Knowledge is Profit

With 21st century data gathering systems and hundreds of thousands of willing participants, Ayton Global Research franchise owners can provide clients in specific sectors with invaluable data in order to aid their success

Since its creation in 1995, online consumer and market research company Ayton Global Research (AGR) has seen phenomenal growth. With the recent launch of AGR franchises on an international basis, growth continues apace.

AGR provides data which enables clients to ensure that they have the right look and feel to their stores, carry the right stock with the right labels and point their new product development in the right direction. This saves an enormous amount of wasted resources and assists clients with their profitability. Many clients also have well-established internet-based retail sites presenting yet another real opportunity to service them in areas such as market research, website appraisal and promotion.

AGR's own bespoke ACORN software - Ayton Consumer Online Research Network - enables franchise owners to easily set up panels and trials to meet a client's data requirements. This state-of-the-art tool, developed extensively over 14 years with a significant investment to become the market leader in online research, coupled with AGR's own online training programme, is supplied as part of the extensive franchise package to AGR franchise owners so that they can focus on marketing and promotion rather than invest in hours and hours of staff training.

AGR CEO Sue Ayton (pictured top right) firmly believes the future growth of her business is via the franchising route and has already had a terrific response to her initial marketing of the AGR franchise concept. 'Italy looks likely to be the first country to benefit from an AGR international franchise, with a deal to be signed imminently,' she reveals. 'It presents the right opportunities for a franchise owner, as it benefits from a diverse manufacturing base and a growing number of internet users. These factors should ensure success in the right franchise owners' hands, coupled with the opportunity to service AGR's existing UK-based clients and retailers as they expand into foreign markets.'

Deals are also about to be signed in Bosnia, Slovenia and Croatia, where Sue's partner is well established in data-based information and management and sees a natural synergy between the two business models.

From humble beginnings focusing simply on cosmetics and toiletries, the business has now grown to a stage where it is able to research virtually any product, service or concept on an international basis with over 250,000 extensively profiled volunteers only an internet click away. For example, a recent recruitment drive in Switzerland produced over 1,000 new volunteers in just 48 hours - a phenomenon that is repeating itself globally.

'Clients with the benefit of cost-effective research as part of their offer will tend, I believe, to succeed,' says Fran O'Connor (pictured bottom right), an AGR'franchise owner who specialised in the Food &'Drink sector. 'I'm looking forward to being part of the success story behind my new clients and I am especially pleased to be servicing one of the UK's leading high street food stores already!'

Reported by Martyn Grogan


AGR is ideally positioned to undertake research for products in the pharmaceutical sector because of its unique profiling mechanism. The AGR system provides any franchise owner with a first class tool for profiling its 250,000 volunteers. At a click, the software can create panels of volunteers to include their most up-to-date information, on a real-time basis.

'If one of our volunteers develops a cold or a sprained ankle, we can invite them to take part in trials to assist them with their own particular complaint,' explains Sue. 'Our clients often find it difficult to recruit volunteers for products designed for transient conditions such as bouts of eczema, poor skin conditions, toothache or sunburn. AGR is ideally positioned to assist clients who develop, manufacture or retail such items and has previously assisted with the development of blemish lotions, cold remedies and various aches and pains remedies.'

When conducting trials on non-prescriptive medicines and remedies, AGR volunteers can actually use the trial products while they have an ailment and in the comfort of their own home. 'This really enhances the value of our results,' explains Sue. 'If we were to assess the strength of fragrance of a vapour rub, it would have a completely different result according to whether somebody has a cold or not since their sense of smell is affected. By recruiting them while they have a cold, we can make a more accurate assessment regarding the likely perceptions of end-users.'

While empirical research can never provide the same critical evidence as clinical research, AGR believes that the feedback provided by its volunteers will really make a difference to the value of a product when it arrives on the market. In order for a pharmaceutical product to work it must meet with very specific performance criteria. But alongside this requirement it must also be acceptable to the user. Very often a non-prescriptive remedy may work perfectly well, but may be unpalatable to the user. By combining the results of clinical data with consumer-trial data manufacturers are in the best position to make a winning product line.

This can only be achieved by consulting large pockets of individuals while they are suffering. While other research companies may find this an arduous task, the AGR system ensures that it is handled with speed and efficiency and only involves those volunteers who perceive that they need the product in question, at the right point in time. No waiting, no huge expense. An AGR franchise owner can provide clients with an ideal solution to everyday research issues in a lightning-speed fashion.

With an ever increasing variety of non-prescriptive over-the-counter products and the recent popularity of natural remedies an AGR franchise owner with a relevant background can make a huge difference to the way in which consumer trials are handled for products of this nature and ultimately sales. The feedback provided by volunteers will contribute enormously to the success of popular remedies. Not only can a franchise owner provide the service needed to handle consumer trials, but has the added value of being able to assess product design, labelling, dispensing, storage and handling of non-prescriptive pharmaceutical goods.