Our team are passionate about intelligence that drives change. Our collective expertise in higher education and the student market is combined with an in-depth knowledge of quantitative and qualitative market research techniques.

Nick Carley

Nick Carley, Managing Director

I've been running my own businesses since my early thirties. Beginning with education and training, I moved on to enterprises in the IT, public relations and market research sectors, before establishing our current research-driven consultancy, Alterline. I love nothing more than talking clients through what makes their business tick, analysing what’s going on, thinking about what will work best for them and their customers, using evidence to influence these discussions, and coming up with a plan – to deliver quick wins and longer-term strategic outcomes.

Outside of work: When I’m not with clients and colleagues, I’m drinking coffee, dreaming of the next business idea, enjoying London’s endlessly changing streets, and putting the world to rights with my wife.

Ben Hickman

Ben Hickman, Founding Director

I love a challenge and thrive on helping people to solve their big, strategic problems. I've always worked in research agencies and believe in the power of creative market research. I spend a lot of my time getting to know our clients, their organisations and their aspirations. Working with our team I help senior managers to understand their customers' lives, attitudes and experiences, translating that understanding into ideas, strategies and actions that can make a difference.

Outside of work: I'm kept on my toes by three young children and enjoy sharing in everything the world has to offer them, from ball pools to sailing, or finger paints to mountain climbs.

Sharon Steele

Sharon Steele, Marketing & Client Communities Director

I'm an experienced marketing and communications professional with over 20 years’ experience, including commissioning and delivering market research projects in the public and private sector as well as writing and delivering branding, marketing and communications strategies

Outside of work I enjoy live music, theatre, going to the cinema (all film categories) and travelling (both within the UK and overseas).

Laura Dennis

Laura Dennis, Director of Research & Research Operations

Throughout my time as a researcher I have developed an interest for all things statistical, and enjoy using a variety of methods such as correlational analysis, significance testing and audience segmentation. An example of this would be the work we did with Sheffield Hallam Student’s Union, segmenting their student population. This helped the Union to understand the needs and personalities of different groups of students in order to develop a new strategic plan. My first role in research was based around using consumer insight communities to assist in research. This, together with my background in psychology, completing the advanced certificate in market and social research practice and my experience at Alterline has given me a high capability when managing and executing research projects. As Director of Research & Research Operations at Alterline part of my role includes supporting other members of the research team to progress and develop in their career paths. In this I hope to promote a passion for research amongst the growing team.

Outside of work: I enjoy staying active by taking long walks with my chocolate Labrador and getting my friends to taste my home made chocolates.

Zara Lawson

Zara Lawson, Director of Research and Research Development

I enjoy nothing more than getting to the bottom of what people think, why they behave as they do and how this translates into memorable customer journeys and experiences. In a project with Benenden, a healthcare mutual, we have used the evidence from their quarterly tracker to understand pinch points in members’ journeys and explore this in a deeper and systematic way through supporting qualitative work. I've honed my abilities by working with the team and recently completing my Research Masters. I love working with everyone at Alterline and getting stuck in with the new and exciting things that come along here.

Outside of work: I enjoy losing myself in a good puzzle, collecting random facts and world cinema.

Sarah Goodyear

Sarah Goodyear, Senior Research Executive

I studied psychology and marketing at university, which sparked my interest in research and analysis. I also have a background in providing market research and desk research for marketing, business development and PR teams. I joined Alterline as a research executive to make a positive difference and enjoy supporting a range of projects, including our Student Life Pulse service. My role involves talking to students, contributing to research projects and supporting with report writing.

Outside of work I love to bake cakes and travel but am most likely to be found binge watching the latest shows.