Conducting marketing research is a complex process, but easily segmented into stages. To begin, identify your short-term and long-term research objectives. Are you looking to identify potential customers or understand the purchasing behavior of existing customers? How will you utilize your data collection?

To be effective, marketing research needs to have the right questions in the right sequence with the right audience.

The Right Questions

Building-Marketing-Research-Plan Survey design connects researchers with respondents, but asking the right questions — in the right way — will reveal accurate consumer insight. That means you need to formulate online surveys that are easy to navigate and easy to understand. Keep audience awareness top of mind: what are your respondents’ cultural, language and cognitive abilities? If you don’t explain what you’re talking about, you risk respondents getting frustrated and abandoning the survey.

Tip: For creative questions, brainstorm continually, but keep your writing clear.

The Right Sequence

Survey length not only affects drop-out rates, but influences respondent engagement. With mobile use ever increasing, online questionnaires need to be short and simple. Organize your ideas into a logical outline—before the scripting progress. The more you stray from your main point, the less engaged respondents remain. Capture the attention of your panels by including relevant details that motivate them to continue.

Tip: Treat your survey like a storyline to keep respondents engaged.

The Right Audience

Treat your online survey as you would an in-person focus group. Who are you trying to reach? What are you trying to learn? How will this data affect your business decision? Cultural and gender differences can also play a role in defining a target audience. As you write your survey questions, always keep your audience’s characteristics in mind.

Tip: Profile your panel for access to a direct audience.

A well-designed marketing research plan is crucial to improving your company’s current marketing strategies and better understanding your customer, how to acquire them and how to retain them.


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