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    Top tips for writing a market research brief
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Guide to Writing an Effective Market Research Brief

Why write a market research brief?

Writing and agreeing a market research brief firstly clarifies your research needs. It also makes sure your colleagues agree with your ideas. In turn this helps an agency write a better research proposal and produce more useful research. Thus helping you meet your research and marketing objectives and boost your business. So to get you started, here are some headings to structure your brief, key questions to answer, and points to consider:

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, and why you wish to conduct research now? Also explain how the issue or challenge fits with any other initiatives in your organisation.

Business objectives

Next, explain your business (or marketing) objectives such as to increase sales or attract lapsed customers. Be as specific as you can. Though don’t worry if you are unable to dot the i’s and cross the t’s as we’ll help you flesh-out your aims if needed.

Project objectives

Then, describe the purpose, or expected outcomes from conducting this piece of work. What is your ultimate business aim? Specifically, what decisions do you wish to make? Perhaps to revitalise your brand, or create a product or new ad campaign?

Market research objectives

Market research objectives will follow from business and project objectives. So summarise your research aims and information needs, and note any pressing questions to answer.


Now consider who needs to sign-off and act on the research outcomes. Do these people have specific views or needs? For example, to present to or manage others? Understanding this helps design a process to get everyone on-board with your plan.

Research methods, scope of work, sample and guidelines

Next, explain the nature of work required. This helps focus effort on the /must dos and nice-to-dos to get the get the most from your research investment. Specify too if you require understanding (which requires more qualitative methods), or wish to measure something (which requires more quantitative methods). Or perhaps both? Though don’t feel you need to be too prescriptive in order to avoid stifling a creative response to your brief.

Style and tone

Throughout use plain language and if you used any in-company or unusual terms or acronyms, please explain what they mean. This helps makes sure what you write is clearly understood. If you want to check out the meaning of any specific market research terms follow this link to the Market Research Society’s glossary of terms :-).

Research outcomes

Finally, consider what success will feel like and define what the project should deliver?
Also guide on whether you prefer any specific reporting formats? For example, a face-to-face debrief, report, short film, or an infographic? If so, say what and why?

Next steps

For a free consultation to discuss your research challenge, just call us on 01628 473699 or alternatively use the form below.

For inspiration on ‘the art of the possible’ we also suggest reading the pros and cons of digital vs. traditional research methods as well as some of our market research success stories.

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