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Marketing Research


The Marketing Research Group incorporates the former research group Centre for Research in Entrepreneurship and Marketing (CREAM), and encompasses research and scholarly activities covering a spectrum of marketing-based inquiry, practice, policy formation and consulting activity.  

These activities include marketing at its interface with entrepreneurship (MEI), consumer behaviour, digital marketing and transformation, marketing at the design-thinking interface, marketing and its impact on economic development, innovative methodologies for market research and marketing strategy.

Group members are active in PhD recruitment and supervision within a number of marketing-related areas which contribute to research streams and provide valuable contributions to knowledge and practice.

Members of the group are active in academic research, but this is also contextualised with the practical application of this research within a commercial environment, and takes into consideration professional body requirements from a practitioner perspective. 

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Members of the group can be found consulting to organisations large and small and acting as Non-Executive Directors for a number of organisations. Such external activities are used to inform and develop teaching, learning and research activities, including course and module design to give students real-life exposure and contextualisation of theory.

Research to inform policy and professional practice

The research interests of the group fall into the following broad areas where marketing interfaces with each construct:

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Economic Development
  • Strategy
  • Creativity

Research projects

The BizX project is an initiative that curates a mixture of ‘practitioner’ focused materials available as a free resource to our regional business community during and post C19.  The content is housed in our 'Exchange' area - part of the Commercial Services Office and is promoted both by the University and the South Wales Chamber of Commerce and professional bodies. 

The content available is a mix of re-purposed content from within (so content that we use as part of our academic activity but cut down to align with an SME audience), new content specifically produced for the crisis (recovery) and also external content that works with what we have and is of obvious interest to the SME community (through and with our external partners and Visiting Fellows). The current demand is for content around digital transformation and marketing creativity/strategy.

 All content offered is 'bite sized' (15 mins max watch or read) in line with a TedX format, and will be developed to include workshops and seminars for SMEs dependant upon requested content.


A multi-faceted project that combines out-reach activity, learning and teaching, applied research and academic research. The cycling industry is worth £5.4 billion to the UK economy and is one of few growth industries in the context of the Covid-19 outbreak (Source BAGB, 2018). The same dataset showed the industry to be in some form responsible for 64,000 jobs (however it is expected that these figures have grown by around 15%). 

In Wales the Mountain Biking sector alone is thought to contribute upwards of £30M to the rural economy. The cycling sector continues to grow in Wales however the cycling ecosystem is not yet fully understood nor particularly well catered for in terms of economic support and business development opportunities. Using a similar approach that was used for the (then) little understood ‘gastro pub’ sector ecosystem (Deacon and Harris, 1997) whereby we are seeking insight into the connections between businesses, tourism (hospitality), manufacturing, events and policymakers in order to facilitate less network friction and a more robust basis for business decision making within the sector.


Working with partners we are:

  • Establishing a Cycling Business Network (South Wales Chamber of Commerce, Marriot Hotels, IAC engineering).

  • Developing Cycling ‘customer’ insight research (British/Welsh Cycling).

  • Establishing a Cycling Business awards event (Wales) (Business News Wales).

Design Thinking (DT) is a process for creative problem-solving which uses group thinking and a human-centred approach to understanding problems. It helps us to uncover new ways of approaching complex challenges which deliver business value propositions. The DT concept has its routes in the creative sector and in recent years it has been used successfully in a business context. 

There are a large number of DT tools available for business applications including : brief setting, ideation and prototyping, alongside social science techniques used to gain insight into consumers and behaviour: empathy mapping, persona development, tribal constructs and storytelling (capture). 

These approaches interface with business concepts like: value propositions, innovation strategy and business modelling (BMC) and share an interface that is human centred, iterative and reflective. Such approaches are clearly seen within some of the most successful businesses and organisations across a wide scope of sectors – however the interface is proving difficult for businesses to navigate especially SME’s. This project aims to facilitate teaching and learning, research and consultancy at the interface between DT, Marketing and Business Development.


  • Teaching and Learning (DT embedded within MSc Marketing and MBA Global modules).

  • Research activity (REF published papers, World Marketing Summit 2020).

  • Consultancy, 2020 (NatWest Group, Therefore Corp, Compound Semiconductor Catapult).

This project encapsulates activity across the marketing research group and contributes to research in many diverse areas of marketing.   The annual Telling the Story of Business symposium is a group initiative, is held in January each year, and allows contributors world-wide a platform for sharing their storytelling research with academics and practitioners alike. 

Business storytelling is used within teaching and learning as an alternative approach, to illustrate the rich, thick data that this methodology can expose, and students are encouraged to engage with the method to produce assignments ranging from dissertations to PhD theses which contribute to marketing-related theory, methodology and good professional practice.  

