Author Archives: Louise Altman

  1. What’s it like working for a market research agency in London?

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    17th March 2017

    Want to know what it is like working for a market research agency in the heart of London? Well, you’re in luck….

    We have recently asked Maariyah, a Research Analyst here at Clusters, a few questions about her role within our market research agency:


    1. How did you get into the market research industry?

    “I decided that I wanted to get into market research after completing a degree in Business Management with Marketing at the University of Westminster. Most of my degree modules consisted of market research, alongside marketing communications, and financial modules (such as accounting).

    I enjoyed the creative side of marketing, however the analytical aspect interested me more. Analysing data was a crucial part of my course and although it can be quite challenging, I thoroughly enjoyed the process of extracting data and analysing it to create reports and presentations. Therefore, it made perfect sense to pursue this as a career.”


    2. What’s it like working for a market research agency in London?

    “I think working in the city of London itself can be very stimulating as there’s a lot more exposure to the organisation, and they’re more prone to obtaining new clientele. We have the opportunity to work with start-ups as well as large established organisations.

    Clusters is a small organisation, yet they hold a very strong work ethic. It’s a tightknit family, and they never cease to offer their help. It’s definitely a hectic and challenging environment, yet very rewarding in itself. I’m always learning something new every day, whilst developing my current skillset. Furthermore, the location is also captivating as we get to see some of the London’s city skyscrapers on our daily commute.”


    3. What’s your favourite part of the job as a Research Analyst?

    “Creating segment profiles for clients is definitely an exciting part of the job. It involves analysing different consumer trends, behaviours and overall demographics and creating a summary using that data and information. Considering our clients operate in several parts of the globe, the segments vary for each location. Comparing segments from different countries brings out interesting and exciting results, which our clients can use to outcompete rivals within their field.”


    4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

    “The best advice I’ve ever been given is to never be afraid to ask for help; it’s all part of the learning curve and you can’t fully progress forward in anything if you don’t ask for support!”


    5. What do you like to do outside of the London office?

    “I’ve recently adopted a healthy lifestyle and go to the gym three days a week to remain active. I have a particular interest to football, and thoroughly enjoy attending football matches from time to time with friends and family. I also love exploring new places in London, and socialising with friends. Travelling the world is definitely in my bucket list!”


    6. And finally, if you had to pick another career (anything!) what would it be?

    “I would consider teaching! I love helping children and giving my support and advice. I’ve conducted a work placement in a secondary school and regularly help children with their learning. Seeing children progress in their education and/or career is something which gives me huge satisfaction!”


    If you’d like to learn more about working for a market research agency in London, then please feel free to contact us today!

  2. “Women over 45 are scared of trying new things” and other myths. The Apprentice shows us why it’s essential to know your customer.

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    It’s always a mistake to make assumptions about your customer instead of using evidence, as perfectly illustrated last week when Alan Sugar returned to our screens for the new series of The Apprentice.

    Week 1 saw a group of mostly young women develop a new shampoo aimed at the grey pound, based on the clearly misguided assumption that the 45+ female market are afraid of new brands and concepts. This led to a product that played it so safe it failed to appeal to anyone and was dubbed “something you’d find in a Pound Store”. But was the problem their lack of knowledge about the older female market? No, the real problem was that they didn’t see this as a barrier to creating a successful product for that market.

    Given a chance to run some market research and gain some insights into women over 45, the outcome would have been different. Instead, the group ploughed on without any understanding of their target audience, creating a product that failed to impress.

    Mistakes were not limited to the packaging nor the name, but also included the way the product was advertised to its target audience. All of which could have been avoided. Knowing your customer inside-out is essential when developing new brands, products and advertising campaigns. How can you expect them to be attracted to your offering if you don’t know what they are interested in, or what motivates them to buy products?

    There is often a huge gap between assumptions about what your customer wants, and what they actually want. Many companies have fallen into the trap of lowering their prices, convinced their customers just want the best deal. However, when sales don’t increase they discover that actually their customers are after good service and are willing to pay a bit more. Understanding your target customers’ motivations and barriers provides crucial evidence to support any brand or proposition.

    A famous example of this is Parker Pens who dramatically misread their customers when failing to realise how many people bought their products as gifts. Instead of competing against its real competitors, Parker challenged Bic with its own range of cheap ball point pens. The results were poor: not only did they not steal share from Bic, but by reducing the quality of their pens to compete on price, they lost their attraction as a gift.

    Because Parker assumed rather than using evidence on why customers bought their products, their business suffered.

    It is clear that these sort of mistakes are not restricted to The Apprentice but can be seen in everyday business. It is therefore critical that before you develop a new product, service or brand that you know, not only who to target, but also how to target them. You should know what you need to provide or say that will make your customers more likely to choose your proposition. This means that any decisions on branding, product development and market communications should all be based on evidence rather than pre-existing assumptions. At the very least, by using hard data to justify business decisions, you’ll have a water-tight defence if you ever encounter Alan Sugar in the board room.


    Want to learn more about how knowing your customer can give you the competitive edge? Drop me an email at or call 020 7842 6830.