Report writing and using data visualization techniques are two are my most enjoyable tasks for Drive Research. Market research reports come in any forms, using many different programs from PowerPoint to Word to other types of graphic design tools. This blog post is by no means the end-all approach for writing a market research report, it's simply lays out the major pieces of what you should expect to see.
Here are 6 key pieces of a market research report:
- Cover page - this is where you provide the reader the first impression of your report. Use a high-resolution picture or background that looks graphically appealing to make sure your report passes the "eye-test" when it's first opened. Your client paid a lot of money for these results, set the tone with your cover page.
- Table of contents - this provides structure and organization to your report. The larger the report, the more important this is for the reader, especially if the reader is going to reference specific sections of the report down the road and needs to find it quickly. It comes in handy when the client wants to skip to a specific section as needed.
- Background and methodology - often overlooked, but extremely important. This lays out the process, number of completes, objectives, margin of error, and confirms that the methodology was thorough and exhaustive. This is the behind the scenes look at the study and the work it took to deliver the report.
- Infographic or dashboard - this may be the most important piece of the report. It forces you to take hundreds of cases of data or hundreds of pages of a report and decipher the findings into a one-page graphical element. It proves your ability to synthesize data and pull out the factors that are most important to the reader in a quick and easy to read one-page summary using graphics and metrics.
- Recommendations with action items - don't just stop with the data and findings. Help your client interpret the research and suggest next steps and marketing ideas based on your interpretation of the results. Drive excels in this area helping our clients turn data to insights to action.
- Appendix with question by question results - more and more market research analysts are realizing pie charts, bar graphs and other standard graphics for question results are best-suited for the appendix. It's important to tally results for all questions in your survey in case the reader wants to reference a specific item, but it shouldn't be the main focus of your market research report. Keep your focus on the infographic and recommendations.
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