How to Write a Marketing Research Plan

Written by jodi bier
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How to Write a Marketing Research Plan
Write a marketing research plan to improve your business. (marketing image by dead_account from Fotolia.com)

A market research plan is part of a business plan that describes how you'll research your target audience as a means to advertise to them more efficiently. The market research tells you how customers view (or will view) your product or service, and how you can improve it. Before beginning your plan, you should know exactly who your target audience is.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Word or Notepad program
  • Printer
  • Internet for research

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Define your research question. This is like writing a thesis for an essay. It clearly establishes exactly what you hope to learn or the problem you wish to solve.

  2. 2

    Create the market research proposal. This is the fleshed out version of your research question. It explains the purpose of your question, its breadth, how long it will take to complete the research and the environment in which it will be conducted.

  3. 3

    Devise the research study. This section plans the details of how you'll carry out your research and what sources you'll use. For example, will you create market surveys, case studies, experiments, or focus groups to collect your data? Those are primary sources of data if you conduct the information on your own. It's also helpful to use secondary data in your market research such as government websites that offer statistics and other relevant information.

  4. 4

    Plan your research budget and resources. It's important to be realistic about what it will cost to implement your plan and where you'll find resources. For example, if you plan to do a market survey through the mail, what will the printing and mailing costs be? If you need people for case studies or experiments, will you pay them? If so, how much?

  5. 5

    Do a test run. Before you mail out thousands of surveys or execute 100 experiments, perform a test run to make sure your tools are appropriate. For example, if you plan to use a survey, hand it out to just 10 people and ask them if the questions are clear. Make any needed changes before doing the survey on a full scale. Once you've completed the test run, your market research can commence.

  6. 6

    Analyse and interpret the results. Carefully review your research results and look for patterns, similarities and consistencies. Were the results what you expected or were you surprised? Why?

  7. 7

    Draw conclusions. This section is important because it tells you how to proceed with your marketing plan. Draw appropriate conclusions based on your research results, then decide what next steps to take.

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