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    Top tips for writing a market research brief
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Write the Perfect Market Research Brief – An Essential Guide

Why write a market research brief?

Writing and agreeing a market research brief clarifies your research needs. It also makes sure your colleagues are on-board with your ideas. In turn this helps an agency write a better research proposal and deliver more useful research. Thus helping you improve your marketing and meet your objectives. Here are some questions to consider and headings to structure your brief.

Background to research brief

First, describe the problem you wish to solve. Include any relevant context, for example, work to date, what information you have, and why you wish to conduct research now. Also how the issue or challenge fits with any other initiatives within the company.

Business objectives

Next, explain your business (or marketing) objectives such as to increase sales, 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 flesh-out your aims when working with you.

Project objectives

Then, describe the purpose of, 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 campaign?

Market research objectives and needs

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


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

Research method, scope of work, sample and guidelines

Next, guide on the nature of work required. This focuses effort on what’s really important to get more from your research investment.  Consider too if you require understanding (suited to qualitative objectives), or to measure something (more quantitative objectives), or both. Though do not feel you need to be too prescriptive to avoid limiting a creative response to your brief.

  • So what are any ‘must-dos’, ‘nice-to-dos’, ‘don’ts’ and priorities?
  • What customer groups, markets, areas or counties to include? Also which merit most attention?
  • For quantitative research, describe the nature of the sample, include the sample size, and time-length of survey. These all influence costs.
  • Also describe any stimuli or inputs. Stimuli is useful to probe and develop ideas.
  • Clarify any timing or budget constraints? It helps to be realistic on timing. Providing a budget also makes sure the scale of work proposed is affordable. In turn this helps researchers provide the best solution within your means.
  • Lastly mention any other decision-making criteria.

Style and tone

Throughout, use plain language, and explain any unusual or in-company terms or acronyms. To clarify the meaning of some specific market research terms follow the link :-).

Research deliverables

Finally, define what should the project deliver, and if possible, what will success feel like?
Do you prefer a particular reporting format (e.g. face-to-face debrief, report, short film, infographic)?

You can also download our aide-mémoire on how to write a market research brief.

Request a free consultation

For a free consultation just call us on 01628 473 699 or complete the form below and we’ll be in touch. For inspiration on what’s possible please also browse our market research services and success stories.