How to Plan a Budget for Qualitative Research Studies

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Use last year's qualitative research budget as a guideline.
Use last year's qualitative research budget as a guideline. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Companies often conduct qualitative research as a precursor to phone surveys or other more quantitative research. The objective of qualitative research is to collect some basic information about customer buying habits. Businesses can then use that basic information as a guideline for more comprehensive research studies. Focus groups, interviews and observation are several types of qualitative research. All the necessary qualitative research studies should be included in your company's qualitative research budget.

Things You'll Need

  • Marketing plan
  • Previous year's marketing budget

Talk to the finance manager in your company to determine the parameters for your overall research budget. Write what percentage of your marketing research budget you use for qualitative research. Use the previous year's qualitative research budget as a guideline for the current year's budget.

Use your marketing plan as a guideline for your qualitative research budget. Jot down any competitive or consumer qualitative research studies you may need for the coming year. Make a note of any qualitative research you will need for new product introductions. Add a focus group to your qualitative research budget, for example, if you need to further define a new product concept.

Meet with other company managers if you work for a corporation. Talk different branches to see if they need any specific qualitative research performed in the coming year. Take notes on what objectives other department managers have for various qualitative research studies.

Use the list of qualitative research studies you completed in the previous year. Speak with your manager or business associate about which qualitative research needs to be repeated. Create a list for all of your qualitative research projects, including the ones you will be completing for other departments.

Contact various marketing research agencies and focus group moderators. Ask these research professionals to provide you with price quotes on your qualitative research studies. Obtain several price quotes for each qualitative research job so you can find the lowest rate. Ask the marketing research agencies to break qualitative research costs out by functions like interviews and reporting, as you may later need to pare certain functions.

Add up the costs for all of your qualitative research projects. Make sure you keep your qualitative research budget limited to the maximum dollar expenditure you are permitted.

Tips & Warnings

  • Different departments may ask you to add qualitative research studies throughout the year. Ask the director or vice president in your department if those projects can be allocated as a separate department expense.
  • Never cut back on any research regarding competitive intelligence. Certain qualitative studies may require qualitative research techniques. Keeping tabs on your competitors is too important. Your potential sales and profits can be dictated by how much you know about your competitors.

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