How to Write a Marketing Research Proposal

Updated July 12, 2018

A marketing research proposal is a plan that offers ideas for conducting research. The research depends on the field in which the proposal is written. For example, a marketing research proposal for a television network would examine the various ways to measure viewing habits in order to create shows that would better cater to the demographic. Ultimately, a market research proposal details the who, the what, the where, the when and the how of research and the information and costs associated with it.

Determine why the research is taking place. A market research proposal must explain the purpose of the research. The abstract at the beginning of the proposal will explain the goals of the research as well as any theories the research is attempting to prove.

Identify the information needed for the research. Explain the type of research information that is necessary to serve the purpose identified in step one. For example, if the research is on television viewing habits, one type of information needed is the kind of shows being watched as well as the audience that is watching. Different demographics often have different viewing habits, so identifying the information you need is a critical part of the market research proposal. This information is a necessary component in the first third of the proposal.

Explain the research methods that will be used. You know what information is needed; now detail how you will find it. Will you use a poll? What other measuring tools will you use?

Explain the cost of the research. The cost will influence those who make the decisions. Each recommendation you make should include a specific cost breakdown as well as a rating of the importance of that research tool in relation to the others. For example, if you can obtain the same information through two different methods, you should include cost, validity and reliability scales for decision-making.

Conclude the market research proposal with a summary and recommendation. While the bulk of the proposal should explore all options, the summation should include your recommendations and assessments of all the available options.

Edit for structure. Be sure to format the market research proposal with an executive summary (abstract/introduction), background (information and research), and a definition of the research or the problem you seek to resolve with the research. Be sure to include objectives, research methods (how information will be gathered and analyzed) and method of reporting.


Cite any reports or expertise you are using to base your recommendations on. Be sure to include those sources in your report. Use facts rather than opinion in the bulk of the proposal. You can use expert opinion for your recommendation and summation.

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Things Needed

  • Research
  • Statistics
  • Objectives

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