External associates are also involved in this project which reaches out to professional partners, fosters cross-faculty collaboration and network development. The marketing research group is gaining recognition as trailblazing storytelling as a business-research methodology.  Several members of the group belong to the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling


  • Diverse publications, PhD theses and research streams, theoretical development, teaching and learning development, working with businesses to demonstrate how storytelling can be used in strategic/brand development. Symposium has significant impact upon practitioner-based research.  

  • Teaching and learning  using storytelling as a methodological approach.  The concept is embedded within Trends in Marketing and Strategic Marketing post-graduate modules and doctoral supervision.

  • Research: publications, book chapters, also text-book development. 

  • Practitioner contribution: using storytelling as a form of brand development with (particularly online) audiences and consumer stories, stories used to influence consumer behaviour, stories as a market research method to gain deep insight.  Work with BT, CIM, and USW Business Clinic clients is ongoing and informs practice.

Academics within the Marketing Research Group are part of the ASTUTE 2020 (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) along with colleagues in SCOPE, Cardiff University, Swansea University, University of Wales Trinity St Davids, and Aberystwyth University. 

ASTUTE 2020 aims to strengthen and support industry in Wales by developing and embedding advanced and sustainable Industry 4.0 technologies into manufacturing companies. 

The project aims to stimulate transformational and sustainable growth by facilitating and de-risking the development and adoption of advanced technologies, increasing competitiveness and future proofing.   


Members of the Marketing Research Group collaborate with manufacturing firms within East Wales on industry-led projects in manufacturing systems engineering, with a particular emphasis on ideation, market identification, user experiences and commercialisation of new product development. Since the ASTUTE 2020 programme began in 2010 it has created: 

  • 383 products, processes or services launched 
  • 42 products, processes, or services registered 
  • 10 enterprises created in West Wales and the Valleys 
  • 174 jobs created in West Wales & the Valleys 
  • Over 250 SMEs benefited from ASTUTE’s assistance 
  • Investment induced of £9,256,336 
  • Total funding applications submitted as a result of ASTUTE interventions of £49,882,644 
  • Potential of savings over 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per year in the UK alone. 

SMEs in Wales and the UK are the fundamental lifeblood to the economy and the socio-economic sustainability with local, regional and national communities.

We work with small and medium sized enterprises within Wales, to help them gain an understanding of the opportunities and barriers to digital transformation within a small organisational context. Members of the Marketing Research Group assist small firms in the of management and training strategies to enable SMEs to facilitate transformation through reciprocated communities of practice and reciprocated customer engagement. 

Academics in the group have worked within a variety of industry and market contexts from leisure and tourism; food and drink production; and marketing/advertising practitioner development of SME needs.


  • Teaching and Learning (SME / entrepreneurial marketing embedded within MSc Marketing and MBA Global modules).
  • Research activity (Research work presented at the Academy of Marketing, The Global Research Symposium for Marketing and Entrepreneurship and the Effectuation Conference ESCP Europe.
  • Consultancy, 2020 (Welsh Cycling, Freshwater, Therefore Corp, Welsh Water).

Recent macro and micro environmental impacts on the socio-economic health of the Welsh economy have exposed the need for a different approach to marketing. No longer are consumers and businesses looking to consume or make profit at any cost. Both consumer and business approaches to value is, and has changed. 

Sustainability, purpose, nearness and localism, health and wellbeing of staff and consumers, as well as diversity and inclusivity have been placed higher in priority over profit at any cost. During Covid-19 there has been a realisation that the economy, communities and support networks are fragile due to the over reliances on globalised supply chains. 

Members of the group are actively researching in the fields of New capitalism; reinvention, renewal, revolution and resilience – agile organisations.

Headline outputs of the research suggests that, generational attitudes and the expectations of changing workforces and investors has meant that the new employee and new employer seek advocacy in relation to wellbeing, environmental issues and work/life balance. 


  • Teaching and Learning (SME / entrepreneurial marketing embedded within MSc Marketing and MBA Global modules).
  • Research activity (conference and research paper presentation/publication).

Contact us

If you would like to know more about our research, commission or collaborate with us, please contact Dr Elizabeth Lloyd-Parkes. We welcome UK and international applications from suitably qualified graduates interested in joining us for postgraduate research

Key partners

European marketing Confederation

Welsh Cycling Logo

GB Entrepreneur Awards

Astute Logo - Business Research


Academic Staff

Sofia Christidi, Business School, Marketing Research

Sofia Christidi's research is in interpretive consumer research, specifically in consumer identity and symbolic consumption.

Her most recent research project explored family dynamics in food consumption by looking at how adult sons and daughters negotiate excessive food provision offered by their mothers. Sofia tends to research consumer occasions where friction and tension are abundant and my latest and ongoing research project explores the experiences of consumers that have experienced deep financial crises.

