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Market Research Tutorial - Part 11 of 17

This is Part 11 of a 17 part series on creating a Market Research Plan.

  1. Market Research Planning 101
  2. Why Develop a Market Research Plan? Where's the benefit?
  3. The 3 Key Ingredients in Every Market Research Plan
  4. Market Research For Small Business Owners
  5. Remember Pink iMacs?
  6. What Jose Mourinho Taught Me About Market Research
  7. Kickstart your Market Research
  8. Rocket Science, duh!
  9. Using Market Research To Develop Brand Loyalty
  10. The Mystery of the Seven Sided Market Research Plan
  11. Stage 1 - Why Do You Need a Market Research Plan?
  12. Stage 2 - Why Some Customers Are More Important Than Others
  13. Stage 3 - How To Find The Information You Need
  14. Stage 4 – How To Collect Data
  15. Stage 5 – How To Analyze Data
  16. Stage 6 – How To Generate Report Findings
  17. Stage 7 – How To Choose Best Strategies

Market Research Stage 1 - Why?

The first side of my heptagon (ok, work with me here. I needed a useful analogy with 7 in it and Heptagon fitted the bill. It was that or the Seven Gods of Chaos. Heptagon won the toss...) is Why.

Why are you really doing this?

I know this seems obvious but… there are rational, easy to justify explanations and there are ‘other things’.

For instance, knowing why your product is underselling is a good thing. Your focus is clear. Armed with the results you can adjust the product’s price, features or other attributes.

If customer service tells you that callers are frustrated with the IT booking system, then the priority is to fix the booking system. The Market Research can wait until afterwards.

Developing a Market Research plan when you already know that there is a problem is getting priorities mixed up. The priority is to fix the system.

Of course, if you need to know why the system is difficult to use, then ask why.

The point is… before you start your Market Research Planning activities, be very clear what you want to get from it.

The more you can clarify your goals, the closer you’ll get to that target.

When others ask what you’re trying to achieve, instead of feeling that you have to justify this project in some way, you’ll have more confidence in your response.

In turn, this will be reflected in how they respond and respect your work. Because Market Research is often seen as a ‘grey area’ or dismissed as a ‘nice to have, but not essential right now’, make sure you are clear on why this needs to be done.

Confidence is contagious.

Work with your team and map out the reasons why this project will benefit others.

This is how you’ll convert the skeptics. Show them what they have to benefit. Then reinforce the benefits with examples.

The first step is to clarify why are you doing this?

What’s your objective? Define you over-arching goal in one sentence.

What do you hope to get out of it? Identify the one piece of information the company does not currently possess.

What’s your objective? When you have this information, how can you use it to drive other projects onwards?

What questions do you want answered? Identify all the questions that need to be addressed and then prioritize the high priorities.

How level of detail do you want the research to go into? Is this the first wave of a large marketing initiative or do you need to drill down into greater detail?

How will you analyze the data? What factors will you use to examine the data and extract meaning from the feedback. Otherwise, it’s just a mass of data, right?

What success criteria, if any, need to be established? For example, if you determine that 80% of customers would pay $49 for a new product - and you interviewed a large sample - then this may be enough to launch the product. No more data gathering may be required.

What will you do with the findings? Are you looking for a budget for further development, to release a product, or for marketing activities? Does this plan tie in with other marketing activities?

Are others depending on you before they can make a decision, such as to release a new product?

Be clear with your goals. Ensure that your team understands your objectives and how the research will benefit drive other activities forward.

For example, a mobile phone company wants to:

‘Offer customers free roaming calls in Europe help sell enough phones to justify this cost and allow us to upsell other products to new customers?"

This means that the main questions to be answered will be:

Are customers interested in free roaming calls?

Is Europe a more attractive market to them than the US? (Let’s say you're targeting business travelers.)

Can you upsell products to new customers?

How would you price the new products?

Is there opportunities for partner tie ins?

Notice that this is a very narrow focus. Essentially, we want to know if business travelers (a small but lucrative segment of our customer base) would buy new products from us if we offered them free roaming across Europe.

Once you are clear on your objective - and how it assists other business units - you can develop your Market Research plan with more confidence.

That’s the first side of our Market Research heptagon. Let’s more it around and see what’s next.

Market Research Template Pack

This template pack includes:

  • Market Plan Template (16 pages) Use this template to capture 1. Why You Need Research, 2. Who You Wan to Target, 3. How to Plan 4. Collect Data, 5. Analyze Data, 6. Report Findings, and 7. Make Decisions.
  • Market Plan Brief Template (6 pages) Use this document to brief Consultants on your Market Research requirements.
  • 10 Free Templates including Brand Loyalty Survey, Competitor Analysis, Demographic Comparison, Demographic Profile, Industry Analysis Checklist, Market Planning Checklist, Cost Analysis, Market Research Spreadsheet, Market Survey, and a Project Plan.

Instant Download in MS Word

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Table of Contents

The Market Research Plan (MS Word, 16 pages) contains the following chapters. The other checklists, questionnaires, surveys and templates are listed below.

Why Use a Market Research Plan?

As a small business owner, you're looking for ways understand:

  • Who are your current customers and potential customers?
  • What do I really know about them? Where do they live? Do they prefer to shop online or offline?
  • What do they want to buy?
  • What is their average income? What’s the disposable income?
  • What type of products do they have (Skoda), like to have (slightly bigger Car), and aspire to having (BMW)?
  • How much are they willing to pay for my products?
  • Can they find my products where they go shopping? If not, why?
  • What do they think of my business? Do they think we’re reliable, trustworthy, good value?
  • How does my business compare with my competitors?


Here are screenshots of the templates you can download by clicking the Click Here to Purchase image above.

Market Plan Executive Summary

Executive Summary

Project Plan

Project Plan

Market Research Template, Stage 3

Market Research Template, Stage 3

Market Plan Budget

Market Plan Budget

Market Research, Excel Template

Market Research, Excel Template

Competitor Analysis

Competitor Analysis

Screenshot of How To Write Work Instructions

Demographic Analysis Worksheet

Brand Loyalty Survey

Brand Loyalty Survey


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You can read more customer testimonials here.

What's included in this template pack?

Brand Loyalty Survey - MS Word Word template
Competitor Analysis - MS Word Word template
Demographic Comparison - MS Word Word template
Demographic Profile - MS Excel MS Excel Template
Industry Analysis Checklist - MS Word Word template
Market Planning Checklist - MS Word Word template
Market Research Brief 6 pgs - MS Word Word template
Market Research Cost Analysis - MS Word Word template
Market Research Plan Template 16 pgs - MS Word Word template
Market Research Spreadsheet - MS Excel MS Excel Template
Market Survey - MS Word Word template
Project Plan - MS Word Word template

Screenshot of Market Research Template

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The main restriction is that you cannot sell, rent or license these templates as though they were your own. These templates are for you —and your colleagues — usage only.

You can read the full license Agreement here

What is the refund policy?

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