Business Genetics

Quite simply, your business worth more.

Welcome to Business Genetics, New Zealand's first research-based strategic marketing service focusing on the professional services category.

Unique to the market, our primary aim is to provide advice and strategic marketing services to drive growth and profitability. Our concentration within professional services allows us to work closely with practitioners and directors to maximise their business, marketing and brand strategies.

Business Genetics employs marketing strategy in a sequential process based on:

  • Differentiating your brand
  • Building awareness of your brand differentiation
  • Creating first brand preference
  • Leading to increased market share
  • Leading to a lift in profitability
  • benefits

    Growth and profitability.

    We understand that many professional service businesses grapple with how to market their operation. In fact, few SMEs in professional services have any marketing capability within their day-to-day business. This is primarily for two reasons: payroll cost and a perception of ambiguity around marketing’s contribution to business growth and profitability. And yet, marketing is the central strategy in professional services that distinguishes high growth firms from slow or no-growth firms. This is new information. Its source is the 2013 market research conducted by independent researcher Vantage Point across architecture, accounting, engineering and law firms in New Zealand. The research report reveals high growth companies have six strategies for success. Five of these are marketing disciplines.

    Business Genetics is a direct solution to help with growth strategy. With our experience and actionable approach, we can help strengthen your competitive strategy and build the future revenue of your business.

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  • Business Model

    We take an end-to-end approach when building a strategic brand and marketing programme for our clients.

Ian McDougall


Business Genetics was founded by Ian McDougall, a seasoned marketing and advertising professional and former Marketing Director for the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.

The Institute is market leader in its category and Ian's achievements included development of the first marketing strategy based on research into how better to meet the needs of members. It lifted member satisfaction scores to record highs and included the first effective campaign to promote the value of the CA designation to the NZ business community. Preceding NZICA, Ian worked with global advertising firms BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi in local and international markets. His experience included leading strategy development and implementation for British Airways, Campbell's Soup, Lion Nathan, Guess? Yamaha, Lloyds Bank, Vodafone, Lotto, Hewlett-Packard and Procter and Gamble.

Ian then gravitated to research-based business strategy development in New Zealand and Australia specialising in the professional services category including law, accounting, medical and economics companies. This experience led to the first ever cross-service analysis on the flaws and opportunities prevalent in professional services today.

  • Testimonials

    Rich Alderton | Founder, High Performance Change UK

    Through his research-based approach, Ian quickly identified the value proposition and key messages for our product. These have already proven to be highly valuable in explaining what is a novel approach within the field of corporate organisational change. And as the material is all based on actual client feedback gathered by Ian, it exudes authenticity and relevance. Ian is highly personable and fun to work with. Also it is a joy to work with someone who cares about your business as much as you do.

    Jean-Pierre de Raad | Chief Executive, New Zealand Institute of Economic Research

    Ian specialises in research-based business and brand strategy. His particular expertise is in the professional services category including my own - economics. Ian listens well to understand the client and the client's market; he asks the right questions to get to the bottom of the real business issues; and provides defensible, researched insights to make a business better. His client style is collaborative and professional.

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    Tim Myers | Chief Executive Officer, CB Norwood Distributors Ltd

    In early 2017 Norwood embarked on an initiative designed to assist in the creation of a new Company Strategic Plan, a plan tasked with repositioning the business to meet emerging challenges and to capitalise on presumed opportunities. We needed reassurance that what we ‘thought’ was accurate actually was. We needed a higher level of confidence that our significant shift in thinking would actually resonate with our customer base.

    We approached Ian at Business Genetics following a recommendation from a highly-respected and trusted advisor. Ian’s approach, which leverages in-depth and highly focused research, appealed to our requirements and we immediately embarked on what was the start of a six month journey of discovery into Norwood’s strengths and weaknesses. Importantly it was the most relevant stakeholder - our customers - that provided the guidance.

    Ian’s analysis of the research offered the vital connection between theory and practical application in the market. Ian offered clear and concise guidance as to how Norwood could best leverage the opportunities to deliver a competitive advantage and, in doing so, he introduced a new level of clarity to internal and external decision making.

    Business Genetics has delivered an important layer of formative and highly relevant guidance to Norwood. The advice, supported by robust analytical research, is now a trusted source of business support and the input to our strategic direction has been enormously valuable. Ian has a unique and highly effective engagement style. The interviews he conducted with our customers and target market representatives yielded an immensely valuable and trustworthy set of rich data.

