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Marketing research is at the heart of addressing the four P’s of marketing: product, price, place and promotion. That is, the product must satisfy a need, be priced at the right level in a place where it will be seen by the right people and promoted to generate sales.

The proposal is a rationale for undertaking a research project and as such it must be persuasive, written in non-technical language and thorough in its analysis. Purpose and ScopeThe marketing research proposal’s primary function is to state the question that the research will attempt to answer. The proposal may attempt to determine how to introduce a new product or to find out why sales are lagging with an established product.

In addition to stating the objective, the proposal should include a descriptive background that provides the context of why the ultimate goal is important Writing a research proposal is a source of anxiety for most students (see published in The Marketing Review (e.g. Baker 2000b, 2001a, 2001b, 2002a, starting the process of writing a proposal. To begin with, and before undertaking any work, students should study their institution's dissertation guidelines (Gould 2008)..

If cost is a factor -- and it usually is -- the proposal should include an estimate. A timeline with major milestones or Gantt chart might be appropriate if the proposed research is of significant scope.

The Marketing EnvironmentMarketing research must include an overview of the marketing environment. Environmental factors include cultural issues (demographic trends and attitudes), technological issues (the internet and data interchange), competitive factors (pricing, service and speed) and economic concerns (competition and unemployment). Even the global market must be considered since the product may be made in a faraway land and compete with imports from other offshore locations.

Data SourcesData can be gathered from primary or secondary sources. Primary sources include interviews, focus groups, surveys -- either face-to-face or online -- and customer feedback. Customers and prospective customers answer questions, discuss likes and dislikes and provide opinions about existing products; this information can illuminate prior market performance.

Primary sources can be expensive or hard to obtain, so secondary sources provide alternative sources of information University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto As with writing a regular academic paper, research proposals are generally organized the same way throughout most social science disciplines. Proposals vary between ten The Marketing Review 10 (Summer 2010): 147-168; Jones, Mark. “Writing a Research .

Secondary sources include government publications, online searches, magazines, clipping services and trade organizations. MethodologyData analysis can be descriptive or statistical.

Whatever measurement techniques are used, the researcher must be careful to maintain objectivity. In this section of the proposal the researcher must lay out the methodology that will be used to interpret the data, including a blend of research from primary and secondary sources. Qualitative aspects might include anecdotal evidence, measurement of the intensity of emotions from respondents, compiling consensus opinions from multiple inputs and the like.

Quantitative analysis using figures can measure data precisely, offering exact outcomes for the hypothesis being tested. Alternative research methods should be explained to justify their inclusion.