Marketing Research Results Reporting: Format, Use & Types

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  • 0:04 Market Research Reports
  • 1:21 Executive & Top Line Reports
  • 2:59 Full Research Report
  • 4:54 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

Market research often generates a substantial amount of data, but few individuals in the company can make use of the massive data dump. This lesson explores the methods for putting together a market research report that will fit the needs of its consumer.

Market Research Reports

In modern times, the President of the United States receives a report every morning called ''The President's Daily Brief.'' The briefing focuses on the most pressing intelligence and security concerns of the day, and documents related to the briefing are held in a folio. If he so requests, he is then verbally briefed by his Cabinet on any subject that he wishes to explore further. When President Trump took office, he instructed his staffers to reduce the document count to a single page so that he could digest and respond to the information in a faster and more efficient manner.

On its face, it may seem like this has little to do with reporting market research, but it is actually quite applicable. As you would expect, the raw intelligence used to put the brief together is massive. Each day produces a new crop of thousands of photos, videos, audio intercepts, and documents, but it would be unreasonable to hope that this voluminous data would be useful to a president in raw form.

The same concept holds true with reporting out market research. The further up the so-called ''food chain'' the report must go, the more it will be pared down to the essentials. A good market research report is effective at disseminating data that is usable by everyone in the loop, from the tech geek working on the database to the Board Room and C-suite.

Executive & Top Line Reports

The executive summary of a marketing research report is similar to what President Trump requests. However, despite the use of the word ''summary'', an executive summary is more like a roadmap to the data contained in the report rather than an attempt ''sum up'' the information contained within. If used properly, the executive summary allows the reader to quickly identify any aspects of the report.

An executive summary is most valuable when it is short in length and placed at the beginning of the report. In addition to brevity, its vocabulary is also simplified. A good rule of thumb is to compose an executive summary with the assumption that the readers may not be familiar with the industry or its vocabulary. In some cases where hard data is important, it is appropriate to place a sharp graphic, chart, or illustration in the summary.

A top line report is a condensed report made available to individuals who need a high-level overview of the business terrain, but not the minutia that is associated with the raw data. Unlike full market research reports, top line reports are less specific to individual players and instead use an industry-as-a-whole approach.

Top line reports are great for people who need a short and sweet look at a market. These reports are much shorter - usually less than 60 pages. They also have a more customer-friendly cost of somewhere between $10 and $100. A top line report should be all that is required to dissuade an entrepreneur or investor to pursue a typewriter manufacturing plant or a company that makes and sells cassette tapes. A top line report would have enough information on the industry to tell a reader that the outlook for the industry is unfavorable.

Full Research Report

The most comprehensive report is the full research report. This report is usually massive in size. Lengths vary, but standard full research reports run anywhere from 90 - 500 pages with more extensive and complex reports occasionally reaching the 1,000+ page length. Like length, cost varies widely, but average costs run anywhere from $1,500 to more than $10,000.

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