A Problem Defined Is A Problem Half Solved - A Guide To Scoping Projects
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A Problem Defined Is A Problem Half Solved - A Guide To Scoping Projects

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How do ideas for market research arise? First of all, someone has to know something about the capabilities of market research before they can think of it as a possible solution. Most people know ...

How do ideas for market research arise? First of all, someone has to know something about the capabilities of market research before they can think of it as a possible solution. Most people know something about market research in a general sense. They know it can be used to find out how many people do something or think something. But do they fully appreciate that it can be used to work out how much people are prepared to pay for each feature of a product? Do they know that you can work out the importance of issues that influence customer satisfaction without asking the customer how important each issue is? If you don’t know what something can do, it is fully understandable that it may not come to mind.

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A Problem Defined Is A Problem Half Solved - A Guide To Scoping Projects A Problem Defined Is A Problem Half Solved - A Guide To Scoping Projects Presentation Transcript

  • A Problem Defined Is A Problem Half Solved A White Paper By B2B International Market Research By Paul Hague, Nick Hague and Carol-Ann Morgan
  • How Ideas For Market Research Arise The idea of market research arises within the mind of a manager, who has developed an idea or has come across a problem that needs a solution. Purely based on his or her judgement, it may (or may not) be determined that this “new idea or problem” is a candidate for market research. Once the idea is formed, it may undergo a period of gestation, as shown in Figure 1 below. During this period, the idea or problem is further developed and may even be bounced around through the other professionals, who help scope and define the research. We believe that in order for someone to think of market research as a solution, first he or she must have some prior understanding about the capabilities of market research; without this knowledge it is not fully understandable what can be done through research and therefore it is less likely to come to mind as a solution. It may be weeks or even months before the idea or problem is presented to a market research agency. Often, by the time the idea reaches the agency, there is greater urgency to find out the information, pressing agencies to work quickly. As a result, time may impact the research solution simply because there is less time, limiting what can be done in a given period. Nonetheless, we suggest that the person who generates this idea for research is a manager; as managers are often responsible for making decisions and market research is designed to reduce risk in decision making. 2 Figure 1: The Gestation Period For A Market Research Idea
  • The Market Research Brief – A Statement Of The Problem As a general rule, a market research study is only as good as the brief. When developing a brief, the sponsor should include answers to the following questions in order to scope the issues effectively for the researcher: The brief is an oral or written statement from the research sponsor, which provides detail on the objectives and background of the research, enabling the researcher to design an appropriate program for the study. No matter whether the research is carried out by a vendor or in-house, the brief is very important as it influences the methodology the researcher will choose for the study. The more thorough the brief the better, particularly for an outside vendor, who in comparison to an in-house researcher has less access to resources within the sponsor’s organization. The research brief should be a dialogue and even the most thorough brief covering all the issues we have listed will generate some additional questions from the researchers. 3
  • The Market Research Proposal – The Return Of The Brief The researcher, after receiving the brief, will write a proposal to the sponsor which will indicate an understanding of the requirements, the objectives, research method, timing, and pricing of the research. The proposal acts as a contract, considering that the research program will be of significant financial value. Armed with the brief, the researcher now knows what the client is looking for and must balance four factors in arriving at an appropriate design. At this proposal stage, a questionnaire has not been designed yet, and so not every aspect of the research study will be determined during the submission of the proposal. Although the proposal acts as a contract, there must be flexibility on some aspects of the research; as the research progresses and information is revealed, it may be necessary to change the objectives. It is likely that the methodology will remain the same, as this aspect of the study is the determinant of price. The research brief should be a dialogue and even the most thorough brief covering all the issues we have listed will generate some additional questions from the researchers. 4
