A Knowledge Transfer Partnership between market research agency MESH and Cranfield School of Management enabled the company to establish a lead in the ‘research tracker’ market – expanding the business five-fold during the first three years of the KTP.


  • MESH grew five-fold during the first three years of the KTP.
  • At the start of the KTP, the company’s sales revenue was £460,000, but increased to £2.3 million by its conclusion.
  • Over the first three years of the KTP, the workforce grew from five employees to 35.
  • Three analytics products were developed (Experience Maximiser, Campaign Optimiser, and Behavioural Segmentation). A total of 19 Campaign Optimisers and 13 Experience Maximiser copies had been sold by the end of the KTP - generating £32,000 in direct revenue and around £192,000 in bundled revenue.
  • New clients for RET (real-time experience tracking) included Sky (UK’s largest advertiser), Diageo, More Than, PepsiCo and Unilever.
  • MESH expanded into the US and Latin America and won new business from companies such as LG Electronics and Delta Air Lines Inc. The company opened a US office in 2012.
  • In 2012, MESH was listed in the top 30 UK market research agencies.

About the research

MESH Planning Tools Ltd developed 'real-time experience tracking' (RET) through an innovative method of analysing the multiple ways that brands touch people’s lives - from TV advertising, to in-store, to word-of-mouth conversations.

The RET method involves asking a panel of consumers to send a text message by mobile phone whenever they come into contact with one of a set of different brands of products (eg laptops or soft drinks) for a period of a week. The returned data makes it possible to gauge what influence brand encounters, for example brand and retailers’ advertising, have on people’s thoughts and feelings about products - and their likelihood of making purchasing decisions.

This method provides invaluable data for companies, but MESH lacked the analytical know-how to capitalise on it, and needed support in convincing corporate clients to switch from traditional research providers to a completely new way of gathering data.

The KTP research, led by Associate Professor Dr Emma Macdonald and Professor Hugh Wilson at the Cranfield School of Management, piloted the analytics and prepared case studies of many of MESH’s corporate clients. These were summarised in a leading article published in the prestigious Harvard Business Review. The credibility of the article and circulation among senior executives led to significant numbers of enquiries and orders for the marketing services - stimulating the company’s growth. The work has also been published in prestigious academic journals such as Journal of Retailing.