How to Develop a Market Research Plan
Conducting market research is essential to any business. However, before you start the execution of your research, you might need to consider the ways in which you will be doing it. A market research plan is thus a document that gives others in your company (management, stakeholders, etc.) and, yourself too, a very high-level view of why you are doing the study and how you are going to execute it.
Essentially, the plan should consist of a brief introduction and methodology.
In the introduction, you will need to answer the following questions:
- What’s the purpose and the final goal of the study?
- How significant is the study? Or why do I need to conduct it?
- What are the research questions?
- Is it a qualitative or a quantitative study?
- What’s the theoretical model of the study, and what are its variables?
- What are the main definitions used in the study?
The methodology aspect of your market research plan should briefly answer the following questions:
- What’s the population?
- What should the sampling procedure look like?
- What’s the sample size?
- What instruments am I going to use for the study?
- What type of data should I collect?
Where to start?
They say, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
So, to avoid a scenario where you mess up a whole brand’s market research for a product, brand awareness, or anything else, make sure you start with the right steps.
Set your goals
It would be awesome if you could set measurable goals. In the early stage, setting goals, even simple ones, will suffice. Your goal could be reaching more audiences through raising brand awareness, reaching new markets, launching a new product or service, or anything else that you want to do to boost your brand or add revenue.
Your goals can take up pages. You can do that if your company is still used to doing this. But at the end of the day, you should be able to put those pages into a simple general statement, for example, “start selling all our products online,” or “start selling our products in 5 new states,” or “start selling some of our products to Gen Z and young Millennials.”
Why do you need to do this?
Putting your goals into a general statement will give you more focus, a sense of direction, and will allow you to be more flexible while heading forward.
The objectives for your market research plan will directly be affected by the goals you have set up earlier. For example, if your goal is to start selling some of your products to Gen Z and young Millennials, some of your potential objectives might be the following:
- To find out how those people shop online
- To learn what mobile devices they use
- To discover how they choose brands
- To identify what preferences they have
This list of objectives can be longer depending on what you want to achieve, aka what your goal is.
Brainstorm a list of questions
This is, by far, the most exciting part of developing a market research plan. Now that you know what you are looking for to find out with your research, you can come up with the right questions.
Draft your questions based on your research objectives, but remember that you might need to edit them based on the collection channel you pick for your research (we’ll get back to this a paragraph later).
Picking a collection channel
There are various collection or the so-called distribution channels for your survey. You need to put your questions in front of the right people since you want to gather valid and honest opinions fast.
That can be a challenge considering that a lot of paid survey tools simply pay people money per answer. And the respondents are professional survey takers who do that for money rather than for their own interest. So, it would be hard to call them real consumers or lookalikes to your actual consumers.
What to do then?
Make sure to do your homework when it comes to picking the right distribution channel. Try to find several solid distribution tools and include them in your research plan. You might want to use them all and see how the first round of your research goes and then filter out a few to use the best one.
At TruePublic, we allow both brands and researchers the luxury of creating or requesting custom demographics.
TruePublic users are not paid-survey-takers. They are real people with real opinions. Thus the accuracy of the findings is very high. People use the TruePublic app and website to share honest opinions, pass the time, see how others vote on topics that interest them. It’s also a great way for users to find out more about themselves and others. By gamifying TruePublic, making it fun to use, and allowing people to stay anonymous, we have made sure that our users are incentivized to provide honest opinions.
And here comes the trick about our questions. Since TruePublic is such an exciting and fun place to be, the TruePublicans are used to seeing interesting, exciting, deep questions. So, we make sure to help partner brands and researchers to come up with questions that will get the highest number of honest answers from our community.
Decide on a timeline and budget
You can have a million questions in your mind and a few great distribution tools at hand. However, it’s important to prioritize your questions and decide on a timeline and a budget for your research.
Many distribution tools charge per answer count. So, keep this in mind when setting the budget. And some tools take longer to gather answers for you rather than others. With TruePublic, for example, you can choose to collect responses either within hours or within days.
Review your market research data
This is the last step on a market research plan that needs to be thought over quite early too. How are you going to analyze the data? Set up meaningful deadlines for yourself and your team and also consider that you might want to conduct additional research to start acting upon the data you gathered.
Feel free to request a demo, and someone from our team will be in touch for a brief introductory call. We love nothing more than showing how TruePublic works and how it can help your brand collect valuable data.