  • The Market Research Proposal – Information & Accuracy Information: Within the proposal, the researcher must clearly provide some order to the decision outcomes, research objectives, and specific questions that may be asked to participants. Accuracy: How accurate does it need to be? Of course, most research sponsors would answer “very accurate”, or as “accurate as possible”, but the greater the accuracy the greater the cost (typically the cost is significantly greater). However, a research program does not always require a high level of accuracy to meet the objectives. Such as in the examples below, accuracy becomes more important based on the data being measured: Additionally, the researcher must describe what information will be included in the project and what will be left out; this will indicate the objectives the researcher expects to reach in the study. As the researcher is considering these objectives, this will impact on the considerations he or she may have when deciding on the choice of method. At this stage, it is best for the research sponsor to consider the outcomes, objectives, and questions, and which methodology would work best according to these levels of the study. 5 Therefore, the required accuracy must be linked to how the resulting data will be used – the nature of the decisions which the research will guide.
  • The Market Research Proposal – Budget & Timetable Budget: What budget should be made available for the Timetable: Two factors determine the research timetable: research project? • The researcher, driven by methodology, would argue whatever budget is required to meet the research objectives, get the desired information, and finance the method needed to produce data at a defined accuracy level. In reality, there are other factors of consideration, such as the availability of funds and the affordability of the research. However, if the decision includes capital expenditure, for example $30 million, then a research budget of $60,000 was spent in comparison to $30 million. Likewise, if the investment has low cost implications there is less reason for investing in research. Another justification includes the series of future decisions the research will contribute to, so considering the long-term payback should determine the budget. 6 Deadline – This is driven by external factors, including the sponsor’s requirements and time frames. • Length of time required to carry out research activities – This is determined by resources, and experience with the methods in use in order to provide realistic estimates on how long each stage of the research program will take. An example of a typical research timetable is shown below:
  • What To Expect In A Proposal • The proposal must bring clarity, add to the understanding and make an authoritative claim for the recommended research method. • The quality of the proposal will impact whether an agency wins the project; grammatical and spelling errors may reflect negatively on to the agency’s working standards and cause the sponsor to disregard the proposal. A proposal on average is 10 pages in length and typically includes… • In this section, the researcher provides an introduction to the research subject, background leading up to the research, and an understanding of the sponsor’s objectives. • In this section, the researcher will provide an overall statement about the objective of the research, followed by a more detailed outline of the many research objectives the study constitutes. • This is the most important section of the proposal; if the researcher approaches the methodology in the wrong way, the objectives of the research may not be reached. Method • The researcher will provide an overview of the research approach, including types of method (e.g. qualitative vs. quantitative), types of interviews (e.g. telephone vs. online), quotas for certain groups of respondents (e.g. country, company size, etc.) Timing & Costs • Here the researcher lays out the timetable for the research and the costing An Introduction Objectives 7
  • Key Takeaways When developing a brief, the sponsor should include answers to the following questions in order to scope the issues effectively for the researcher: The researcher must prepare a proposal that takes into account four important factors: the information required; the accuracy of the information required; budget; and the research timetable. Keeping these four factors in mind, a proposal is written that covers: • An understanding of the problem • Objectives (overall and in more detail) • The method to produce to the desired objectives • The timetable • The researcher’s credentials • The cost of the research Quality of the proposal matters, and may impact the agency’s ability to win the project. 8
  • Thank you for reading our White Paper on Scoping Market Research Projects. To access further white papers and publications by B2B International, please visit: http://www.b2binternational.com/publications/ Keep up-to-date with industry developments and news by following our blog: http://www.b2binternational.com/b2b-blog/ Find out what’s going on at B2B International by following us on Twitter: @B2B_Insight 9
  • MANCHESTER LONDON NEW YORK B2B International Bramhall House, 14 Ack Lane East, Bramhall, Stockport, Manchester SK7 2BY Tel: Fax: E-mail: Website: +44 (0)161 440 6000 +44 (0)161 440 6006 info@b2binternational.com www.b2binternational.com CHICAGO BRUSSELS BEIJING SHANGHAI