Strategic marketing insight

Learn where your true value lies by asking your clients for feedback. Craft a story and marketing strategy that connects.

Not clear exactly what makes your company different or how to describe what you do?

Using research with your clients and team we uncover the story your business needs to tell. You get the clarity you need to get your team aligned and your marketing on the path to success. And we’ll give you the right words to communicate your message on your digital platforms and in everyday conversations.

Research and insight to put your marketing on firm foundations

Describing what you do and the difference this makes to clients is an enormous challenge for many firms. You may have tried this many times before but never feel you’ve quite nailed it. You know that getting it right would boost confidence, help you finally get your website right and draw the right clients and talent towards you, but it’s hard to make that happen.

How do you make it happen?

Research is the key that unlocks clarity. Customer feedback brings you much closer to your audience so you can anticipate how to connect and add value. This kind of research is hard to do yourself, which is where we step in.

We work with owners and leadership teams to undertake strategic customer research projects that underpin and inform a wide range of business development activities – brand, marketing, content and engagement strategies. It all starts here.

Our process of in-depth telephone interviews, real conversations, and online surveys help you to build a rich picture of your customer’s world. It delivers a clear and powerful ‘outside in’ view of the value you deliver.

The analysis in our detailed research and recommendations reports is the key to unlocking a perennial positioning problem or communications issue. We use the research and insights to write customer-focused copy, ready to use on your website straight away.

The research always highlights opportunities for growth and development. It can form the basis of a customer-focused communication plan, kick-start a confident new marketing drive, or underline the wisdom or risks allied with a new strategic direction.

Whether you’re looking to grow, or just get better at what you do, it all starts with listening.

Research -> Insight -> Messaging -> Web copy -> Action

Value for your organisation

You get a rounded, detailed real-life view of your customers and their challenges to drive your business development strategy – helping you get clear on your brand positioning and showing you the opportunities for growth and development. The research is an excellent engagement tool in its own right – strengthening and building key relationships with clients and stakeholders.

Whether you’re using the process to set your business, brand, marketing or content direction, the ultimate value of the research and recommendations is a deeper connection with your customers and a new understanding of where you fit into their world; a whole new level of customer focus. Doing this work helps to de-risk your business development actions, basing your strategy on evidence, not assumptions.

“The work we did with VC was really good. They helped us take a step right back and think about our proposition and who we are as a business. The copy and content we worked on with them gets our story and values across. It’s helped us connect with great clients and new staff.”

Sam Menter

Founder, Mace & Menter

Want to put your marketing on firm foundations?

Talk to us about your challenge.

“Working with Sharon and Sonja was exactly what we needed. They gave us the foundations and confidence to develop our message in a way that would resonate with our key stakeholders and network.”

Nick Gardham

CEO, Community Organisers

How we help you:

A mix of telephone interviews and a wider survey with internal and external stakeholders to understand your vision and their world, to hear opinions and set your branding, marketing and engagement strategy in context.

  1. You tell us about your challenge and goals and what you’re looking to uncover from research
  2. We help map your audience and select a representative selection of customers, internal team, referrers, industry experts, other stakeholders
  3. We work with you to craft the question set and research approach
  4. We call your contacts, recording each conversation and transcribing the interviews verbatim
  5. We create an online survey to go out to a wider research group, where appropriate
  6. We analyse results and present a detailed insight report with actionable recommendations
  7. We write the copy to communicate your message, ready for your website and marketing

Listen to your customers and set your strategy up for success

What do clients and customers find valuable about what you do?

Strategic customer research is a brilliant tool for business development. Sonja and Sharon will give you an insightful, real-life picture of your customers’ world so that you can develop services and communications that resonate and add value.

Begin by looking outwards, and connecting with key target audience representatives, building empathy and gaining insight to help shape your strategy. Let’s open a dialogue with your audience to understand their world and where you fit.

How long will it take?

Approximately 12 weeks. We’ll ask for access to a cross-section of your key clients, leaders and other stakeholders for telephone interviews, and time with you for planning and feedback.

Some clients work with us on an annual basis, to undertake long-term benchmarked customer listening projects.

How much does it cost?

Our project fees typically start around c. £10-15K. Fees depend on the nature of the project and the scale of the research and analysis required.

What next?

Our strategic marketing insight programmes can feed into work on your brand message, website and content strategy, or as a standalone project to support your business evaluation or development activities. We can support your next steps through strategic coaching or ongoing training if needed.

