The Four B’s that make a Better Research Brief


I’m a big fan of a proper research brief, both as a previous buyer and now a seller of market research.

Why? Because the discipline needed to write one pays dividends in terms of the focus and value of your research. If you haven’t thought through what you really want to know and why, it’s too easy to go through the motions of doing research, probably find out some pretty interesting stuff along the way and then realise too late that it’s not really going to help you drive your business forward.

So here are four things to include in your brief that will really add value to your next market research project:


1. Background

In theory, you can buy research like a commodity – decide how many interviews you want to do and with whom and just ask a supplier to quote on that basis.

However, if you do that, you’re missing out on the opportunity to use your supplier’s brain power and experience to help you choose what type of research will best meet your needs. In addition, you’re also missing an opportunity to motivate your supplier to give you their best possible work to help you solve your problem by encouraging collaborative working.


2. Business Decisions

This is such a useful piece of information for a supplier – what business decisions do you need to make as a result of this research? This will help a supplier to really focus their proposal and make sure it’s at a price point that appropriate to the size of the risk the business is considering.


3. Budget

Some people are cagey about suggesting a budget, and I understand why, but money is never infinite and it’s about giving your potential suppliers the information they need to suggest the best tool for the job.


4. The Bottom Line

Above all else, to provide you with a really solid proposal, a potential supplier needs to understand what it is you absolutely must know at the end of the project. If that’s clear up front, it will help you choose the best solution from the proposals you receive, ensure the research stays focussed on the key subjects and doesn’t get distracted with too many ‘nice to knows’ and help you measure your success at the end of the project.


For help and advice on your next research contact, please do get in touch.

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