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In the majority of cases, Client-Researcher interaction about the ordering of market research begins with a call or email, in which the Client states his needs for information about the market.

Despite many Clients desire to dispense with it and just communicate orally, making a proper written research brief is critical for the future projects quality. Oral communication (or an overly short brief) is generally not sufficient for the Researcher to prepare the optimal research proposal.

A written brief allows the Client to not only clearly communicate his information needs to the marketing firm, but also to make final decisions about research goals and tasks, as well as further actions to be taken after the needed information is received.

A good research brief must contain the following information:

  • A description of the current situation on the market and events on the market that affected the current situation
  • A detailed description of the problem that necessitated the research
  • Clearly stated research goals (for example: choose a name and a package design for a new product, find the optimal product price, etc.)
  • A description of how results will be used (what decisions will the results play a role in, when these decisions must be made, etc.)
  • Clients hypotheses and assumptions that he would have confirmed or refuted by the research
  • Information helping the Researcher find the optimal method and price: research geography, scale, consumer socio-demographics
  • Client preferences for methods
  • Due dates and formats for proposal and results
  • Planned budget

For more information about writing research briefs, see article To Learn Something about the Market, You Should Know How to Ask (in Publications).