11 Questions To Help You Prioritize Your Next Marketing Research Effort

I’ve found that project prioritization is a necessary part of being a researcher in marketing. It seems like there’s always a need for more customer research, but sometimes that work just doesn’t make sense either in the big picture or in the details. 

So, how can you know if something is worth pursuing? How do you determine which research projects to prioritize? I’ve developed these 11 questions as a way to evaluate potential studies. 

They might not be perfect for everyone, but they’re a good starting point when thinking through how to budget your time and resources:

5 Insights for Running Effective Marketing Research Surveys
1. Prioritizing research efforts is crucial for success.
2. Asking the right questions ensures focused insights.
3. Align research goals with business objectives.
4. Consider the relevance and potential impact.
5. Evaluate available resources and time constraints.
6. Embrace both quantitative and qualitative methods.
7. Tailor research questions to your target audience.
8. Balance short-term and long-term research goals.
9. Continuously refine research based on outcomes.
10. Stay adaptable to industry trends and changes.
11. Regularly review and adjust your research plan.

1. What Actionable Item Does The Research Need To Support?

The ultimate goal of this research is to help you answer the question, “What actionable item does the research need to support?” This is a critical first step in understanding what problem you are trying to solve.

You can also ask yourself: What are you hoping will change as a result of your marketing efforts? Do you want more sales? More leads? More customers or clients? 

The answer should be something concrete like an increase in revenue or profit margin per customer acquired through your marketing efforts.

Navigating the world of marketing research requires knowing the rules that shape successful insights. Explore the Top 10 Rules of Marketing Research to gain valuable insights into effective research practices.

2. Is There Great Outcome For Not Doing The Research?

If you don’t do the marketing research, how will you make a decision? If the stakes are high and you’re relying on gut instinct, it might be worth putting in more time to gather more data.

What Are The Consequences Of Making A Wrong Decision?

If your company is making an investment in this new product or service, it’s important to understand whether people are going to respond positively or negatively to what you’re offering. 

The last thing anyone wants is for their business model to fail miserably because they didn’t take enough time researching their audience beforehand.

3. Is It Actionable?

What is actionable research, and how do you know if your research is actionable?

Actionable research is research that can be used to make decisions. If there’s no decision to be made, then the findings aren’t relevant. In other words, if it doesn’t provide direction or impact a decision or outcome in some way, then it isn’t actionable (and therefore not worth conducting).

A good way to evaluate whether your project has potential for being considered “actionable” is by asking yourself: “What will happen based on these findings? What actions should I take as a result?”

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4. What Are The Three Things That Would Make This Research Study Successful?

As you go through the process of identifying what makes your next marketing research effort successful, here are three things I suggest:

Be specific. Don’t just say “we need to know more about our customers” or “we need to get feedback from prospects.” Instead, be specific about what type of information you need and why it will help move your business forward. 

For example, if your goal is to increase revenue by 10% over the next year, focus on learning more about how customers buy so that you can understand their decision-making process as well as identify opportunities for new products/services.

Think big picture but start small. While some companies may have an extensive list of questions they want answered with their next study (e.g., “how do our products stack up against competitors? What would it take for us to become number one in our industry? 

How do we reach Millennial consumers? etc.), most businesses don’t have unlimited resources when it comes time for budget approval meetings; 

Therefore, these questions are often set aside in favor of studies that result in immediate value like testing a new ad copy or finding out how customers feel about a product feature update before launch day arrives at month’s end!

5. Will It Help Me Answer A Strategic Questions?

Before you start your next marketing research project, ask yourself the following question: will it help me answer a strategic question?

If your answer is “yes,” then you know that you have a strategic question on your hands. If the answer is “no” or if it’s unclear, then either reassess whether this is a strategic question or think about why it should be one.

Strategic questions are all about the impact they’re the ones that will help drive decisions and achieve business results for your organization. 

They align with company-level goals and objectives such as revenue growth, cost reduction, improved customer satisfaction and so on (see below for some examples).

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6. How Many Studies Will I Be Able To Run This Year If I Don’t Do This One?

You should think about how many studies you can run this year if you don’t do this one. This is an important question because the more studies you run, the bigger your opportunity to learn and make a difference for your company or client.

You should have a number in mind that is a priority for you the kind of number that will help convince your boss or client why they need to prioritize this study over other things on their agenda.

It can be tempting when making a case like this to include some very high estimates: “If we ran 20 studies next year instead of just five, we could learn twice as much!” 

But it’s better to err on the side of caution when answering this question (and also make sure all parties involved understand how much work goes into running even one survey).

