How to Write a Research Proposal in Marketing: Detailed Structure and Challenges

Writing guide
Posted on March 11, 2020

Studying the market has never been easy. But doing a written task in market sciences is perhaps the toughest task during the college or university years. Why do you need to be aware of how to work out your proposal in marketing? It’s because this work is a preparatory phase that explains why the survey is essential and is of great significance for the sphere on the whole. When your proposal is successful, the further development of the subject is going to be successful as well. But what to start with? In this article, we are going to share the basic and secondary tips that will assist you to craft a research proposal in marketing that will surely receive further approval.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Marketing: Escaping Constraints

A proposal is referred to as a skeleton which consists of details like the direction of the trial, its goals, and main emphasis. Proposals are usually the initial point of reference for management. To avoid the constraints, you are supposed to be aware of what they are. Experts define five of them when it comes to crafting a research proposal in marketing. Check whether you know them all:

  • You find it hard to pick the right topic.

A research topic may vary from brand awareness among buyers to the buyers’ behavior. Many students choose topics related to comparing two brands or marketing communications. Whatever you pick, ascertain that the title of the topic is summative of the educational investigation you intend to launch.

To make things a bit easier for you, we’ve made a list of today’s most burning marketing topics. Look through the list, maybe one of the suggested themes will be the reflection of what you are looking for.

  • How Gender Affects the Buying Decision of a Group;
  • Impulse Buying and Factors That Trigger It;
  • The Role Social Media in the Marketing of the XXI Century;
  • Ethics of Pharmaceutical Marketing;
  • Birthday Coupons. Is There Any Use Sending Them?
  • The Benefits of Black Friday for Companies;
  • Is Telemarketing the Last Century?
  • Smartphones, Computers, and Tablets Are Influencing Customer Thinking;
  • Business Sales, Buyer Knowledge and Relations Between Them;
  • The Basis of Leadership in a Marketing Team;
  • The Key Significance in E-Marketing;
  • The Top Successful Strategies of Market Entry;
  • How the Status Influences Women Food Choices and Cooking Habits;
  • Baby Goods Marketing;
  • How the Recession Affects Promotions;
  • How the Brand Extension Affects Brand Personality;
  • How Do Buyers of Different Roles Treat Direct Marketing?
  • What Factors Affect the Restaurant Business?
  • The Effects of Loyalty Programs;
  • The Strategies and Paradigms of Marketing.

These are the topics for the most demanding students who don’t like messing around. Even if you decide that neither of the topics is a complete match for your case, you can make any of the topics broader or deeper to find the essence that you’d like to study and share.

  • You cannot decide on the problem statement.

To succeed, you actually need to answer two basic questions: What’s the problem? What’s the research purpose? Try and explain the importance of the problem, focus on the benefits of the solution, conclude with your intention to find the solutions.

  • You can’t find relevant data and statistics.

It’s clear that the sources you address while researching must be credible. Apart from looking in textbooks and journal articles, pay attention to various interviews (including those conducted in focus groups), feedback forms from buyers, and questionnaires. Look through publications, trade bulletins, and online sources.
And keep in mind that the collected data must be grouped into quantitative and qualitative parts. The division will assist you to discuss the breadth and depth of the collected data.

  • You can hardly work out the structure.

This is perhaps the toughest part. The structure of the proposed research paper in marketing should comprise the introduction, objectives, approach and design descriptions, fieldwork, reporting, timeline, and methodology.

  • You find it hard to include referencing.

Your survey proposal should include citations as well as document sources you used during your research. Citations are placed at the end of every page. The reference list should be organized alphabetically. In case you are having issues with the style of referencing, use Reference generators. These generators always help students have a better understanding of the bibliography and citation styles.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Marketing: Survey Is Your Weapon

Approaching the studying of any topic, you need to apply one of the two research options — primary or secondary. They both help students find relevant information. But the option you choose predetermines what kind of data you get in return:

  1. Primary research covers phone interviews, online surveys as well as focus groups. This option allows you to obtain the so-called “fresh” details. When diving into issues and opportunities that the primary research provides, you show readers that there is the potential to get closer to a solution.
  2. Secondary research deals with the data gatherings that had been done long before you decided to get closer to marketing research. By choosing secondary research, you make use of statistics, analytics, and content published online, in journals or textbooks.

When working on your research proposal in marketing, show readers that you are planning to use both approaches for secure and reliable results.

Structural Tips on How to Write a Research Proposal in Marketing

We’ve mentioned the elements of the structure in the section above. Now, we’re getting closer to details. Remember, a well-structured work is always better graded. Here are the clues concerning what should better be included in every section of the proposal in marketing.

1. Introduction

The introduction part aims at including the problem statement. In other words, the introduction is a summary of the main issue as well as a hint on a possible solution. It becomes a summarizing part that outlines the entire project of your future research.

2. Objectives

This is the recap of the main questions that must be answered in the written work in marketing. The objectives address the reader’s expectations and reflect the plans of a researcher. Here’s the list of key objectives or purposes of the research strategy plan:

  • Why did you choose this purpose of the research?
  • Why is this purpose beneficial for marketing? What do you expect to gain through research information?
  • What methods and approaches are you going to use?
  • How long will it take you to study and cover the topic?
  • Will the study cost you a lot?
  • Who is going to participate in your study?

