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. In turn it helps you improve your marketing and achieve your desired business outcomes! Here are some questions to consider and headings to structure your brief.
Background to brief
First, describe the problem you wish to solve i.e. what makes this brief necessary. 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.
Next, explain your business (or marketing) objectives such as to increase sales, attract lapsed customers. Be as specific as you can.
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
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 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. Clarifying the audience helps an agency anticipate your needs, and in turn helps you 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.
- So what are any ‘must-dos’, ‘nice-to-dos’, don’ts or priorities?
- What customer groups, markets, areas or counties to include? Also which merit most attention?
- For quantitative research, include the sample size, and length of survey. These are key cost determinants.
- 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.
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
For a totally tailored and inspiring response to your marketing research brief call Guy Tomlinson on +44 (0) 1628 473 699 or email [email protected].
You can also download our handy guide to writing a marketing research brief here.