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Education Market Research

Education markets have changed significantly over the past decade, resulting in a highly competitive global industry. To be successful in such conditions, providers are increasingly turning to market research to ensure they are in tune with market forces and highly responsive to the needs of learners, now and in the future.


Our education market research experience

Education markets are complex. They comprise many different players – all of whom we have experience in working with – such as:

  • public and private sector providers
  • publishers
  • policy makers
  • regulators
  • learners

Furthermore, education markets can change very quickly, often driven by the political agenda of the day. New flexible blended learning techniques have also changed the way education is delivered so that geographical boundaries are no longer prohibitive to many markets. Against this background, many organisations are seeking an experienced market research company to help them be responsive to learners, proactive in defining their future offerings, and to stay ahead of the competition.

The research we carry out in education markets ranges from primary education to lifelong learning. It is generally commissioned by awarding bodies, government agencies, private sector education providers, universities and colleges, or suppliers of education materials and resources.

We carry out regular and ad-hoc projects utilising both qualitative and quantitative designs. Typical research areas include:

  • Market opportunities research
  • Concept and product development studies
  • Student experience research including current and future needs
  • Satisfaction and loyalty tracking at the student and organisation level
  • Policy knowledge and awareness
  • Marketing communications testing
  • Pricing and launch research

Clients who have benefited from our research

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Our experience in the education sector

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Clients we've worked for

  • AQA
  • Berlitz
  • Cambridge ESOL
  • Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)
  • City & Guilds
  • City University London
  • Drake Lane Associates
  • ELS (a division of Berlitz)
  • ICS Ltd
  • Kaplan
  • Manchester Business School
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Manchester University
  • Middlesex University
  • OCR
  • QCA
  • RM Education
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • Tribal
  • Tufts University
  • University of Bradford
  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Plymouth
  • University of Salford
  • University of Sunderland
  • University of Wales, Aberystwyth
  • Westec
  • York College

Who we research

The global education market in recent years has been characterised by numerous developments (i.e. the combination of rising fees, higher student expectations, a greater number of providers in the market and more flexible delivery options). We, therefore, have vast experience of speaking, through the course of our research studies, to a wide range of decision makers and influencers such as:

  • Academic staff e.g. teachers and lecturers, heads of departments, SMTs
  • Governors and significant thought-leaders
  • Exam administrative staff
  • HR and staff development and training professionals
  • Commercial staff e.g. marketing and advertising professionals
  • Current and potential students

We have a team of specialist researchers with a background in education who are always assigned to projects in this sector. They bring understanding of the complexities of the market, its terminology, and the challenges faced by research commissioners as well as the audiences with whom we speak.

Case study: Responding to policy changes

Business challenge

Following significant changes to statutory qualifications, our client needed to better understand how schools and colleges were going to respond to these changes, and what they would be looking for in terms of products, resources and support from awarding bodies up to and beyond implementation of the revisions.

What we did

Over a period of three years, we tracked awareness and knowledge of the detail of the impending policy changes and actions being taken by schools to meet them. We also tested reactions to marketing communications about the changes over this period. The research design, therefore, involved speaking to a range of academic professionals at a strategic and delivery level.

The insight helped our client to successfully work with schools and colleges to prepare for the changes, developing and delivering support services and timely communications, as well as courses, which would make the transition easier.

Case study: Engaging with business

Business challenge

Our client, a leading British university, wanted to better understand how it could engage with business and promote long-term relationships and knowledge sharing. Despite already having established significant relationships with some large corporations through its leading academics, the client did not have a clear idea of what the university had to offer to the business community, or what the business community might need from a relationship with the university.

What we did

We started the research project by facilitating an internal workshop with key academics and knowledge-transfer staff representing all faculties to explore capabilities and interest. From this, we were able to identify areas of expertise within the university that could have commercial potential to work with business.

We then consulted with the market, speaking to businesses large and small, regional, national and international, in appropriate sectors, to establish the level of interest and likely uptake.

As a result of our research, our client was able to develop its offering to businesses in line with market needs and its internal capabilities. Our client was also able to formulate a suitable strategy for communicating this through clear messaging, using appropriate business language and channels to reach the market.

Our industry expertise