What is Included in a Market Research Executive Summary?

No good market research study is complete without a report. Not all reports have to be 100 to 200 page PowerPoint documents. It seems like management is more stretched than ever before when it comes to time, so reading a long report could prove very burdensome. 

This has resulted in the growth of more digestible reports such as executive summaries, toplines, infographics, and bullet point takeaways.

The secret to executive summaries is all in the name. What you are viewing should be concise and effective enough to earn the approval of even the busiest executive. Communicate the highlights and cut the fluff.

In this post, we'll discuss key pieces of an executive summary in a market research report. Although executive summaries are abbreviated, they can still cover quite a bit of content and key takeaways.

Here are 5 items included in a market research executive summary. Click each title to skip to that section.

  1. Themes
  2. Key Statistics
  3. Significant Cross-Tabulations
  4. Recommendations
  5. Next Steps with Research

Still in the early stages? Here is what you can expect in a market research proposal for an upcoming project.

What is Included in a Market Research Executive Summary?

1. Themes

Think back to your kickoff meeting for the market research. Remember those 5 or 6 key objectives and key questions you had? Make sure your executive summary answers those questions for your team. This makes the creation of themes relatively straightforward. 

Circle back to the proposal, kickoff meeting notes, or just simply revisit your objectives throughout the project asked by your team to create these themes.

Each theme can easily be separated into paragraphs or separate pages of a report.

Walking through the main themes is a key step in a market research report readout. Read about this and other essentials in a research debrief here.

2. Key Statistics

Although the narrative used to answer your themes is helpful, your executive summary must also include those key statistics, numbers, and facts. These can be built directly into your narrative or be shown as a separate callout box on the page.

For example, highlighting a key statistic within a report may look something like:

  • 2 in 3 respondents are aware of [X Company].
  • 68% of customers were highly satisfied with the products provided by [X Company].

You won't find a good executive summary without some reference of key data points.

If the study is qualitative in nature, such as in-depth interviews or focus groups, adding supporting quotes are a great option for breaking up the text in your themes.

These quotes are pulled verbatim from transcripts to back a finding much like a statistic would.

3. Significant Cross-Tabulations

In addition to the general statistics and takeaways, the best market research companies will dig a layer deeper in the data. This includes referencing key takeaways and differences among categories and demographics. 

In the executive summary, you may read or view some breakdowns of differences by:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Title
  • Company size
  • Income

These breakdowns may vary depending on whether it is a B2C or B2B study.

Don’t worry if you don’t see an exact data cut you were looking for. A good market research partner will provide as many additional runs and follow-ups as your business needs.

The information you seek may even be available elsewhere in the report or another deliverable like a banner run.

4. Recommendations

Our market research company often talks about not stopping with the data. The value lies in the next steps taken. The action items. The recommendations. 

Any executive summary should not only summarize the themes, key statistics, and discuss cross-tabs but it should also include recommendations.

These recommendations are the "now what?" They assist organizations with implementations and changes around strategy and marketing.

5. Next Steps with Research

In addition to implications for your business, a market research firm should also offer ideas on future research possibilities. Market research is often most valuable when it builds on or complements other studies you’ve done.

Chances are your business will learn something new from a study that warrants further investigation. Who better to help brainstorm this follow-up research than a trusted market research partner? You can expect to be presented with customized ideas for a variety of methodologies.

There should also be no pressure involved with these research suggestions.

A good market research company will play the role of an advisor here, not a salesperson. The goal of this component in the executive summary is to get your team thinking about where to go from there.

You can expect a wealth of additional information in a full market research report. Here are four types of insights we like to include in our reports.

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research company headquartered in Syracuse, NY. Interested in learning more about our market research services or have a question about an upcoming project?

Contact our team through 1 of the 4 ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

tim gell - about the author

Tim Gell

As a Research Analyst, Tim is involved in every stage of a market research project for our clients. He first developed an interest in market research while studying at Binghamton University based on its marriage of business, statistics, and psychology. 

Learn more about Tim, here.


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