So you've completed fieldwork for your market research study? Now it's time to go all in on the report. Wondering where to start? That's where we come in.
Creating a well prepared report complete with summarized insights, supporting data, and making the entire piece easy to understand and well designed is always my goal. We all have our favorite parts of the market research process, and mine is the report!
If you are just getting started with market research, it can be easy to overlook crucial parts of the report process which would completely derail your final deliverable. As seasoned market researchers, we know there are several unspoken rules analysts know and abide by (because you wouldn’t want to get caught by the market research police).
Looking for more market research tips? We’re full of them!
Decode market research reports with the help of these quick tips!
1. First things first - Remember the goals and objectives of the research
Before beginning a report, analysts should dig up all notes from the beginning of the project where the end client discussed exactly what they were hoping to learn from the research. Since the research process can take time to complete and may go under several different changes and drafts, it can be easy to forget critical details from the beginning.
Taking time to go back and refresh on the details before getting started with the report sets analysts up for success.
2. Review and clean all data
This can be a rookie mistake. Always, always, always clean and review all data before touching the report. This tip can ring true for all types of market research ranging from in-depth interviews to focus groups to surveys. Whether you’re creating your report off of an in-depth interview transcript or data from a survey, you must review for errors, clarity, and most importantly – insight.
3. Create a report template that is visual, organized, and brand consistent
Ever look at a design and think, “Wow!”
Don’t you want your reader to think the same?
Great designs bring reports to the next level and can make results more easily understood. Wondering how to achieve the "wow factor"? Try to find ways to seamlessly incorporate graphics, data, charts, and analysis together in harmony.
Here are some features to consider enhancing or using: icons next to analysis text, headers and/or footers, images, infographics, data chart call outs, etc.
Here's an example. Focusing on results from a specific question? In your analysis you could show an abbreviated chart from the appendix for additional detail, use an image that supports your analysis, or use an icon to highlight key points from your analysis.
Digging into data can be hard work, but it definitely pays off.
4. Dig deeper
This is definitely one of the most important parts of creating a market research report – ask more from your data. (The bolding and underlining here was necessary.) Take your time to run crosstabs, perhaps define an audience segment and compare it to another, and think about ways data can be presented or analyzed to reach the goals and objectives.
This is another reason why step 1 is so critical. Without taking the time to go back and refresh, you may overlook this step that adds value to market research reports.
5. Create clear insights
After reviewing, preparing, and analyzing, the next step for analysts is to work on the meat of the report. When creating the executive summary, think about summarizing the data in a way that’s easiest for your end client to comprehend. This may include adding images or charts in the executive summary for clarity on key points.
Also, think about how to effectively use your data here. Summarizing data doesn’t mean spitting out what charts and graphs are showing you. Instead, explain what the charts and graphs mean to your reader. Being clear and direct while also showing the whole picture is best practice.
6. Review all writing, charts, graphs, and everything else!
So you’ve completed your market research report, done right? Not yet just yet. I’m sure you’ve spent countless hours getting to this point, so don’t let a common error or number out of place be the one thing that sticks out in your reader's mind when reviewing your report.
Take the time to proofread, but also ask someone else with fresh eyes to review. Also, review all data to ensure it’s presented as intended.
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