Marketing & Sales

Do you need a market research brief?

Written by Jonathon Deakins

Writing a clear, informed brief takes a lot of work and may leave you wondering if it’s truly necessary for your research. You can write a brief for a simple experiment or a complex custom project. At the end of the day, you’ll need one to ensure your research gives you the intelligence you’re looking for.

So why bother writing a lengthy brief if you can just jump on the tools and have a project up and running in no time?

Let’s take a closer look at a proper research brief,  assess when and why you will need one and when you can give the brief a miss. For instance, is it necessary when dealing with an external agency but avoidable for in-house research?

If you’re ready to start writing, we’ve got a template to help you create a detailed brief for a wide range of applications.

You’ll find examples to help outline your project and its purpose. We’ve also included helpful guides that explain how each section of your brief supports your project and helps yield better results.

Is it just an agency tool?

A research brief is a document outlining all the information that a market research agency needs to understand your company, brand and research needs.

You need to discuss your business objectives to answer why you are being asked to conduct the research.

A clear, informed brief will ensure that your market researcher can deliver the most effective research possible. It also streamlines the project by reducing the need for back and forth between your company and the researcher.

A list of all deliverables should clearly outline project expectations both from your company and the agency.

What if you don’t need to communicate with external parties for your project?

You can simplify your brief by working on the sections which directly affect you. A good brief will provide a meaningful framework, maximising the accuracy and reliability of the insights collected.

It is important to set realistic research objectives and decide on action standards before you proceed with the setup, even if it is just for your own reference.

Should a market research brief only be used for complex custom projects?

You need a well-outlined market research brief when you are planning a complex project. Feel free to follow our guide and make sure to include all the relevant information.

Additionally, you should only include methodology if you are certain of the approach you want to take. If you do not know which approach to use, leave the section blank for agency recommendations.

But what happens when you do routine projects that use automated processes?

You only need to create a brief when you start a new project. Afterwards, you can simply revisit your old brief and make adjustments if needed to reflect on your previous research project findings.


Research brief benefits:

A high quality brief has a whole host of benefits. These include:

Gets you thinking about your project

Research objectives address the specific questions you would like the research to cover, including what insights you wish to gain. They dictate how your study will be conducted and the quality of results that you will gain.

Simplifies your research design and experiment set-up

Who will this research focus on? This is where you should state respondents’ demographic and profiling information, along with any pre-existing segments you want to target. You’ll save time and money on sample setup and you’ll be able to construct an engaging survey.

Helps you visualize expected results

Deliverables should clearly outline project expectations. This should cover who is responsible for everything required to undertake research, including survey inputs and outputs, materials, reporting, reviewing and any additional requirements.

Allows you to delegate accountability and improve tracking

State all stakeholders involved in the project, their role and responsibilities, and their contact details. This will help you stay on budget and keep track of timing for key milestones of your research project.

Speeds up decision making

Action standards outline which criteria will determine the decisions you make following research. These should detail specific numerical scores and any company benchmarks which need to be met in your research results for decision-making to go ahead.



A thorough market research brief has multiple benefits. Despite being time-consuming and not strictly necessary for ongoing research, it’s a valuable tool when starting new projects and for communicating expectations with all involved parties.

You can save time by concentrating solely on relevant sections to maximise the accuracy and reliability of insights collected. Using our template guide, you can confidently deliver exemplary research for your next project.


“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author

Jonathon Deakins

Jonathon Deakins is a digital marketing consultant who works with and is based in Sydney, Australia. He is passionate about software development and automation.

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