How important is it to plan market research? Business and Marketing consultants will always emphasize that you should do your marketing research. You might have a gut feeling or the experience to know that your new business idea is going to be a worthy venture, but it’s always best to back that with thorough research. You may even need it to secure financial backing.

Because this research is so important, and because it can be quite time-intensive, it’s important to make sure you plan your market research, so that you get the most out of it.

Overviews, Objectives and Deliverable Outcomes

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.

What will you produce by the end of the research? You could include the following deliverable outcomes: a target number of responses you expect to receive, descriptions of how you should present the data, and the extent to which you will use the data to inform future decisions.

Analysis

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).

Identifying how you will carry out your analysis before conducting the research is a simple but important step to ensure the proposed deliverables are relevant and applicable to your aims and objectives.

Audience

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? The methods you choose should reflect your objectives, timeframes and budget.

Timings

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

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

Budget

The budget will depend on many factors including the value of the data produced. Budgeting can be difficult with research projects. Sometimes, attracting enough participants to get a big enough sample may not happen initially; it may require time and resources 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. You can ask for recommendations or run polls on different topics. It can provide large amounts of both qualitative and quantitative data in a short space of time.

Can we help you?

Whether you need help to plan market research or you have an outline already, the team at Consortium are here to help. Take advantage of our industry tools and our team of experts by calling us on 01903 530787 or emailing Lara.

Editors Note: This article was originally posted in 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Market ResearchMeasurement & Analysis