as Transformers, GI Joe (known as Action Force in Europe), as well as getting some experience in the MB Games division.
In the early 1990s I gained further brand and product management experience in the UK vitamins, minerals and supplements sector (vms). At the time this was one of the fastest growing sectors within UK over the counter healthcare. At Booker Nutritional Products (later becoming Ferrosan Healthcare) I was responsible for the Healthcrafts brand, a leading vms brand in the UK health food sector. Whilst there I progressed to the position of Marketing Manager with responsibility for all nutritional brands and own label nutritional products manufactured by the company.
In the mid-1990s my career next took me into consumer telecoms, when I joined General Cable (which has long since been absorbed into Virgin Media). First as Residential Marketing Director for The Cable Corporation, its then southern franchise, before being promoted to Group Marketing Controller. It was while at General Cable that I worked alongside Peter.
I later moved over to business-to-business telecoms, where I was European Marketing Director at ACT Teleconferencing, Inc. a leading global teleconferencing service provider.
My experience in market research consulting began with a values-based agency, Synergy Consulting.
In early 2004 I joined Business Blueprints, a specialist retail and leisure research consultancy as Head of Marketing and Research, where I managed primary research projects for numerous UK-based blue-chip clients, later becoming Director of Research.
Reflecting on the business now it is interesting to see how things have almost come full circle.
I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), and a Certified Member of the Market Research Society (MRS) and I hold diplomas from the CIM, MRS, as well as the Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM).
The purpose of Latimer Appleby is simple. It’s to help solve a range of business-critical problems in the most timely and cost-effective way, using primary market research and consumer insight. Too many people talk about getting closer to their customers but few actually know how to make that happen effectively. That’s where we can help.
At Latimer Appleby we have refined our working practices into an 8-stage process. Through that process we work towards delivering actionable findings and insights to help our clients to achieve their business goals and objectives. This typically involves using primary market research to help them to better understand their customers, consumers, buyers, residents, staff, shoppers, users or prospects’ needs and behaviours.
The ultimate results or benefits of market research should be measured in terms of things such as: increased sales, reduced costs, better communications, behaviour changes and/or greater profits.
At Latimer Appleby we work with businesses and organisations who all share a desire to understand people to a more profound level from a market research consultancy perspective. These are naturally inquisitive organisations, who measure their own success by providing a great experience to their clients, customers and employees alike.
We typically work with clients based in the South East, in both the private & public sectors. We also have considerable experience in delivering primary market research or consumer research projects right across the UK, especially to the retail, shopping centre & property sectors.
Our clients have included: Shopping centre groups, managing agents, individual shopping and leisure schemes; Retailers; Borough, city and county councils; BIDs; NHS CCGs and hospital trusts; Government agencies; Universities and colleges; Exhibitions companies; Business start-ups; plus third-party communications agencies and management consultancies.
We provide a range of solutions but our core speciality is really primary consumer market research. Within this the types of projects we undertake include the following:
Market research project planning, Questionnaire design, Face-to-face surveys including on street surveys/exit surveys, Telephone surveys, Online survey setup, Focus groups and depth interviews, Data analysis and interpretation, Account management, Report writing.
We can operate both as a full-service agency or provide field and tab services only.
Our methods and approaches are readily transferable; however, we do have experience of working in certain key sectors these include Shopping centres and retail, Healthcare and medical, Education, Environmental, Local government, and Food and drink.
Shopping centres and retail
Latimer Appleby has unrivalled experience and expertise in retail and shopper research. Our wider team, including our field-based supervisors and interviewers, have extensive face-to-face research know-how. Built up over more than 15 years we help shopping centre clients to measure shopper attitudes and behaviours. Exit surveys allow centres to benchmark their performance either against other centres in their portfolio, or to track changes in their own schemes from year-to-year. These surveys also allow them to better understand their own performance from a shoppers’ perspective, and to help determine changes required to their retail mix or the overall offer. In addition to undertaking quantitative research, we also have considerable hands-on experience in managing focus groups, from pre-planning through to recruitment and moderation.
We work with centre management teams, managing agents, and landlords both for individual schemes or across entire portfolios. For quantitative research we can work on either a full service, or a ‘field and tab’ basis for our shopping centre clients, according to their particular needs.
