Marketing Research Plan Outline

					This document sets forth a comprehensive outline for a marketing research plan
designed to supply customers with information. It contains information regarding the
purpose and description of the plan as well as a timeline of key deliverables, a budget,
and a sample detailed execution plan. This document also includes governmental
resources for performing market research. This document should be used as a
checklist to be sure that the company or product manager includes all the relevant
information when conducting market research.
Marketing Research Plan
        Outline

Key Components of Building a Marketing Research Plan

                    (Insert Year)
Table of Contents
Introduction ....................................................................................................................................................2
Purpose ...........................................................................................................................................................2
Description of Plan ..........................................................................................................................................2
   1. The method or methods by which you plan to conduct the research. Methods for market
   research include the following: ..................................................................................................................2
   b.      Statistical research to obtain demographical information, which includes: ......................................3
   c. Analysis of how current customers view the product or service (if it is already being offered in
   other markets), by: .....................................................................................................................................3
   d. Informational research on the competition will include the following, and will sometimes require
   “mystery shopping” to obtain the information required. ..........................................................................3
   2.      How you intend to analyze the data you collect. ...............................................................................3
   3.      How much it will cost to implement the plan. ....................................................................................3
   b. You will also need to let the client know what will be included in the cost, in other words, what
   they can expect for their money. These considerations include: ..............................................................4
   a. You will need to offer a timeline to your client for when they can expect each phase of the project
   to be completed, and when they will hear from you with feedback and follow-up on the research. Such
   a timeline should touch on each of the following steps in the process: ....................................................4
Timeline of Key Meetings and Deliverables ....................................................................................................4
Budget .............................................................................................................................................................5
Marketing Research Budget............................................................................................................................6
Detailed Execution Plan ..................................................................................................................................7
Appendix: Governmental Resources for Market Research ...........................................................................8




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Introduction
Your client has come to you with either a new product or service that they wish to sell, or an established
product or service that they wish to push out into a new market. They have asked you to come up with a
plan for researching the proposed market in order to determine if their product or service will be viable
in that market.

Below, we will walk you through the key elements of building a marketing research plan that will allow
you to give your client the information they need in order to make an informed decision about whether
to proceed with the research that will be necessary before marketing their goods or services to a specific
group of potential buyers.


Purpose

The goal of any marketing research plan is to set out how three things will be determined:

    1. The best market for the product or service.
    2. How price should be aligned with market conditions.
    3. The nature and extent of competition for the service or product.

Your client will want to know how you propose to go about collecting this information and how you will
analyze the information you collect in order to make a sound determination. There are a variety of
methods that can be employed to collect the requisite information, and you must demonstrate to your
client that you will select the methods that make the most sense related to the product or service they
wish to promote.


Description of Plan

Your plan will need to include several key elements, including:
   1. The method or methods by which you plan to conduct the research. Methods for market
        research include the following:
            a. Direct research, which means reaching out to those in the target market, as well as the
                 client’s current customer-base, by one of several possible means:
                       i. Face-to-face interactions, such as research groups;
                      ii. E-mail or snail-mail solicitations to complete questionnaires;
                     iii. On-line surveys or questionnaires; or
                     iv. Telephone contact.



                                 Sample Marketing Questionnaire ACME WIDGETS




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          Do you use Acme Widgets?                       Yes            No
                                                         Less than a    More than a
          If yes, how long have you been using them?     year.           year.
          If no, do you have a need for Acme Widgets?    Yes            No
                                                                                          Generic
          What other brands of widgets have you tried?   ABC Widgets    Silly Widgets   Widgets
          What is your favorite Widget brand?            Acme Widgets   ABC Widgets     Silly Widgets
          What do you like best about Acme Widgets?      Strength       Durability      Price

          What do you like least about Acme Widgets?     Strength       Durability      Price


         b. Statistical research to obtain demographical information, which includes:
                   i. Examination of local or federal governmental reports;
                  ii. Review of trade journals;
                 iii. Review of marketing magazines; and
                 iv. Chamber of Commerce reports.
         c. Analysis of how current customers view the product or service (if it is already being
            offered in other markets), by:
                   i. Looking at sales records to determine times of the year when sales are up (and
                      down), and certain areas where sales are better than others;
                  ii. Looking at customer service interactions with customers who have complained
                      or had issues; and
                 iii. Reviewing system or process issues identified and addressed for the same
                      product or service.
         d. Informational research on the competition will include the following, and will sometimes
            require “mystery shopping” to obtain the information required.
                   i. Prices associated with the same or similar products or services;
                  ii. Length of time the competitor has been in the target market;
                 iii. Study of how the competition advertises its products in the market and how
                      successful its marketing strategies have been historically.
   2. How you intend to analyze the data you collect.
         a. How the data will be “scrubbed” so that only viable information is analyzed. (This will
            entail getting rid of incomplete data, data entry errors, or those responses that are just
            plain bogus.
         b. If you will use descriptive data analysis, which typically shies away from statistics, but
            rather is more of a narrative of how you perceive the data collected.
         c. If you will use inferential data analysis, which relies on statistics and comparisons of
            those statistics.
   3. How much it will cost to implement the plan.
         a. Costs associated with conducting market research can vary a great deal, depending on
            the methods employed, but typically, you will want to consider, and quantify for your
            client, all of the associated costs, such as:
                   i. Consulting costs (your fees, in other words);



© Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc.                                                                              3
                    ii. Costs associated with designing the research, such as the development of
                        questionnaires and forms, printing, or website hosting; and
                   iii. Payment to participants of focus groups, or small rewards for those who answer
                        questionnaires.
          b. You will also need to let the client know what will be included in the cost, in other words,
              what they can expect for their money. These considerations include:
                     i. Raw data only, or a comprehensive report that includes graphs, charts or other
                        visual representations;
                    ii. Whether you will make interim reports while the research progresses, or if the
                        cost only includes one final report;
                   iii. Only the results of the analysis, or recommendations, as well; and
                   iv. Follow up or reengineering of the results.
    4. How long it will take to pull it all together.
          a. You will need to offer a timeline to your client for when they can expect each phase of
              the project to be completed, and when they will hear from you with feedback and follow-
              up on the research. Such a timeline should touch on each of the following steps in the
              process:
                     i. Design research – allow at least 30 days;
                    ii. Conduct research – allow a minimum of 60 days;
                   iii. Compile and scrub data – allow 2 weeks;
                   iv. Analyze data – allow 2 weeks;
                    v. Prepare report – allow 2 weeks; and
                   vi. Date of submission of final report.


Task Description                         August     September    October    November     December
Design Research
Conduct Research
Compile and Scrub Data
Analyze Data
Prepare Report
Final Report Submission                                                                  December 15, 20Xx




Timeline of Key Meetings and Deliverables

As shown in the timeline in the previous section, there are a few different milestones that your client will
be interested in hearing about. You should plan to meet, and/or report to your client at least a couple of
times during this process, with the following being those that hold the highest level of importance. Keep
in mind, however, that some clients will require a lot more “hand-holding” than others, so be flexible in
your willingness to meet or deliver reports at certain times during the process.


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       Initial meeting to discuss client’s requirements.
       Meeting to discuss designed research, prior to initializing such research.
       Status Report once sufficient data has been collected.
       Meeting to present and discuss Final Report.

Naturally, if issues arise during any step of the process, you will want to reach out to your client to keep
them abreast.


Budget

As discussed above, the considerations for your budget will include:

     Consulting costs (your fees, in other words);
     Costs associated with designing the research, such as the development of questionnaires and
      forms, printing, or website hosting; and
     Payment to participants of focus groups, mystery shoppers, or small rewards for those who
      answer questionnaires.




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Marketing Research Budget                                           [Month and Year]
           Personnel             Budget   Actual   Difference ($)   Difference (%)
Consultant Fee
Mystery Shoppers
Focus Groups
Questionnaire Takers
Other
Operating                        Budget   Actual   Difference ($)   Difference (%)
        Research Design
Printing
Focus Group hosting facilities
Advertising for mystery
shoppers, focus group
participants
Publications and reports
Telephone costs
Internet hosting costs
Other
         Total Expenses          Budget   Actual   Difference ($)   Difference (%)




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Detailed Execution Plan

After your initial meeting with the client to determine the parameters of the project, you will need to
develop a project execution plan to present to, and have approved by the client. The eleven key
elements of a project execution plan are as follows:

    1.    Executive Summary
    2.    Project Scope, Objectives, and Deliverables
    3.    Human Resources Management (Staffing Plan)
    4.    Integration and Communications Management
    5.    Cost and Budget Management
    6.    Schedule Management (Schedule, Milestones and Work Control)
    7.    Risk Management Plan (what happens if something goes wrong)
    8.    Baseline Management and Change Control Plan
    9.    Project Controls and Reporting Plan
    10.   Procurement, Contract and Inventory Management Plan
    11.   Managing Project Quality

(For a complete project execution plan template, please visit docstoc.com.)

Be prepared to modify your plan after your client has had a chance to review it, in order to ensure that it
meets with what your client believes are the primary considerations of the project overall.




© Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc.                                                                 7
Appendix: Governmental Resources for Market Research


      USA.gov: Determining Content and Knowing Audience Needs
      Getting to Know Your Audience -- Presentation by Bill Trefzger, Dept. of Treasury, at the
       Web Managers Workshop, September 2005,
      How to Better Deliver Health Information Online to Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians,
       and Other Pacific Islanders (HHS)
      What’s on Americans’ Minds -- Top-requested government information, based on most
       popular pages and links on USA.gov.
      Census Bureau Data -- Historical data on computer use in the U.S., from 1984 – 2001

(Source: http://www.usa.gov/webcontent/improving/evaluating/audience.shtml)




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DOCUMENT INFO
Description: This document sets forth a comprehensive outline for a marketing research plan designed to supply customers with information. It contains information regarding the purpose and description of the plan as well as a timeline of key deliverables, a budget, and a sample detailed execution plan. This document also includes governmental resources for performing market research. This document should be used as a checklist to be sure that the company or product manager includes all the relevant information when conducting market research.
This document is also part of a package Top Marketing and Branding Tools 9 Documents Included