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The Digital Maturity Index: An Analysis of the Digital Footprint of 100 UK Innovation Centres

88% of UK Science Parks not using digital marketing best practice

By Jennifer Esty  |  January 25, 2018

A Sharp Ahead report, released today, reveals that 88% of UK Science Parks are not taking full advantage of digital marketing best practice.


Headline Results

• 88% of Science Parks missing at least one basic best practice
• 92% could improve their search results page
• Only 61% have secure (https) sites
• 41% did not appear on the first page when searching for ‘lab space’ in their geographic location

About the Research

• 100 UK Science Parks analysed in January 2018
• 14 performance indicators evaluated for each park
• Methodology mimics a prospective tenant’s experience
• Results show opportunity for improvement for most organisations

People Watching Firework Display

Sharp Ahead Highlights of 2017

By John Woods  |  January 2, 2018

I’m writing this in that quiet time between Christmas and New Year. It’s a great time for reflection. It has been a busy year for us at Sharp Ahead with some significant achievements of which I’m really proud.

Here are some of my personal highlights for this year.

Digital marketing driving expansion at the Fareham Innovation Centre

The launch of the Fareham Innovation Centre was one of our first lead generation projects in the commercial property sector. Using a mix of paid media and conversion-optimised landing pages we helped the new centre build its community of local entrepreneurs and growing businesses in specialist sectors such as advanced engineering, marine technology and aerospace. As a result the building was fully subscribed within a year of opening – two years ahead of schedule.

In 2017 we learned that the spectacular success of the launch has led to a second phase of investment. Construction is now well under way to double the size of the centre, and the new space will be opening in Spring 2018.

The results of B2B marketing are often intangible, so it’s really satisfying to see the real-world impact of our work in the form of a brand-new building!

Ultra-modern lead generation for a long-established business

CLEAN Linen Services can trace its history to a single family-run laundry established in 1886. Today it is a market leader in textile and workwear laundry services, serving over 5,500 customers across the UK. CLEAN has invested in modern technology to deliver its services, including RFID tagging for inventory control and highly efficient new laundry facilities to reduce environmental impacts.

So perhaps it is not surprising that this highly innovative “traditional” business has also been willing to invest in the latest digital marketing techniques. Our work with CLEAN has seen its online lead generation accelerate by 50%.

It’s great to be part of a project that proves how even businesses in “traditional” industries can benefit enormously from modern digital marketing techniques if – like CLEAN – they have the confidence and vision to embrace new approaches.

New market segments for YPO

Another Sharp Ahead client with a somewhat “traditional” history is YPO, a procurement specialist providing over 30,000 products to schools, local authorities and other customers – mostly in the public sector.

Our work with YPO has focussed on cost-effective strategies for new client acquisition. The results have been excellent in their traditional market segments, with in excess of £1M incremental profit attributable to the campaigns. A particular highlight for me is that our work has allowed YPO to identify new market segments (such as childrens’ centres and prisons) that offer opportunities for strategic growth outside their traditional core sectors.

Other highlights in brief

Many of our projects are confidential, so some of our most exciting projects have to stay under wraps. Amongst the highlights I can’t describe in detail: this year we’ve helped a major global manufacturer enter the UK market with a new B2B ecommerce product; we’ve worked on a massively successful long-term lead generation for one of the UK’s fastest-growing professional services companies; and we’ve developed a super-efficient tactical lead generation campaign for a niche B2B consultancy company that uses some of the most precise targeting for digital marketing that I’ve ever seen.

It has been a great year where our clients’ successes have really shown the value of the work we do as an agency.

Are you thinking about how to drive increased B2B business success in 2018? If so, get in touch to explore how Sharp Ahead could help you.

Outside Lincoln Science Park

Lincoln Science and Innovation Park Appoint Sharp Ahead

By Jennifer Esty  |  September 27, 2017

Lincoln Science and Innovation Park (LSIP) have appointed flexible workspace lead generation experts, Sharp Ahead, to help further the Science Park’s strategy of building a community of technology businesses, entrepreneurs, investors and researchers both on the site and across Lincolnshire.

Sharp Ahead will focus on helping LSIP reach full capacity in the Boole Technology Centre as well as building a pipeline of tenants to ensure the ongoing success of the Park’s strategy.

LISP’s Director, Thomas Blount said, “we are excited about working with Sharp Ahead who have a proven track record in working with science and innovation parks. The Boole Technology Centre is already an integral part of the thriving Lincoln Science and Innovation Park community, and we are confident it provides potential tenants with the right mix of space, flexible terms, community and opportunity for growth.”

About LSIP

Lincoln Science and Innovation Park is a joint venture company, owned by Lincolnshire Co-op and the University of Lincoln.

The business was established in 2012 and completed its first development of the Joseph Banks Laboratory and Minster House in 2014.

The purpose of the company is to redevelopment of the former Ruston Bucyrus site off Beevor Street near Lincoln City Centre.

Lincoln Science and Innovation Park is also an economic development role and is a member of the UK Science Park Association.

About Sharp Ahead

Sharp Ahead are a specialist B2B digital marketing agency with specific expertise in lead generation for flexible commercial property spaces, particularly science and innovation parks.

Oxford Business Breakfast Information

Oxford Business Breakfast September 20

By Jennifer Esty  |  September 7, 2017

Sharp Ahead director, Dr John Woods, will be presenting What Success Looks Like in Digital Marketing on September 20 at 07:30 at the De Vere Oxford Thames Hotel.

John will present a case study demonstrating how to generate sales ready leads using digital marketing. The session will be full of practical advice to help you understand the best practices of digital marketing in order to drive growth in your own business.

What will you gain?

  • Learn why Google is your new home page, and why you MUST reflect this in your digital strategy
  • Understand why a new website won’t fix your digital problems
  • See a detailed end-to-end example of modern digital marketing done well

Where can you find out more?

For more information on the session, why not download this useful flyer?

Alternatively if you’d like to register now or need directions for travel, please visit the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce site.

Members and non-members alike are invited to intend!

What are the Oxford Business Breakfasts?

The Oxford Business Breakfasts are designed to give you insights and informed opinions on topics that can impact your business, as well as great opportunities for networking with other local organisations. These events will provide you with a closer look at ’bigger-picture’ subjects, as well as giving the SME sector regular skills and knowledge updates from a range of speakers, generously prepared to share their experience with us. The breakfasts will also be a focus for our regular local and sector campaign activity throughout 2017.

100 Events Leeds Business Week Banner

Join Us at Leeds Business Week October 10

By Jennifer Esty  | 

Leeds Business Week is a week long programme of over 100 events dedicated to the business and wider community across the city. Attracting delegates and contributors from across the Leeds City Region and beyond, Leeds Business Week promises to be a brilliant experience for everyone.

Driving Sales Growth with Digital Marketing

Sharp Ahead will show you how to improve your digital marketing and drive sales growth. You will also hear directly from YPO, the UK’s largest public sector buying organisation, about how they generated 200 new sales leads in 3 months on a limited budget.

To find out more about the event, or Leeds Business Week in general, visit the Leeds Business Week website.

Spaces are going fast, so please save your seat soon — register now!

Already registered?

Excellent, we can’t wait to meet you there.

For information on the venue, including parking and travel tips, please check out Aspire in Leeds.

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