Market research drives success

Category: Marketing Strategy

Friday October 2nd, 2015

When Horizon was approached by after school clubs organiser Playworks, the company knew it needed to market itself more effectively. But, in common with many smaller businesses, there was some confusion as to where to best start.

Playworks had plenty of marketing collateral – brochures, banners, flyers and a website – but their branding was busy, their marketing messages were varied and none too clear. And with several audiences to address and impress, the issue was not a simple one of “please buy my stuff” – which the marketing of many product businesses can, arguably, be boiled down to.

So, while Playworks was great at running after school and holiday clubs at schools around south Wales, there were some puzzles. Why were some clubs failing to gain a critical mass of children to join, despite all the marketing efforts that were being made? Why were some consistently more popular, while others were less so? And could Playworks develop a business model to really help others, anywhere around the UK, when setting up their own school clubs?

Thankfully, Playworks received support from their local authority in south Wales, who were able to award grant assistance for an investment in expansion. And this funding was ploughed into an initial research study, managed by Horizon, to discover how the marketing effort could be best focused to grow the company.

Horizon’s work to understand the problems Playworks was facing, and the challenges of the school clubs sector, led to direct interviews with parents and schools, and the development of a white paper. This clearly laid out the issues around starting, growing and managing school clubs, and the different expectations of the various audiences, including children, parents and schools.

The information within the white paper enabled Horizon and Playworks to develop a marketing plan, a new Playworks brand and a suite of supporting marketing materials, and a strategy for how to tackle those key audiences. With the right tools at their disposal, Playworks quickly saw a positive impact on their business, with enrolments improved and new opportunities at fresh schools opening up.

With the first phase of the growth plan implemented, Playworks has now identified the need for better systems, including an online internal communications system. These are now being developed, with the intention that their rollout will be just the first part of a wider development of the business, which could see Playworks school clubs opening around the UK, driven by local partners with the support of the Playworks founders.