7. Can I Find Answers To My Questions In A Publically Available Source, E.G., A Website, Report Or Survey Result?

The first question to ask is, “Can I find answers to my questions in a publically available source, e.g., a website, report or survey result?” If the answer is yes, then you don’t need to do the research. 

If it’s no, then you will need to do the research in order for your organization to make strategic decisions about market positioning and product development.

8. If I Go Ahead With This Research, Will It Actually Get Used And Make A Difference?

If you’re like me, this question is an important one to ask when considering a new research effort. It’s easy to get excited about a new study and then forget that it won’t be used if it doesn’t meet the right needs. The bottom line is: if your research isn’t used, it’s wasted money and time.

So how do you make sure your next market research project will result in real value for your business? Here are four questions that will help:

9. What’s The Cost-To-Impact Ratio Of Delaying This Effort Versus Doing It Right Now?

The cost-to-impact ratio of delaying this effort versus doing it right now.

What’s the cost of delaying an important marketing research project? What about the cost of doing it five years from now (or even waiting for a competitor to catch up)?

If you don’t know how much your organization is investing in marketing research and how much value comes out when you use that information, then you won’t be able to make decisions about whether or not an immediate investment in more data would be worth it.

Discovering hidden gems in the world of marketing research tools can transform the way you gather insights. Learn about the Top 10 Most Powerful Marketing Research Tools that may be game-changers for your research endeavors.

10. Do I Need To Gather Additional Information Before I Can Even Begin To Design This Study And/Or Write The Proposal?

You need to know how much of your budget you can spend on this project. You also want to understand what other projects are currently being researched, or if any studies have been conducted in the past that may be relevant for your current marketing research assignment.

How will getting additional information help you design and write an effective proposal? It will give you an idea of how much time is needed during the proposal writing process. 

It will also help with refining the scope of work document, which includes all phases of data collection and analysis that relate directly with this project.

11. Would It Be Useful To Have Another Person On My Team Review My Work Before Delivering It To Others Outside Of My Department?

While working on your project, it may be helpful to have another person review your work before delivering it to others outside of your department. 

Having another set of eyes look over the presentation can help you find any flaws in logic or design, and will give you an opportunity to get feedback on how well it communicates information.

With that said, having too many different people involved can cause confusion and make decision-making more difficult for everyone involved. 

In cases where there are several departments working together closely on one project (such as marketing and sales).

Bringing in a colleague from each department for feedback could mean more people than needed are looking at the same material which could lead to information overload or even confusion about direction.

One way around this issue is by having a member from one department review only those parts they’re responsible for while leaving other parts untouched by them until later stages of development when they become available again.

Through collaboration with other departments who have been able to see earlier versions of those materials as they were being created separately.

But simultaneously without interference from other reviewers who might not know what changes were made along the way due their lack

of involvement during earlier stages where those changes took place.”

Understanding the fundamentals of marketing research is essential for informed decision-making. Our detailed guide on What Marketing Research Is & How to Do It will walk you through the step-by-step process of conducting effective research.


As you’re reviewing your list of marketing research questions, consider asking yourself the 11 questions above. They will help you get a better picture of whether or not it’s worth investing your time and resources into conducting a new marketing research effort.

Further Reading

Expand your understanding of marketing research with these additional resources:

SurveyMonkey – Market Research Surveys Short Description: Explore how to create effective market research surveys using SurveyMonkey’s platform.

HubSpot – Crafting Questionnaires for Research Short Description: Learn the art of crafting well-structured questionnaires to gather valuable insights from your audience.

ProProfs Survey Blog – Essential Market Research Questions Short Description: Discover essential market research questions that can guide your data collection and analysis.


What is the significance of market research in decision-making?

Market research plays a crucial role in decision-making by providing businesses with valuable insights into consumer preferences, trends, and market demands. It helps companies make informed choices that align with their target audience’s needs.

How can surveys aid in conducting effective market research?

Surveys are powerful tools for market research as they allow businesses to gather direct feedback from their audience. By designing well-crafted surveys, organizations can uncover consumer opinions, preferences, and pain points.

What are some common market research methods beyond surveys?

Apart from surveys, market research encompasses various methods such as focus groups, interviews, observational studies, and data analysis. Each method offers unique perspectives for understanding consumer behavior and market trends.

How can I ensure my market research is unbiased and accurate?

To ensure unbiased and accurate market research, it’s essential to design surveys and research methodologies that avoid leading questions or preconceived biases. Random sampling and rigorous data analysis can also contribute to reliable results.

What role does technology play in modern market research?

Technology has revolutionized market research by enabling efficient data collection, analysis, and automation. Online platforms and data analytics tools allow businesses to process vast amounts of information, leading to more informed strategies.