Professor Jonathan Deacon

Jonathan Deacon is Professor of Marketing (Innovation and Engagement) and leads research with a focus on Marketing Strategy in small and large firms. Jonathan’s career prior to academia was within business – he launched and grew a number of successful businesses and has a working knowledge of high growth businesses and new venture starts. Jonathan is an acknowledged global ‘thought leader’ at the interface between Marketing, Design Thinking and Management. He has boardroom experience having held roles as NED, Trustee, Director and Chairman.

Current research areas: 

  • Astute 2020 – approaches to advanced manufacturing marketing
  • The Marketing / Design Thinking Interface – marketing strategy for 21st century
  • Creative Leadership post C19 – the use of Design Thinking tools in strategic design
  • Welsh Cycling – marketing strategy and participant engagement

External partnerships: 

  • Evaluator and Rapporteur for EU research projects (marketing and SME focus)
  • Welsh Cycling (Research Project) 
  • City of Newport Business Club (Chairman) 
  • Chartered Institute of Marketing 
  • Communications, Advertising and Marketing Trust (Trustee) 
  • Direct Marketing Association (invited judge) 
  • European Marketing Confederation (Vice Chair) 
  • Astute 2020 (co-investigator) 
  • Great British Entrepreneurs Awards (judge and advisor) 
  • Royal Anniversary Trust's Readers Panel for the Queen's Anniversary Awards (senior reader) 
  • CSA Catapult (Associate) 

Henry Enos

Henry Enos is a marketing communications specialist with particular expertise in consumer behaviour.

His research interests include personal advertising and personal branding; the body as a product; marketing of creative industries and internal marketing.

His current research projects examines the role of internal marketing within service organisations; and the application of consumer behaviour in a diverse range of marketing contexts.

Jackie Harris

Dr Jackie Harris spent 20 years in industry, in areas spanning advertising/marketing, engineering, manufacturing, international education software development and work-based learning before joining the University of South Wales where she is course leader for the Strategic Digital Marketing Masters.

Current research areas:

  • Digital transformation at speed - pivoting a small business during Covid-19
  • Impression management in social media and the impacts and changes during Covid-19
  • Lost in translation - perceptions and depictions of 'maleness' in digital marketing
  • Reciprocated value creation in times of crises
  • Gender, diversity, inclusivity, and mental/physical health benefits within recreational cycling communities (with Welsh Cycling)

Dr Elizabeth Lloyd-Parkes

Dr Elizabeth Lloyd-Parkes is a marketer and a communicator. Multilingual, she began her career in the Diplomatic Service and went on to develop a career in marketing within the Welsh Development Agency, BP Chemicals, Sony and the IT industry.  Her doctoral research relates to the expression of the child consumer’s self-concept through the consumption of brands.  

Current research relates to marketing of self through body-modification, consumer reactions to the marketing of thanatourism, cultural identity and the marketing of self and spiritual consumerism.  

Lizzie is interested in autoethnography and the valuable contribution that personal storytelling can make to business and management practice, and supervises and examines PhDs within the marketing field and those with a highly interpretivist methodology.  

Mike Parsons

Mike Parsons' research interests include political PR/ marketing and the use of social media. He is a frequent television and newspaper commentator on the use of social media by politicians and is currently researching the barriers to social media use by UK politicians and the impact of globalisation on political activist groups. 

He has written a number of Academy of Marketing conference papers examining the impact of social media on political candidates. His PhD explores the concepts of influence and power in relation to civic and political participation in the UK. 

Research interests: 

  • political marketing 
  • consumer behaviour
  • social media and branding

He is the course leader for the Public Relations Masters.

Dr Lauren Josie Thomas, Senior Lecturer in Marketing

 Dr Lauren Josie Thomas comes from a marketing background. She’s worked in a number of industries including medical sales, publishing, charity and education, where her focus has typically been on digital marketing, but has also included fundraising and sales. Lauren believes that consumers should be at the heart of every organisation and this is reflected in her work. 

Lauren’s research explores how technology influences two key areas in society; pedagogy (the science of teaching), and the sharing economy (the continuing changes we see in how organisations and citizens control access to, and discussion about, goods and services). You can read Lauren’s research in journals such as Computers in Human Behaviour and the Journal of Strategic Marketing.  

Mary Hedderman

Mary Hedderman spent thirteen years in marketing practice prior to becoming a lecturer in 2002. Her extensive industry experience includes over a decade within marketing at IPC Media, culminating in her appointment as Group Head of Marketing for Fashion and Beauty including magazine titles such as Options, Woman’s Journal and Marie Claire. Mary has also worked as a Marketing Consultant and as Director of Marketing for one of the fastest growing SMEs in Wales, ISa Training.