Our shopper and retail research services include:
- Understanding visitor behaviours (e.g. measuring KPIS such as conversion, spend, dwell time and visit frequency)
- Shopper satisfaction measures (e.g. choice, service, safety and security, access, atmosphere)
- Profiling visitors (e.g. demographic profiling)
- Catchment analysis (e.g. postcode collection exercises)
- Advertising awareness and recall studies
- Measuring promotional ROI
Latimer Appleby has gained experience in various forms of healthcare market research since 2012. We have previously conducted both staff and visitor surveys for a local NHS Trust which runs three separate hospital sites. We have also conducted telephone research projects on behalf of different CCGs in our region. These studies for example, give residents an opportunity to provide valuable feedback about their experiences of their own GP surgery as well as other health services, including A&E and urgent care.
We also have an ongoing relationship with a communications agency that specialises in behaviour change. Over the years, we have carried out face-face surveys and managed their focus group recruitment needs. For them we have been involved in numerous healthcare projects on subjects including: air pollution, alcohol misuse, drug addition, health check services, hospital A&E services, men’s health, physical inactivity, sexual health, and stop smoking campaigns, amongst others.
Our healthcare research services have to date involved:
- General public health surveys
- Topic-specific awareness research and surveys
- Understanding hospital visitors’ behaviour using on-site retail and catering outlets (e.g. measuring KPIs such as conversion, spend, dwell time and visit frequency)
- Health facilities performance measurement
- Specialist focus group recruitment
Education is another fast-developing sector for Latimer Appleby, although the methods used here are largely transferable from one industry to another. We have conducted both online student research and online staff surveys for different educational institutions. More recently, we have carried out awareness and reputation research for a multi-site, further education college based here in Sussex. The intention will be to repeat this particular study every two years. We have experience of working both with college marketing and communications teams, and also with student bodies.
Our education research services have to date included:
- Staff satisfaction surveys
- Student opinion surveys
- Awareness and reputation research
Latimer Appleby has in recent years been appointed to work on several quite varied projects for a national environment agency, via one of its sister agencies. From a door-to-door awareness study, our work progressed first to a visitors’ survey plus focus group recruitment for a world-famous botanic garden and renowned research institution. More recently, we have conducted telephone research to engage with hard-to-reach residents living in some of the most remote areas of the UK, as part of ongoing endangered species research. Our most recent work in this sector has involved face-to-face research in various rural market towns and larger villages, as part of a major landscape management programme.
Our environmental projects have involved:
- Visitor attraction surveys
- Public opinion research
- Awareness surveys
- Focus group recruitment
Latimer Appleby now regularly undertakes resident surveys for both borough and county councils. We have also been appointed to conduct primary market research on placemaking projects. For this type of work, we have worked directly for Business Improvement District (BID) organisations. We have also worked with third party agencies in support of their research and analysis role, by conducting face-to-face and telephone research. Our work for borough or county councils has typically consisted of telephone research, designed to gain feedback from residents about their local area and the services provided by their council. For one county council client we have carried out this type of research at least once a year since 2014.
We have also been retained by another specialist consultancy to provide market research support for their own clients. This work has typically involved telephone research and focus group recruitment for numerous local authorities, in subject areas such as: adoption services, fostering services, and special education needs and disabilities (SEND), amongst other topics.
Our local government projects have involved:
- General residents’ surveys
- Community safety surveys
- Local pharmacy needs research
- Parents, guardians, and carers research surveys
- Parents, guardians, and carers focus group recruitment
- Pedestrian counts
Food and drink
Latimer Appleby has experience in various food and drink-related research projects. Much of our food and drink work stems from our research on leisure-based or mixed-use schemes. This has historically been part of our shopping centre activities. This typically involves examining the catering offer, for example measuring conversion, spend and other behaviours, as well as service satisfaction measurement. More recently we have conducted a hall test for a food-based NPD client, prior to the successful launch of that concept.
Our food and drink projects can help to:
- Develop and successfully launch new products
- Better understand existing and potential consumers
- Uncover why people buy and why they don’t
- Measure and track service satisfaction ratings
- Support packaging design and development
We summarise our Latimer Appleby philosophy via our three core values:
- Personal: hands on, we take a detailed interest in every client.
- Flexible: ‘method neutral’, we find the best approach to meet the needs of the business.
- Dependable: count on us to deliver to time, to budget and, crucially, to specification.
Paul and Peter