Many residents are completely unaware of the market research undertaken by government and local authorities to improve community projects and services. Local authorities often commission the help of market research companies to help them identify the needs of a community group and help build on existing services available to residents. Market Research can be carried out in many ways, from exploring the role of school governors to aiding regeneration of run-down areas.
Market research can have a direct impact on health authorities, education authorities and City Councils. To create more of a deeper understanding into these government related research projects, we are going to give an insight into a real market research programme, which took place in the Midlands to assist a council run social housing group.
A Midlands Council set up a non-profit management organisation to manage, maintain and improve its council houses and estates. They asked a market research company to conduct specific research into possible business opportunities, and to identify areas where they could develop business to existing customers and the general public.
The research project had many objectives, including to examine traditional conceptions of social housing and to observe the provision for a wider range of services to be offered to existing customers, and home owners or tenants with a private landlord. Over a six month period, a variety of research tasks were conducted to investigate the public perception of the organisation. A selection of interviews and focus groups were held, with different types of current tenants and local private landlords to gauge whether any partnerships would be possible.
The outcome of the conducted research was presented in a detailed report, indicating a list of possible services the Council organisation could introduce, along with several local housing providers who took an interest in working with the organisation on some level. Subsequent to the findings of the research being published, the organisation went on to present proposals for the development of its services to the Council.
This is just one of many examples where a market research project, working in conjunction with a local authority, had a positive social impact on the community. From identifying better ways to integrate education, to improving the waste collection service, market research is the vital tool that helps local councils and authorities keep track of their services, and subsequently improve them to make your area a better place to live.