The research brief and the research proposal - Marketing Management

Before research is commissioned and undertaken it is important to ensure that the objectives, scope, time-scale and costs of the proposed research are fully understood and agreed. This is of particular importance when the marketing research is to be undertaken by an outside market research agency. The document which accompanies this stage of the research procedure is known as the research brief. The research brief should specify the nature of the problem to be investigated, the objectives of the research, research methods, analysing the results, time and budget. Most importantly, these aspects of the research must be understood and agreed between the party commissioning the research and those who will undertake it. A good brief must:

  • clearly state the objectives of the research;
  • mean the same to both the client and the researcher;
  • not ask for irrelevant information;
  • define the population to be sampled;
  • state the accuracy required;
  • state the variables to be measured and how these relate to the problem;
  • specify analyses.

Once the research brief has been discussed and agreed, the marketing research team can then draft the research proposal. The main considerations here are to:

  • restate the problem to confirm understanding;
  • specify the research methods and reasons for choice;
  • specify the sample method/size/construction/frame;
  • specify the interviewing method/location/supervision;
  • specify the data processing methods;
  • specify the length of the survey and costs.

These responsibilities are important, because the conduct of marketing research and the decisions arising from it are the cornerstones upon which subsequent marketing policies are based. It is, therefore, important for an activity that can have an influence on the future prosperity of a company to be organized and controlled effectively.

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