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5 tips to consider when commissioning market research

How do you go about articulating to your research agency exactly what it is you need?

Some people are experienced in commissioning research, but some aren’t, resulting in the output not being as informative as it could be.

So what is the best way to go about creating a research brief to pass over to your chosen agency?

To gain the answers that will help your business, a well written research brief will convey exactly what you are trying to achieve and ensure that your research agency will formulate the best programme of activity for you within your budget.

Our top 5 tips aim to help anyone that needs research to form a well thought through market research brief so that they get exactly what it is they need first time.

1. What are your key business objectives?

You should have clear business objectives. Depending on your business model your objectives could be to impact social behaviour, optimise your services, grow sales or increase cross selling. It is vital that this is made explicit when writing a research brief, as the agency will gain a better understanding to how this project will link to the ‘bigger picture’ of your organisation.

2. What are the objectives of this particular piece of work?

What are you trying to find out? It may sound obvious, but this sometimes isn’t conveyed well! “We need a customer survey to measure satisfaction” isn’t enough. What are you trying to pin point? Do you suspect that there are areas where there are issues? Don’t be worried about informing your research agency of areas of concern whether these are merely just anecdotal or if it’s been something highlighted in research in the past.

3. How much in-depth information do you require?

This could be the difference between the types of research methodologies chosen by your research agency to deliver your project. For example, if you are trying to understand the emotive reasons why your customers would choose to purchase one product over another, an in-depth discussion would be more appropriate to gain better insight into this. If you are wanting to understand how customers rate how quickly your organisation responds to a complaint a survey which uses a rating scale would be adopted.

4. What are you planning to do with the research once it is delivered?

It may sound like a silly question in the beginning – as you don’t know what the results are! But always keep in mind what you intend to do with the output once it’s delivered. Research should add value to your business. Where it identifies opportunities or areas of weaknesses, then an action plan can be put in place to tackle these – resulting in a positive impact on the business. Don’t intend for your research reports to sit on a shelf and gather dust – document in your brief what you will be doing with them so that the agency can help carry this through for you!

5. What exactly is your budget and timeframe?

Don’t be afraid to stipulate your budget. A trusted research agency will not spend the full amount if it’s not necessary! Also if your budget is tight, a good research agency will have a range of other methodologies that they could tap into that could actually save you money, such as on-line panels/on-line communities.

Providing your agency with a timeframe is also important so that it allows them to plan the project effectively so all parties involved know what they need to do and at what point, to prevent any unnecessary project slippage resulting in missed deadlines.

For more information on the services that Explain Market Research offer contact kim@explainresearch.co.uk