As you progress into your junior and senior classes, the types of papers you’ll be assigned will likely become more focused and potentially more difficult. For example, instead of writing a common research paper on the history of a particular product or company, you’ll be asked to write a marketing research paper for your major. After all, this is exactly the type of paper that future employers will assign you in the marketing industry; they’ll expect that you’ll know how to write a good one. These types of papers can be a bit more tricky — but don’t worry — we’ve got the tips and tricks for you.
Selecting a topic for marketing research papers can be hard; it’s best to choose a topic that genuinely interests you. If you’re able to pick a topic, then go with a product you’re actually intrigued to learn about — doing so ensures that the coming research won’t be so tedious.
Remember: once you’ve selected a marketing research topic, it’s a good idea to meet with your professor and review your choice to ensure you’re on the right track. It’s always better to find out early if your topic choice meets the assignment requirements or if you need to consider another option.
Once you’ve got your topic, it’s time to conduct your research. Marketing focuses on research after all! Creating good questions is key to your research. The aim of a marketing research paper is to explore the viability of a particular product for targeted consumer groups. This particular type of research paper requires a great deal of primary research — which means you’ll actually be doing focus groups and asking specific groups to take surveys about a specific product. Consider what information you need to discover.
Remember: the goal of a marketing research paper is to investigate the market for a particular product. So you’ll need to consider the following questions for your marketing research:
- What is the customer’s problem?
- How does the product address the customer’s problem?
- What is the product’s advantage over similar products?
- How is this product new and/or improved compared to others currently available?
- How should a company best market the product to research targeted bases?
- How should one evaluate market strategies for effectiveness?
- What is the ideal price point for this product?
Once you’ve brainstormed the questions surrounding the product you’re creating a marketing strategy for, it’s time to do the research. You’ll be putting together studies and gathering information. Once you’ve got all your data, then it’s time to organize it in a traditional marketing research paper to present your findings. Want to see a real world example?
Check out this Market Research Guide released by the Department of Defense. Here’s a refresher on core aspects of such a paper:
Marketing Research Paper Format
This page should contain a clear, concise title that communicates the topic to the audience. It should also contain client names, business name, and the author(s) writing the paper.
Table of Contents
A marketing research paper should also have a table of contents. While you may be writing this paper for your professor, when writing it in a professional setting, it will be clients rather than your professor reading it. This page should outline the page(s) each topic appears; it allows the professor (or client) to turn immediately to the pages holding the most interest.
An executive summary is similar to an abstract: it condenses the entire research paper into one or two concise pages outlining the most important points. Executive summaries are very helpful in oral presentations as well.
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This section should identify the aim of your market research. Identify the product and its potential markets. Provide key background information to the audience including any core objectives of the business. Introductions are typically a single page long, but can be longer if the background information warrants the length.
The point of market research papers is to investigate whether or not a product would appeal to target groups. Businesses use such papers to identify if a product would be well received. To ascertain this information, market research employs focus group research. In this section of the paper, the writer should describe focus group participants including their key demographics. Next, the qualitative research section should discuss the participant’s needs and their conclusions regarding the product being researched.
Marketing research also relies heavily on survey research to reach large numbers of potential customers. In this section, the writer should share what questions were asked, why these questions were relevant, and analyze responses. This section should end with a thorough analysis of the acquired answers and how the answers impact product marketing to targeted groups.
The analysis section exists as an overall analysis of current market trends combined with qualitative and survey research methodologies. The writer should take all this information and form recommendations based on the targeted consumer.
The conclusion is typically one paragraph to one page in length. It recaps key points made in the marketing research paper and highlights actions to take moving forward based on information provided in the research and analysis sections. No new information should be presented in this section — it should exist as a review only.
Whew. Now all that’s left is the nitty gritty grammar stuff. You’ve got the data and the format down. Now all you need to hit spellcheck, right? Not quite. It’s important that you leave time at the end to revise your draft. While we all strive for perfection, it’s often hard to attain. So leave enough time to set up an appointment with your professor to review your draft. Listen with an open mind regarding his or her suggestions to strengthen your paper. After all, the professor’s recommendations carry weight — he or she will ultimately be grading this market research paper. Revise it — not just for content, but for grammar too. Need a refresher? Check out these 9 tips to improve academic writing.
Remember: sometimes it’s hard to catch your own mistakes, so ask a fellow classmate (or a few) to look over your marketing research paper — and be willing to return the favor.