The Consumer Insights Ltd team, from left to right: Postgraduate student Philip Mecredy, director Professor Malcolm Wright, PhD candidate Roman Konopka, office manager Karen Hurley, and general manager Pam Feetham.

New firm offers regional research with academic rigour

One of New Zealand’s leading marketing academics is behind the latest spin-off company to be created at Massey University.

Professor Malcolm Wright, deputy head of the Massey Business School, along with lecturer Pam Feetham, is the driving force behind a new regionally-focused marketing research company called Consumer Insights Ltd.

The duo, who previously undertook consultancy work as their academic schedules allowed, have now partnered with Massey’s commercialisation arm Massey Ventures Ltd to offer their services to a wider audience.

The firm will focus on delivering the research needs of businesses in the central North Island, particularly in the Manawatū, Taranaki and Whanganui regions. Its unique business model will see academic experts team up with postgraduate students to provide market research and consulting services in a cost-effective way.

“Consumer Insights Ltd takes great pride in providing an incubator environment for Massey’s postgraduate business students,” says Ms Feetham who is the general manager.

“These students will produce valuable insights for businesses under the close guidance and support of experts, while gaining real work experience in market research.”

Mark Cleaver, director of commercialisation and business development at Massey Ventures Ltd, says the new company fulfills two objectives for the university.

“It provides the vehicle not only to commercialise Massey’s intellectual property in this space, but also exposes students to industry-focused projects, equipping them to launch their own careers,” he says.

Consumer Insights Ltd offers a range of services including brand tracking, sales forecasting, product concept testing, price setting, focus groups, surveys and market analysis and segment evaluation. The firm also helps businesses to implement their research findings and make strategic marketing decisions.

Ms Feetham says that while Consumer Insights Ltd is more than happy to take on large projects for national brands, it also aims to fill a gap in the market by servicing smaller regional companies.

“We saw there was a need for a company like ours that was willing to take on clients in the regions,” she says. “Location and cost rules out the big city-based research firms for many local companies.

“Massey University is a big part of this region – we understand the needs of local businesses and care about our community. The university also has a vast number of experts in many different areas, including agriculture, that are particularly relevant to businesses in this part of the country.”

Vision Manawatū regional business manager Mark Hargreaves agrees.

“We often engage with businesses that would have benefited from undertaking research or have struggled to identify local capability to support their business needs,” he says. “We see this as a great resource for local companies to capitalise on the strength of Massey University."

Consumer Insights Ltd will be officially launched at a function at the Bio Commerce Centre on November 6 from 5-7pm.

Consumer Insights Ltd website: www.consumerinsights.co.nz

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