Startle Mind the Gap Customer Behaviour Research | ...Gasp!


Market Research & Strategy


The Brief

In early 2020 when the Coronavirus pandemic struck, it impacted the vast majority of Startle’s customer base and market, as they are a leading partner of some of the best retail and hospitality brands around. Startle wanted to do something of genuine worth to constructively help these sectors in hugely challenging times, where market environments and consumer behaviours were changing markedly.

There was a need to execute a two-speed strategy: in the short-term to gather intel that generates rich content, whilst in the long-term cementing Startle as a research and evidence-based thought leader, whilst also providing intel on product development and R&D.

Startle is a talented tech company that provides background music and engaging in-store tech solutions to retail and hospitality businesses globally.

The Response

Proper marketing research is about choosing and combining the right blend of methodologies (such as qualitative and quantitative, and primary and secondary) to create research architecture that gives a full picture of who the customer really is, what they want and how they behave. From here, this knowledge system can feed strategy.

Our preliminary secondary research revealed that as the retail and hospitality sectors emerged out of lockdown 1, legacy experiences synonymous with the sectors had been removed, leaving pronounced, noticeable gaps in atmosphere and experience. Gaps that needed to be filled to compel people to return.

Gasp devised Mind The Gap: a completely free-to-access consumer behaviour research hub for the retail and hospitality sectors as they reopened after lockdown 1, providing crucial insight to aid businesses in navigating through troubled waters.

This primary research was conducted continuously across each month via Google Surveys, with a robust, up-to-the-minute sample that had a 95% confidence level with a margin of error of +/- 5%. It was nationally representative of the UK and split evenly across the sectors, allowing for further segmentation and comparison across sectors so trends could be identified across the months. The 5-point Likert scale was used across 9 carefully considered key questions, designed to maximise intel around the consumer’s retail and hospitality experience.

Using our expertise to draw out vital and compelling findings from the data each week, we supplemented and enriched our own research with secondary research before creating hugely valuable reports and insight to use across all Startle’s comms. Our Mind The Gap Research Hub, built into the existing website, housed the ongoing full reports, with more sector-appropriate and news-pertinent stats shared across other digital channels, including a LinkedIn social media campaign and emails sent both to those who had signed up for regular updates, and new business prospects.

The Results

The research findings and hub posts further positioned Startle, subtly, as a provider of solutions to fill the gaps identified and therefore supporting lead generation. Some of the findings provided intel to potentially drive future Research & Development, such as identifying new product options or client collaborations.

The value of the research findings was such, that at the end of the campaign two rich, in-depth reports for both the retail and hospitality sectors were published, with a promotional campaign that included sharing content via Propel, one of the hospitality industry’s most credible voices and a rich source of intelligence for identifying, measuring, and understanding the impact of the pandemic.

All of this helped to drive downloads and to strike up customer conversations and further brand awareness.

Yet perhaps best of all, Startle achieved financial growth in 2020 despite it being a very tough year, growing their EBITDA by 44%.

But this is far from the end of the research journey. Startle’s CEO, Adam Castleton, will appear on future event panels, rubbing shoulders with the likes of established behavioural economics figures, to further explore customer choice and other fascinating and vital research areas. One such virtual event has already taken place; a customer behaviour hospitality webinar hosted by Startle where speakers included eminent people from the sector and behavioural science, such as Richard Shotton.

"It was exciting to see the Startle brand come to life with so much credibility and personality. It's certainly our most grown up piece of marketing, yet." - Adam Castleton, CEO

Adam Castleton, CEO, Startle

“We came to Gasp with the task of giving our brand positioning and marketing strategy an overhaul - and bringing our team, customers and investors with it. We haven't been disappointed, we succeeded, and we're so excited to roll out the results. Gasp, thanks for being such a positive influence on what is such an important step-change for Startle”

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