“This research has been a very important event for our company. It has been quite fundamental. I don’t think you realise how many assumptions you make about what people think about your business.”

Amy Grenham

Head of Marketing, Desynit

Think research might help?

Tell us about your challenge and goals.

Is a Strategic Customer Research and Analysis project right for me?

✓ Yes, if you have ambitions to grow your business or strengthen your proposition in a competitive marketplace

✓ Yes, if you have a branding or website project looming and are not sure exactly what to say

✓ Yes, if your business is mired in jargon and complexity which inhibits useful conversations

✓ Yes, if want to articulate your story in a meaningful, customer-focused way

✓ Yes, if you want evidence to support a change in strategic direction

✓ Yes, if you want to know how to engage a new sector or make a change to your services

✓ Yes, if you’re working on your organisation’s vision and want to make sure it chimes with your stakeholders

✓ Yes, if understanding your customers better would help you make smarter business decisions


Hear from our customers

“We look at things differently now. Instead of coming at things from Project One’s perspective we’re really trying to trying to get inside our clients’ heads. Our tone – the way we talk and write – has changed. We think and act differently to how we did 2 years ago.”

Glynis Ward, Business Development, Project One Read Project One’s story

Tell us about your business development aims

“Sustrans has been around for 40 years and much has changed along the way. As part of our recent strategy review we wanted to understand our audience and what people think about us. We didn’t want to rely on assumptions so we hired Valuable Content to give us that objective view through a series of telephone interviews with our stakeholders and rigorous analysis. Sonja and Sharon evidently cared about active travel issues and their interest and enthusiasm shone through. This resulted in quality conversations with a really wide range of people, and extremely valuable insight. The work has helped us to better communicate our purpose – what we do and why we do it – with clarity.”

Becca Massey-Chase

Head of Strategy, Sustrans

“Working with Sharon and Sonja was exactly what we needed. At a time when we needed to really understand how we were perceived so that we could better communicate our message, Sharon and Sonja spent a significant amount of time listening deeply to a selection of key individuals who we identified from within our network.

The process that they took us through to identify who would be the best people to speak with challenged us, and made us really think. If we hadn’t have had this input I do not think that we would have received the rich content from their conversations. When I spoke to the interviewees who agreed to share their insight they were all amazed by the interviewing skills of both Sharon and Sonja that drew out genuine valuable content!

I can confidently say that the messaging that we have as an organisation was 100% informed by the amazing work that they did. Without it, we would have been genuinely lost and not knowing where to start. They gave us the foundations and confidence to develop our message in a way that would resonate with our key stakeholders and network.”

Nick Gardham

CEO, Community Organisers

“Valuable Content took care of gathering user feedback and that process was incredibly valuable. Some of our assumptions were dispelled completely, some became more entrenched and then there were new angles that came out as well.”

Dan Madden

Head of Marketing, Coull

“In 2014 Project One embarked on a journey to improve brand awareness. The Brand Identity Project was born to establish a clear, compelling and differentiating Brand Proposition and to ensure that we ‘live the brand in all we do’. Customer feedback played a vital part in the process of uncovering the new brand and developing a content strategy to connect with leaders of change across the UK. It helped us to approach the communication challenge from the customer’s perspective – outside in.

Alongside interviewing Project One’s leadership team and a selection of consultants, Valuable Content interviewed 30 clients by telephone, writing up transcripts of each call and using their skills and strategic insight to draw out patterns from analysis of the research to help guide the development of the new Project One brand and content marketing strategy. It’s been invaluable.

We now have a clearer, more confident, bolder and more distinctive expression and message. It has become the golden thread that runs through the whole brand. We have a way of describing Project One in a way we’ve never had before – one that feels comfortable and confident and also distinctive.

Asking customers for feedback has remained a key part of the Brand Identity Project – a temperature check in terms of how the Project One brand lands with customers. We conducted five client feedback interviews in 2015 and a further ten to date this year.

Gaining feedback has become a key Project One process of use in other areas of the business – e.g. developing recruitment messages. We interviewed new starters and use their feedback to develop messages that connect. It’s now part of how we do business and it works!”

Andrea Stott

Head of Business Development, Project One

“Sonja is very skilled at extracting key information from people, analysing it and reorganising it into a coherent and structured message which was exactly what I needed.”

Paul Frost

Programme Change Consultant, BBC News

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