The research proposal should cover these topics and questions:
1. What marketing issues are you trying to address with this study?
2. Set the broad parameters of the study.
3. Describe the purpose of the study.
4. How are you going to use the research?
5. What marketing decisions will you make as a result of this study?
6. Include any secondary data to support the points you are making.
7. What are the three most important questions that you want to be answered? How will you put the answers to use? (These are your Research Questions.)
8. What target population will you be studying?
9. The more detail you can obtain about the target population the better. For example, suppose you want to do a study of prospective customers for your new software product.
10. Do you have a demographic profile?
11. Do you have values, attitudes, and lifestyle profile (VALs)?
12. Do you know what the target population spends on software each year?
13. Do they make the buy decision, or do they recommend it to others? What does the buyer journey look like?
14. Do you know their title or where they fit in the organization?
15. Do they have a certain kind of education? Income?
16. Do they belong to specific professional organizations or associations?
17. How will you network or contact them?
18. What is the timeline for this study?
19. Will the population you want to study be available and willing to participate in a study in the time frame that has been established? For example, it is unwise to do a survey of farmers during the planting season (or France during the summer).
20. Are there calendar-related distractions that you need to avoid? For example, except in rare instances, most researchers avoid undertaking studies during secular and religious holidays.
21. Are there any other issues that need to be addressed?
22. This wide-open, wrap-up question is designed to get a sense of any issue that might impact the design, execution, analysis, or presentation of the data. Some of these issues can be related to internal company politics. This is especially true when the research is being used to evaluate someone or something inside a company.