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A new opportunity has emerged on your business radar, and it could propel your business at a captivating and profitable direction. It could be a new product or service line, a group of untapped consumers or perhaps -- keep your voice down today -- a potential merger with a smaller competitor.
Before you get too far ahead of yourself, you know that it's smart to thoroughly vet this opportunity by commissioning a market study report. At a certain point -- probably after your staff has finished gathering the necessary quantitative and qualitative information -- you must set out your expectations for the written document. How you approach this task ought to get their blood pumping, too.
Issue Three Dictates
If your marketing team is new to the task, they're probably going to enjoy your top three directives:
Tell a story. Tell a visual story, with plenty of graphs and graphs. Keep it short.
They might not believe they heard you ; after all, you did say you want a market study report, didn't you? And are not most reports , voluminous and sometimes dull products?
Inform them make no mistake: you anticipate a thorough effort that assesses each angle of the new business prospect. You want the report, as they say, to"see around corners" However, there are valid reasons that push your directives.
Tell a Story
The most compelling market research reports pivot on a story -- about why this new service or product line holds such promise, why that set of untapped consumers may benefit from your offerings or why that merger could be a wise investment.
Like all good stories, this one may start with an anecdote or focus on one person -- the"main character" -- who could serve as your perfect customer. Telling the story of your research through her or his eyes, and with lots of lively quotes, should flow into how pursuing this new chance would advance your business goals. This is a essential part of the narrative, also, since the opportunity wouldn't even be worth considering if it did not conform with your business strategy.
Now, you might wish to talk to your staff the experience of a renowned manufacturer of a men's fragrance that was ready to embark on a marketing campaign -- targeted to men. Then the market study demonstrated that women, not men, make the majority of these buys, and the finding changed the effort. Now there was an entirely different story to tell because the main characters shifted to girls -- who they are, what they do for a living, when they purchase men's scents and how they persuade the men in their own lives to acquiesce to wearing a fragrance from the first place.
Tell a Visual Story
As much of this quantitative data as possible should be consigned to charts and graphs on the market research report, not the actual content that is written. Amounts are easier to read, and evaluate, when they are displayed in a chart instead of tucked into a dense paragraph, in which the reader can struggle to translate their meaning.
This point underscores the following fact about market study reports: you may think that it's being written to your own benefit and that of your employees. And for now, it could be. Your audience may also include your enterprise attorney and accountant. But some day, if it's appropriate, fresh stakeholders may browse the report, too, and charts and graphs will make it much easier for them to digest.
Obviously, you may always overdo a good thing. Only relevant graphs and charts -- or the ones that advance the basic story -- should be contained in the body of this industry research report. Ancillary data ought to be relegated to the appendix -- that document repository which arrives at the end of a document.
Keep it Short
By focusing on a compelling story and relying on artwork, your staff should find it a lot easier to address your third cardinal rule. They ought to be aware you will judge the value of the campaign because of its quality, not the range of pages. (It's up to you if you would like to inform them that lots of market research reports run from between 10 and 50 pages.)
Use bullet points when they can. * Read each other's job and"peer edit" for clarity and concision.
Challenge each paragraph to the relevancy test. To put it differently, if a paragraph does not progress the fundamental story, strike it.
You may hesitate to call it an"outline," but you need to communicate to your staff that the real worth of their report will ride on its own organization. In the end, they might decide this format -- rather than a newspaper report -- would be the best one for their own findings.
As liberating as this may be, many market research reports hew to convention, and requirement, by adding:
A section on the study objectives. A section on the study methods. An executive summary. Detailed findings and, possibly, the consequences. Told in a lively manner, the intriguing finish ought to get everyone's blood pumping.