We are delighted to announce that we have won an MRS Operations Award in the 'Best Data Collection - Interviewer Administered' category for our business support research with Essex County Council. The winners in each category were revealed on September 23rd 2021 in a virtual awards ceremony. Mackman Research was the only East Anglian agency in the 'Best Data Collection - Interviewer Administered' category, and the only Suffolk agency in the entire pool of finalists. Our entry saw off stiff competition from fellow finalists Epinion and Kantar Public.
The judges commented:
“In this challenging business support strategy study for Essex County Council, Mackman Research clearly demonstrated their wholehearted commitment to interviewer-centric research. They went the extra mile to ensure actionable data at a granular level, adopting a creative, multi-faceted approach to developing contact lists, to maximise the coverage of survey responses. Empathetic moderation of the telephone interviews was of paramount importance as many businesses were in crisis due to the impact of the pandemic, and Mackman’s interviewers demonstrated great sensitivity in their gathering of rich, contextual data. Going well beyond the remit of the original brief in terms of both the breadth and quality of data-collection and reporting, the immense value Mackman Research brought to this research is reflected in the glowing client testimonials. A worthy winner!”
The project with Essex County Council began in September 2020, when we won a tender to conduct a time sensitive and important business support survey during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research needed to provide Essex County Council with insight into how they could support Essex businesses to weather the impact of COVID-19, and to promote growth despite adversity. Our mixed-method approach included telephone interviews and the opportunity to self-complete online, with the acknowledgment that our survey methods needed to be open to as many Essex businesses as possible. Ahead of the data collection period, we spoke to Economic Development Officers at multiple district councils in addition to business support agencies across Essex to gain an insight into the current state of businesses in the region. We also obtained personal contacts to ensure that we could speak to business owners from large companies (250+ employees) who were more difficult to reach.
Our data collection period spanned across an entire month, where our highly trained researchers made every effort to contact respondents and understand the status of their business, as well as recording their views on current business support options and the impact of the EU exit on their company. Calls took place throughout the day and into the evening to accommodate business owners with variable availability, and our researchers exercised compassion and sensitivity when listening to respondents' circumstances, which often contained highly personal stories of financial hardship and the pandemic. We were determined to speak to as many people as possible to maximise the positive impact of Essex County Council's support measures on the Essex business community.
The results of the survey demonstrated the degree to which our researchers went above and beyond the brief. We exceeded the target of 500 responses by 67.5%, and due to the highly individual needs of businesses in each district, we distributed bespoke findings reports to all 12: Basildon, Braintree, Epping Forest, Harlow, Maldon, Rochford, Tendring, Uttlesford, and the boroughs of Brentwood, Castle Point, Chelmsford, and Colchester. The findings of the research project went on to inform Essex County Council's strategy to support local businesses, create and support jobs, enable the development of new skills, and establish a dialogue with people, as well as those in each district.
Read the case study on our award-winning project here. If you are interested in learning more about the project or are exploring the possibility of market research for your organisation, get in touch at [email protected].
Dr Gemma Mackman
Dr Gemma Mackman is co-founder and Research Director of the Mackman Group. Her professional career has given her a broad knowledge of business practices, an appreciation of good customer service and experience of a diverse range of sectors. Gemma is also a member of the Market Research Society and has completed research training provided by the Economic and Social Research Council.More About Gemma
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