Research interests:

  • Gender stereotyping in advertising
  • Marketing communications and moral panic

Dr Simon Thomas, Tourism Research

Dr Simon Thomas is a senior lecturer and course leader for the DBA. His research centres around the two areas of Pilgrimage Touristic Studies and Memorials as Pilgrimage Shrines.  Dr Thomas' most recent publication considered the reactions to the marketing of thanatourism published in the qualitative report with Dr Elizabeth Lloyd-Parkes, Professor Jonathan Deacon and Dr Alec Grant.

Dr Thomas has recently published two important articles relating to pilgrimage and memorial studies

  • Article one explores the ‘potential for pilgrimage-touristic growth in Wales’ published by Palgrave Macmillan in the textbook Heritage and Tourism in Britain and Ireland: Nation, Conservation, Identity.
  • Article two considers the ‘post-postmodern act of pilgrimage at Lourdes in France’ published in the ABS four star Tourism Management Journal.

Recent consultancy projects include a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) supervision at the Cardiff Story Museum rated as excellent by the KTP board, a Colegau Cymru skills analysis project in the retail, tourism and hospitality sector, and two Strategic Insight Projects in the tourism sector.  

Dr Thomas is an experienced journal reviewer and external examiner who has significant experience in quality and franchise arrangements. Dr Thomas has examined, chaired and supervised Doctoral candidates in a variety of business related subjects. 

Prior to his career in academia Dr Thomas worked in Visitor Services Support for Cadw, the Welsh Government body responsible for the historic environment in Wales.

Doctoral students

Alexander Boswell, PhD student, Marketing

Alexander Bowsell is working towards a PhD entitled: The Consumer Behaviour of LGBTQ+ Individuals During ‘Pride Month’: A Thematic Analysis. His research interests include consumer behaviour, narrative enquiry and queer theory.

Morna Manson, PhD student, Business School

Morna Manson is a PhD student with more than 20 years’ experience in customer-managed relationships, sales, marketing and business development. She is currently running her own business and her research interests are in deviant consumer behaviour, deviant consumer tribes and how SMEs are particularly impacted by these.  

Her PhD thesis title is: Customer Tribalism and How Deviant Customer Behaviour Can Impact SMEs. 

Hamad Hazeem has considerable expertise in relationship management. He worked in an investment company in Bahrain for more than 13 years before pursuing an academic career in the business school of the University of Bahrain. He completed his Masters degree at USW before progressing on to a PhD. His thesis title is: How to utilise CRM systems to win back HNWI trust and confidence in the banking industry in Bahrain.

TIna Thomas, PhD student in Marketing

Tina Thomas is a doctoral student and lecturer at the University of South Wales. Her current research stems from her coaching experience with junior athletes and focuses on exploring parental influence on a child’s sports consumer behaviour from a social identity perspective.  Tina completed both her undergraduate degree and Masters in Marketing at USW. Her research interests include the child consumer; sports consumer behaviour; autoethnography as a research methodology; storytelling for business; social identity; sports marketing and strategic revenue management.  

Visiting fellows

Gary Gillespie, Visiting Fellow, Business School

Visiting Fellow Gary Gillespie has been involved in the telecommunications industry for over 35 years in multiple roles and has been part of the technology revolution from within. 

His current role in customer relationship and business development is very much a sales focussed role but brings with it an insight and understanding of what drives consumers, how consumers have changed and how organisations have had to change to service and look after their customer base especially in today’s uncertain times. 

Gary’s areas of interest and skills include

  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Sales skills and training
  • Sales management
  • Organisational change
  • Business and relationship management 

Luan Wise, visiting fellow, Business School

Visiting Fellow Luan Wise has 20 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing across agency, client-side and consultancy roles.

She is a chartered marketer, fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (FCIM) and call herself a T-shaped marketer – with broad marketing experience and a specialism in the use of social media for business.

Alongside her consultancy business, Luan offers practical training for in-house marketing, sales and leadership teams. She's also a LinkedIn Learning course instructor, lead trainer for Facebook and Instagram, and author of the award-winning book, Relax! It's Only Social Media. 

You can find Luan on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

Dr James Whitehead, Visiting Prof - Business School

Dr James Whitehead MEd, MSc, PhD, FRSA is a senior lecturer in Strategic Management at Cardiff Metropolitan University and an Associate Consultant at PSA Training and Development, where he worked as senior lead consultant before taking up his current post. Prior to that he was an officer in the British Army, specialising in leadership and management, strategic studies and influence operations.  

His Doctoral thesis examined change leadership in the contested cultural environment of Northern Ireland, while his current research focuses on social networks and their contribution to understanding social capital and network leadership in organisational and community settings.