Whenever you talk to a business or marketing consultant they will always emphasize the importance of market research. You might have a gut feeling or the experience to know that your new business idea is going to be a worthy business stream, but without the relevant research, you are unlikely to get any financial backing. Even if you are not seeking outside approval, good sound research should form the backbone of any new venture.

In this blog post, we give you a brief introduction into planning a research project

Market Research Planning

Overview & Objectives

Whether you are writing a market research plan for internal use or whether you intend to employ an outside consultant you should always start with exactly why you need the research. Set out the objectives you wish the research to support. Include the back story, a little bit about your company’s background, and how these objectives fit into your overall business strategy.

Deliverable outcomes

The deliverable outcomes can be a list of what you hope to be produced at the end of the project. It could include a target number of responses you expect to receive, descriptions of how the data should be presented, and the extent to which the data will be used to inform future decisions.


Another important aspect of market research is identifying exactly how you will present the deliverables to support your business idea.

For example, it is one thing to identify how many people within your target audience would be likely to purchase a project or service, but you also need to work out how this can be presented as an endorsement of your business plan (i.e. it shows that you were justified in choosing that particular target audience).

This may seem like a simple step, but it is important to identify how you will carry out your analysis, before the research has been carried out, to ensure the proposed deliverables are relevant and applicable to your aims and objectives.


This should describe the target audience i.e. the population that you wish to research. You can use a number of criteria, including demographics, lifestyles, psychographics life stage, etc. Within this, you should create your sample plan. This indicates the breakdown and number of participants.

It is important to be specific when identifying the demographics of an audience since a vague target could result in data that is too general.

Research Methods

What research methods do you intend to be used for the project. Which qualitative and quantitative methods are to be employed. How is the data going to be captured, Face to face interviews, online or telephone interviews?


Set the timescales for the project. A Gantt chart is particularly useful and can give you a snapshot of when all the various actions will need to take place.

It may also help to keep a diary or calendar of when deadlines are due and there are a number of free resources, such as Google Calendars and Trello, which enable you to set reminders and notifications in advance.


The budget will depend on many factors including the value of the data produced. Budgeting can be difficult with research projects. Sometimes you may not initially attract enough participants to get a big enough sample, time and resources may be required to source additional data sources.

There are a number of great free resources that can be used for market research on a budget, including SurveyMonkey which can send free surveys to people via email or link, and Mailchimp which can send a variety of email communications to up to 2,000 contacts for free.

Social media is also an invaluable tool for market research, especially for people with a lot of contacts, through asking for recommendations or running polls on different topics, and can provide large amounts of both qualitative and quantitative data in a short space of time.

Can we help you?

If you would like help with any market research projects you would like carried out, please call us on 01903 530787 or email Lara.

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Market ResearchMeasurement & Analysis