The idea for carrying out market research may ferment for a number of weeks before a commitment is made to obtain proposals. In briefing an agency the client should try to give answers to a number of questions:
■ What action will be taken when the research is completed?
■ What has caused this problem or led to this opportunity?
■ What is known about the area of research already?
■ Target groups for the research?
■ What specific information is needed from the research?
■ What is the proposed budget?
■ Are there any initial ideas for the research method?
■ Are there any reporting requirements?
■ When are the findings required?
The market research agency will prepare a proposal (the return of brief) after weighing up what information is required, the accuracy of information required, the budget, and the timing. With these four factors in mind, a written proposal is prepared that covers the following issues:
■ an understanding of the problem;
■ the objectives in overall terms and in detail;
■ the method that will be employed to achieve the objectives;
■ the timetable;
■ the credentials of the researchers;
■ the fee.
The quality of the market research proposal plays a large part in whether or not the agency wins the project.