Marketing Research Brief ; 15 Top Tips for Writing a Brief

Market research briefing guidelines to help you commission better research

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 brief

First, describe the problem you wish to solve. Include any relevant context, for example, what has already been done, what information you have, why you wish to conduct research now, and 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.

Project objectives

Then, describe the purpose of, or expected outcomes from conducting this piece of work. 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. It helps to list the questions you require answering. Be clear whether you require understanding (more qualitative objectives), or to measure something (more quantitative objectives), or both.


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, provide guidance on the nature of work required. This helps focus effort on what’s really important and get more for your research investment.  Though do not be too prescriptive so as not to limit a creative response to your brief.

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)?

Throughout, use plain language, and explain any unusual or in-company terms or acronyms.

Request an inspiring research proposal

To discuss your needs or request a proposal to meet your marketing research brief call Guy Tomlinson on +44 (0) 1628 473 699 or email

You can also download our aide memoire to writing a marketing research brief here.

Exit mobile version