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  • Writer's pictureC.E.K. & Partners

How should you communicate marketing research findings to stakeholders?




Understanding the preferences and unmet needs of your customers within changing market dynamics is critical for making decisions that will move your business forward. It’s why you’ve designed custom marketing research studies, but how do you effectively communicate the findings to key stakeholders?  Findings that are so valuable they could help a team dodge an unfortunate outcome before making an investment and going to market.

 

A presentation of data should tell a story. Visually driven reports such as infographics or PowerPoint are effective formats. Unless it is a requirement, we don’t recommend dense Word documents.

 

Your marketing research findings report should be comprised of a variety of types of content, from an upfront infographic style dashboard to the executive findings summary and data, to relevant references in an appendix.

 

Here are a few tips for effectively communicating your research findings:


State the research purpose or learning objectives.

 

While you and your client team may have been in the trenches with the research design, not all stakeholders may be familiar with the study. So it is important to clearly state the research goals and learning objectives. This provides a context around any limitations with the focus of the research and helps to set expectations about what will be included in the findings report. For example, a study focused on retail shoppers won’t be covering attitudes about the retailer’s employees. It’s also important to share who participated in the research study. This helps reinforce that the findings are based on unbiased respondents’ attitudes and beliefs (vs. opinions of a few employees).

 

Summarize the findings.

 

Clear and crisp visuals play an important role in reporting. Consider creating an infographic covering the top insights for your stakeholders. A one-pager provides a quick at-a-glance look at what is important and can act as an ongoing reference document.

 

Need help with do-it-yourself infographic visuals? Check out applications like Canva or Pictograph.

 

Develop a dashboard of key metrics.

 

For tracker studies that regularly monitor key metrics – like brand awareness, mission awareness, and net promoter score –a dashboard allows for easy comparisons between current and previous data, highlighting any notable changes.

 

Provide clear and concise headlines.

 

While summaries and dashboards tell the high-level story, marketing research findings reports should include a full recap of the data captured. Design the report to detail specific topics or questions.

 

Here are some tips for reporting the detailed data:

 

  • Create a dedicated slide for each distinct finding, such as, what is our brand’s awareness level and how does it compare to the top competitors?

 

  • Each slide should identify the topic, and include a descriptive and concise headline that communicates the finding. Brand A’s awareness is 60%, which is significantly lower than the leading competitor’s levels at 90%

 

  • Clearly report out the data. For example, most consumers would prefer to use a mobile wallet for checkout. Some consumers still rely on credit card, while a small percentage want to use cash. Do not confuse the findings with your opinions.

 

Present data using tables, graphs and charts.


Use visuals to present the data:

 

  • Use charts, graphs and tables to present data from a quantitative online study. These types of visuals allow for ease of reviewing the key findings and for making comparisons across different aspects of the data. For example, how did consumers ages 18-45 answer the question about their payment preference at checkout versus those ages 46-70?

 

  • Use callouts to help identify the story the data is telling, such as, shoppers want the  retailer to provide a mobile app for tracking their points earned through its loyalty program.

 

  • Each table or graph should have a clear focus. Avoid trying to show too much data, which can lead to a cluttered and hard-to-read visual. Instead create a separate table or graph to show additional data. For example, consider using a different table for the various data cuts, i.e., one chart for those ages 18-45 and another for those ages 46-70.


Use verbatims.

 

When it comes to qualitative research, the data is unstructured. You won’t be reporting out percentages or graphs. Rather, you’ll present the top themes identified from the in-depth interviews or focus groups.

 

When presenting qualitative findings consider the following:

 

  • Each topic should have a clear headline focused on the key finding(s).

  • Present the findings and use verbatims as evidence to support your findings.

 

Identify insights & implications.

 

The marketing research study’s results should be presented within the context of the following:

 

  • The study’s learning objectives

  • What you know about the client’s company

  • Real world context

 

For example, did something happen that could influence the data? Were there storms, wildfires or a worker strike that impacted shopping or purchases? Was there an outage at a store that prevented payment by credit card or mobile wallet? Did the company just finish running a campaign or promotion?

 

Strategic considerations and implications help connect the dots with how to use the research findings to inform business decisions. These insights will help provide direction on how to overcome low awareness of a promotion – invest more money into campaigns promoting it or sunset it all together? Or in the case of using the data to inform a marketing plan, help identify the types of messages, events or channels that would be preferred by your audience in order to boost effectiveness.

 

Encourage questions.

Data is valuable, but it’s your role to deliver clear findings to your stakeholders. It’s important to encourage questions and discussion about what the data means. Most likely your client team will be closer to their business, which will allow them to identify additional implications and actionable recommendations.

 

Communicate your next steps.

 

Are your findings part of  a series of studies? If so, make sure to highlight the upcoming companion research and how the findings will inform it.

 

Need help with designing and conducting a custom research study?

Contact us today so we can start planning for your research study.


C.E.K. & Partners | Marketing research and strategic communications.

We’re a certified woman-owned small business designing custom marketing research and strategic communications. We serve a range of organizations across retail, healthcare, oil/gas/energy, technology, financial services and government agencies. We custom design research studies to capture data and insights to help stakeholders make more informed business decisions.



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