Why write a market research brief?
Writing a market research brief clarifies your research needs and makes sure your colleagues are on-board with your ideas. In turn this clarifies your needs. It also helps an agency write a better research proposal, conduct more useful research and better achieve your desired business outcomes! So here are some questions to consider and headings to structure your brief.
Background to market research brief
First, describe the problem you wish to solve i.e. what makes this brief necessary? Include any relevant context, for example, work to date, what information you have. Also why you wish to conduct research now, and how the issue or challenge fits with any initiatives within your organisation.
Next explain your business objectives. For example, to increase sales or attract lapsed customers. Be as specific as you can.
Then describe the purpose of research, or expected research outcomes. Specifically, what decisions you wish to make? Perhaps to create or improve a product or create a new ad campaign?
Market research objectives
Market research objectives should follow from business and project objectives. So summarise your research aims and information needs. It helps to list the questions you require answering. Be clear whether you seek understanding (more qualitative objectives), or wish to measure something (more quantitative objectives). Or perhaps both?
Now consider who needs to sign-off and act on the research outcomes. This helps an agency anticipate your needs and also helps them to help you get everyone on-board with your plan.
Research methods, scope of work, sample and guidelines
Next explain what you require. This is to focus effort of what’s really important and thus get more for your research investment. Though there is no need to be too prescriptive to avoid stifling a creative response to your brief.
- So what are any dos, don’ts or priorities?
- What customer groups, markets, areas or countries to include? Also which merit most attention?
- For quantitative research, include the sample size, and length of survey. This is because these are key cost determinants.
- Also describe any stimuli or inputs. We often use creative stimuli in research and find it useful to probe and also develop ideas.
- What are any specific timing and budget constraints? It helps to be realistic on timing. Providing a budget also helps researchers provide the best affordable solution.
- Lastly mention any other decision-making criteria.
Finally, define what the project should deliver, and if possible, what success will feel like.
Also if you prefer a specific reporting format say what and why? For example, a face-to-face debrief, report, short film, or an infographic?
Always use plain language so your needs are clear. And also explain any unusual or in-company terms or acronymns.
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