The more detailed answers to these questions will be given through the further structural elements of the proposal.

3. Approach

Whatever research approach you’ve chosen (primary or secondary), in this section, you need to outline it. What must the approach include? It deals with the table of methodologies that are of top importance. You can talk about the focus groups, a survey conducted online, in-depth interviews, email contacts, or whatever approach you are going to follow to disclose the research topic.

Spend time revealing the specifications of your approach and the motifs that made you choose this approach instead of a dozen others. Say an online survey is known for suggesting the best ROI for clients. Plus, online surveys are way more cost-effective, ensure a comparatively fast turnaround, and provide quality data.

4. Design

Now, slowly proceed to the design of the proposal. After laying out the list of approaches, start sharing the details. The design is all about details. For example, you’ve decided to work with a focus group during your marketing study. It means that in this section your task is to cover a moderator’s guide to the group, survey documents, or interview guides and specifications.

The design deals with explaining the questions that you are considering to ask. It reveals how long the survey is going to last and what populations are going to be targeted, etc. In case you are working with a focus group, the design part of your marketing proposal must also specify the groups’ locations, methods of recruitment, and even honorariums if there are any.

The designs of the research proposal and its details are where you can shine, showing both your expertise and experience. In other words, this is the very place where pretenders become detached from contenders.

5. Fieldwork

This part is the one that deals with the exact quantity of people that are participating in the survey as well as the exact number of explorations completed (or the quantity of interviews if they are what you have chosen for your survey). Reveal how you are going to cut the audiences or create quotas.

In the fieldwork part, you need to be clear about how your research is going to start and share that the reader will receive online live data. This approach will allow a reader to be sure he/she is the part of an active project, not a myth.

6. Reporting

Provide an analysis of the study along with reported plans. This section provides the mental image of how the report is going to be structured, what things it’ll include (executive summaries, infographics, recommendations, question-by-question results, conclusion, etc).

The content of this part of the proposal greatly depends on the difficulty of the marketing project. If it’s possible, touch upon advanced analytics (correlation, regression, etc.) or any non-traditional forms of reporting and analysis.

7. Timeline

Many students make the same mistake when omitting the timeline part of their research proposal in marketing. Highlighting the timeline is a must. The timeline includes way more than just a total start or finish estimate in weeks or months. Make sure it also covers the breakdown of every section. The breakdowns must include kickoffs, set-ups, design, fieldwork, and even reporting.

8. Methods and tools

Regardless of the survey technique used, you need to get reader acquainted with the methodology that is planned to be applied for interpreting the gathered data. Make sure this part also includes the blend of research from the two types of sources.

As for the qualitative aspects, they have to cover the evidence as well as the measurements of respondents’ emotional intensity. Compile opinions from various inputs.

When it comes to the quantitative analysis, remember that only figures can measure the data precisely. Offer clear outcomes for the hypothesis.

If you have turned to any alternative methods, explain them to clarify and even justify the necessity of their use.

9. Data sources review

We’ve already mentioned that you can gather data either from primary as well as secondary sources or both. Primary sources are focus groups, expert interviews, surveys, and feedback from users/buyers. Discussing customers’ likes and dislikes, asking them to answer questions or provide their opinions, you illuminate the prior market performance. And be sure, in this chapter, you review all the sources you are relying to.

Primary resources are very hard to get. And if you happen to be in a tough situation when you lack some part of primary resources, turn to secondary ones. They cover various governmental publications, live searches, articles published in magazines or journals, data from various organizations and services. List them at the end of your work.

And finally, you need to spend time proofreading and editing everything you’ve written. Even if you’ve coped with writing successfully, proofreading may become a true burden because it is next to impossible to see own mistakes or check the accuracy of the word flow.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Marketing in Good Language?

The language choice is of great performance when writing a research proposal in marketing. There is more than a general organization and logic that you need to stick to. Make sure the words you use allow a reader to absorb all the details, jump to the top sections, digest conclusions, etc.

Use the structures that add cohesion to allow readers to take in the paper more conveniently. Short sentences must be followed by long ones and vice versa.

Upon reading this, you can get a feeling that completing your research work will be tough. Yes, it will be. But we suggest you re-read the article, write out the key principles of writing and start working on your research proposal right away — you’ll do it great, we know it! Otherwise, you can easily buy research proposal written by expert academic writers.


  • Behling, J.H. (1984). Guidelines for preparing the research proposal. Lanham, Mar.: University Press Of America.
  • Hague, P.N., Hague, N. and Morgan, C.-A. (2013). Market research in practice : how to get greater insight from your market. London: Kogan Page.
  • Osman, Z. (2016). Research Proposal Writing. Current Therapeutic Research, 78, p.S4.
  • Ramsay, P.D.K. and Schools, I. (1988). Research proposal. Hamilton N.Z.: Education Dept., University Of Waikato.
Upgrade your essays with these FREE writing tools!
Get started now