Cambridge University Press

Cambridge University Press built a 2000-person insight community using Recollective to drive innovation and strengthen consumer relationships.

Cambridge University Press has a reputation for supporting innovation in learning and teaching around the globe. In 2017, they chose Recollective to launch a pilot community that would consolidate their research needs into one central location with the hope to strengthen their relationship with consumers.

With Recollective’s continuous platform innovation and support, by 2019 Cambridge University Press are not only successfully running the community in-house, but the results are incredible. The project has flourished in size and value – growing from 400-2,000 members and enabling Cambridge University Press to understand and meet their changing customer needs better than ever imagined.


Cambridge University Press is part of the University of Cambridge, and consists of three divisions; Academic, ELT and Education. The Education division of the Press is focussed on developing learning solutions for teachers and students around the world, and the Customer Insights team are responsible for supporting publishing, marketing and colleagues from across the business to ensure the customer voice is at the heart of their decision making. Their key customers include teachers, school leaders and other academics across a range of levels, departments, schools and countries.

As a pioneer in the field, Cambridge University Press prides themselves on supporting innovation in learning and teaching. To achieve that, it’s imperative they stay at the forefront of innovation themselves and keep up with their diverse consumers’ evolving needs. Cambridge University Press historically had no effective way to connect with them directly to ensure they were able to optimize their publications and offerings.


Historically, Cambridge University Press applied a wide range of research tools and methods to engage with their consumers. With so many different perspectives to explore, as a consequence their research efforts became siloed which led to a poor connection with their audience and fragmented data.

The University Press needed a more holistic way to conduct research that would develop an ongoing dialog and help foster personal relationships with their consumers all while housing the data in one central location. Given that the Press prides themselves on being a customer-centric organization, it was also important to gather insight in the most innovative and participant-friendly way possible. They desired a research plan that could be managed in-house, without agency support, but they didn’t know where to start or what options were available to meet their needs.


After learning about Cambridge University Press’ goals, a third-party research agency suggested that they consider using Recollective as part of a community based-approach. The team at University Press had not considered a community prior to this encounter but was curious about how one could help centralize their research efforts and improve the dialog with their consumers. After reviewing a number of community platforms, they became increasingly excited about how Recollective would allow them to centralize their research efforts and launched a trial community of 400 teachers from a handful of subjects.

By partnering with Recollective, Cambridge University Press was able to:

  • Consolidate all of their research needs, consumer groups and data into one location
  • Provide a separate space within the community for each subject - be it English, Maths or Science - whilst also allowing for integration of groups when needed
  • Become more consumer centric by keeping in touch more regularly to stay up to date on the needs of their diverse consumer landscape
  • Conduct research more efficiently at a faster pace
  • Leverage a mix of qualitative and quantitative elements to expand the types of research they conducted including surveys, workshops and open discussions
  • Filter, segment, profile and target individuals to provide customized experiences
  • Expand their reach and gain insight into new markets by including groups of consumers who previously did not have a research space
  • Optimize the development of resources and materials used in classrooms around the globe


Running an on-going community through Recollective proved to be the best solution because it met all of the requirements in terms of innovation, environment and support. Now running for more than 2 years, it has expanded the number of participants from 400 to 2,000 members. The insights team in their Education division has led the roll out of Recollective across the Press, with the platform now being used in all three divisions, as well as the wider Cambridge group.

Adopting an on-going community as the foundation for their research, in combination with Recollective’s intuitive user interface, made the ideal environment to foster collaboration and encourage the growth of relationships. That enabled Cambridge University Press to ultimately gain more meaningful insights on how to better meet their customers’ needs.

Outside of the technology itself, Recollective was able to provide the training and guidance Cambridge University Press needed to successfully run the research themselves without the help of an outside research agency.

The impact on our processes, culture and our customers has been immense. We have used the Recollective platform to power The Cambridge Panel - our online research community of teachers from around the world - for over two years, and in that relatively short period they have become an invaluable partner.

From planes, trains and automobiles, our colleagues now have an ‘always-on’ conversation with our customers; to ask the key questions, to listen to what’s important, and to draw the insights that have a major influence on our decision making – all from the convenience of their desk. The Recollective team have supported us to achieve more and more with our community, breaking new ground together and delivering innovative solutions that meet our needs. The Cambridge Panel has given our teachers a voice. Recollective have helped us put the customer first.

Rob Hardy

Head of Customer Insight, Cambridge University Press

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Cambridge University Press

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