A marketing research report is a written statement prepared by the marketing team of a company which uses both quantifiable and non-quantifiable information to analyze the present market conditions of a particular industry and predict future marketing trends. In this article, we shall try to demonstrate how to prepare a market research report.
How to write a marketing research report?
Step 1: Conduct a market survey
Market survey is the first step towards writing a research paper. Marketing survey requires collection of quantifiable and un-quantifiable data from sample group of consumers who may either be randomly chosen or carefully selected according to specific company requirements.
Step 2: Be clear about your research objective
Surveys may differ from each other on the basis of their research objectives. Some surveys may either be product-oriented, customer-oriented or brand-oriented. For instance, surveys like brand equity research, brand name testing, ad tracking and commercial eye tracking are done to test the association of a brand with a group of customers. On the other hand, product-based surveys include demand estimation, distribution channel audits and test marketing. Finally, there is another group of sample surveys which are performed to exclusively reveal the insight into customer behavior.
Step 3: Perform situational analysis
From consumers, the marketer must move on to the survey of the company and its relative position. A marketing researcher must conduct two types of analysis. These are internal analysis and external analysis using a variety of marketing tools like SWOT, PESTEL and Porter’s Five forces model. These tools help companies to identify their competitive advantage within a particular industry. For example, here is the SWOT and PESTEL analysis of Marks and Spencer. It is a multinational retailer of clothing, luxury food and homeware, headquartered in the City of Westminster, London.
PESTEL Analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Ethical and Legal Analysis) of Marks and Spencer
Marks and Spencer has been in recent years mired in political controversy. Pro-Palestinian groups have claimed that Marks and Spencer is pro-Zionist.
The Company should learn from the 1997/98 incident. Profits margins were pushed up to untenable levels and the company depended extensively on British supplies unlike its rivals which depended on low cost countries for their supplies.
Marks and Spencer has indulged in several social and charitable causes. The company follows fair trade and environment-friendly policy. It has also associated with charitable causes like breast cancer.
Marks and Spencer for instance follows a policy under which a Muslim service person may refuse to provide services to a man with pork and alcohol.
In 2000, Marks and Spencer dropped the St. Michael brand and replaced it with Marks and Spencer brand as part of its product innovation strategy.
SWOT Analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat Analysis) of Marks and Spencer
Step 4: Create an effective marketing mix using the four Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Promotion and Place
An effective marketing strategy helps to create innovative policies regarding the product, its pricing and the places in which the product needs to be sold and the tactics used for promotion. Here is a marketing mix for an imaginary brand of sugar-free chocolates, Nestle is launching for the European market
Marketing Mix (4Ps of Nestle Kit Kat)
|Product: Kit Kat has a brand value that is associated with a four fingered bar. Changing the product itself is potentially harmful. It is advised that the sugar-free version would be an alternative edition sold along with the original version and not instead of it. |
|Price: The original brand is very competitively priced. It is advised that the sugar-free version must not be more expensive than the mother version since that might scare off potential buyers.|
|Place: It is advised that the new product should be sold in various other places like news stalls and cigarette vendors along with supermarket. |
|Promotion: Since consumers usually associate Kit Kat with the iconic line, ‘have a break, have a Kit Kat’, advertisers must not change the tagline but the additional dimension of being healthy and sugar free can be brought in.|
Discussed above were the main points to remember while writing a marketing research assignment. Here is a quick recap of how to proceed:
- Conduct your market survey to collect data
- Use the data to do a situational analysis of the company
- Use any one or all of the following tools: SWOT, PESTEL and Porter’s Five
- End with a marketing mix with your own recommendations on the marketing strategies.
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Writing a market research report is an essential part of planning a business and serves as an organized way to collect and document information about your market or prospective customers. Your writing should be concise, but thorough – getting to the point, while omitting no information. If the market research report is not properly delivered, it renders the research a waste of time.
Review your research data and analysis to ensure that it is complete. Most market research involves compiling information about the needs and desires of customers through surveys, focus groups, competitor statistics and financial trends. Even if you didn't use focus groups, participants should be grouped into relevant categories, such as age, sex, income, education or profession.
Create a title page. Include the title of the report, client names, business name and author names. The title page should look clean, professional and aesthetically pleasing.
Attach a table of contents. It will serve as a useful tool so clients can skip to areas of interest without having to read the entire report.
Summarize the report in the executive summary. The executive summary is a one- or two-page explanation of business information in your market research report, according to a report from the Bryant University website. This allows your readers to receive the gist of the report without reading the entire thing, especially during presentations and meetings.
Write an introduction, which addresses background information, function of the business, target audience and objectives of the business. The introduction should be about one page.
Write the qualitative research section of the body. This section outlines the focus group research step and the questions answered. Describe the participants in the research, their needs, conclusions and how they affect your business.
Write the survey research section of the body. This section should include what questions were asked in surveys, who took the surveys (broken down by groups), the answers to the questions and how they affect your business.
Summarize the types of data used in drawing conclusions. Include why you chose the research methods you did, how they helped you and how they will affect the business.
Share your findings based on your research. Reveal all concrete conclusions discovered during the research. Explain these conclusions in-depth in a clear presentation format.
State your conclusions and call the reader to action. Your conclusions should be stated in broad form and directly address results found in your research. Never draw conclusions your findings do not directly support.
About the Author
Mitchell Holt has a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Abilene Christian University and has been freelancing since 2009 with work published in various newspapers and magazines like "BostonNOW" and "The Abilene Reporter-News." Holt also writes sales copy for small businesses. His clients include The Kyle David Group, ITNewton, 18 Vodka, RoboQuote and more.
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