    We look forward to a long and energising relationship with Ian and the team.

    Sarah Gibson | Chief Executive Officer, Redvespa Consultants Limited

    Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and we wanted to hear directly from them how they feel about us. We engaged Ian from Business Genetics to conduct qualitative research for us. The findings and recommendations from Ian’s research conversations were comprehensive, insightful, and easy to understand and communicate with our wider team. The findings have fed into our strategy and are a platform for enhanced execution.

    What we didn't expect was the amazing feedback from our customers about how much they enjoyed their conversation with Ian. Ian listened to and engaged with them in his professional, friendly and collaborative way. Our clients are now even more engaged with Redvespa and eager to be involved in the continued growth of our business. We couldn't be happier with Ian's work and highly recommend him.

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    Michael Dunne | Executive Director, Colmar Brunton

    I've worked with Ian for several years and he is totally committed to a research base for all marketing strategies and decisions. He uses research in a very pragmatic way to build simple yet effective strategies which have strong commercial benefits. In terms of his sector expertise, I think it's second-to-none. I'm not aware of anyone else who knows more about professional services than Ian.

    Terry Stewart | Director, OneBeat Limited

    Business Genetics has provided us with remarkable value, insights and clarity, helping us clearly define our business strategy and communicate this in a more compelling way. It was an enjoyable and worthwhile exercise and exceeded our highest expectations.

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    Rachelle Hardie Neil | Former NZICA Northern Region Manager

    Ian is a leading marketer who listens carefully to what's required, acts on it and gets it done. He builds trust with those who he works with and is very effective with issue management. Ian's relationship skills are beyond excellent and he has the unique ability to bring everyone with him to get projects across the line. I worked with Ian in a professional services organisation where developing key messages was a complicated process and I was truly amazed at how well he was able to develop the right marketing strategies amongst competing stakeholder interests. Ian can present strategies that demonstrate value to all stakeholders and in return he gets their enthusiastic support. Ian adds value to his clients and over-delivers on results 100% of the time.

    Dave Blackwell | Chief Executive Officer

    I had the pleasure of working with Ian recently in a market validation exercise as we were seeking to understand commercial appetite for some long range product ideas. Ian was instrumental in working with my team to bring high level concepts into a tangible storyboard to work with, and without any depth in the technology or the industry, was able to take this to a global audience, apply first principles of conversation to have a discussion around value benefits of the product and how these aligned with their business requirements. Ian was able to provide us with deep, rich and actionable data in a very short time frame, which was hugely beneficial to the process and to our business.

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    Ian Harvey | CEO and Founder, CQ Collective Intelligence

    In 2016 we had the good fortune to stumble across Ian McDougall from Business Genetics when we heard him present at a conference. Our first response was what a wealth of experience and wisdom this guy has. The second was, but we won’t be able to afford him. Our estimation was correct on the first response and wrong on the second. Ian has delivered incredible value to our company and members through his process and council. We will continue working with Ian for as long as he puts up with us, as there is so much to glean from his insights. CQ NZ Ltd would recommend Business Genetics to any company that is wanting to increase its market share or clarify is message to customers.

    Graham & Sheryl Lilly | Owners, Scovan Healthcare

    We employed Ian to assist us to improve our business. In consultation with us, Ian identified and developed our goals and a strategy to achieve those goals. He had a genuine interest in not only our business but in us as well. His professionalism and business acumen gave us confidence, in him and in ourselves to continue to grow our business. Thank you Ian, your time and effort were much appreciated.

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    Barry Armstrong | Chartered Accountant and Company Director

    Ian is the leading specialist in professional services marketing. There are no major categories he hasn't worked in, and he has probably the best research knowledge and experience behind him of anyone in the business. A consummate professional, Ian builds and delivers on work relationships that focus on effective commercial outcomes.

    Deborah Still | Interior Designer

    I want to thank Ian McDougall so much for his time and effort with his research for my interior design business. Ian came to my hometown and interviewed five of my key clients and presented me with a report that identifies my brand and where my business sits in the local marketplace. I found the information Ian reported to be useful in highlighting my difference and strengths from other design companies, as well as giving me suggestions on taking my business to the next level with marketing and branding. I would highly recommend engaging Ian to give you a greater insight into the workings of your business, as well as enabling you to understand your own unique differentiation.

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