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Get help to understand your customers

Our postgraduate marketing students can bring your business new data-driven ideas and customer insights

Would your business like some free advice to help you understand your customers better and improve your marketing?

Our postgraduate Digital Marketing and International Marketing students need real businesses to work with to help them learn. By taking part in this project your business can benefit from their knowledge and experience to get data-driven suggestions to improve your marketing – at no cost to your business.

Our students can help your business to:

  • better understand what your customers think of your product or service
  • better understand what your customers think of your competitors
  • learn more about your customers, which allows you to create more targeted marketing

How a consumer research project works

You can take part in the project as a business of any size, in the private or public sector. 

  • You'll submit a consumer research brief to the University, which we'll review
  • One of our tutors will work with you to agree the research brief, to ensure it can be achieved with the time, resources and capabilities of the students available and make sure the project outputs are valuable for your business 
  • Small student groups with 4-5 students from across our MA Digital Marketing and MA International Marketing degrees will be assigned to your project
  • The students will work with you to design a consumer research plan (proposal) for your approval, before conducting project research and providing a tailored debrief presentation and report at the end of the project
  • Student teams are supported by a tutor who has extensive global experience working with clients across many business sectors

Our tutors assign students to briefs. We may need to decline some briefs. If there are too many requests, our tutors will choose based on the suitability for the students to be able to add most value to the business.

How much work is involved

We recommend that you spend around one hour a week helping your student team. This is an average, so time commitment may vary throughout the project.

You'll need to:

  • introduce your student team to the staff members they'll work with
  • provide the students with any additional resources and contacts they need
  • make time to respond to queries from the team
  • meet with them (in-person or online) once a fortnight for an update on the project and to agree next steps
  • attend the team's end-of-project presentation to give feedback on their final recommendations

You are not required to formally mark students' final presentation, but your feedback as a client will be gladly accepted. You can invite any other interested parties to this presentation.

For many students, this is the first time they will have taken on a consulting project so any help and advice from you in running the project is welcome. You'll have a key role in inspiring the team through sharing your own experiences as well as any suggestions on how the team can improve.

It's important to remember that students are expecting to learn and work as consultants, not as an extra resource to carry out day-to-day work. You should allow your student team to use their creativity to explore new avenues, including those that challenge the assumptions of the organisation and client.

Previous project clients

Companies we've worked with previously on consumer research projects include:

  • Montezuma's Chocolate
  • The Tomato Stall
  • X-Zony
  • IBM
  • Other World Escapes
  • Bold Bean Co
  • Island City Living
  • Fresh Relevance
  • The Sports Barista

Project Timeline

Each academic year we run two rounds of the Consumer Research Project, one starting in late September and the second starting in February.

Round 1

  • Deadline for client applications: 8 September 2023
  • Projects assigned: Late September 2023
  • Students work on the project: October 2023 - January 2024
  • Feedback and presentations: January 2024

Round 2

  • Deadline for client applications: 19 January 2024
  • Projects assigned: Late January 2024
  • Students work on the project: February - May 2024
  • Feedback and presentations: May 2024

Send us your project idea

If you have a consumer insights research project that you think our students could help you with please get in touch by emailing studentprojects@port.ac.uk.

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