Best Practices

How to Write a Market Research RFP

Planning to hire a market research agency? To minimize the risk of paying too much or simply getting a “bad fit,” you need to write an RFP.

RFPs range widely in terms of their level of sophistication and complexity. If your need is for a simple project, do yourself a favor: keep your RFP simple. It will save you a lot of time when the proposals come back and you actually have to read them.

At minimum, a market research RFP states parameters and requests responses to the basics:

  • Statement of objectives
  • Target population (B2B, B2C), perhaps with quotas
  • Statement of geographic scope
  • Sample source: Are you providing it, or is the agency?
  • Statement of preference for qualitative or quantitative methodologies, if any
  • Deliverables required at project conclusion
  • Timeline requirements
  • Qualifications required

Consider the above list your minimum RFP content. Of course, you can add many more items, depending on your project’s goals. Here are some more examples of things you can request in an RFP:

  • Please provide information about your firm’s relevant industry experience.
  • Provide biographies for the key team members you would assign to this project.
  • Describe your methodology recommendation and how it will address our objectives.
  • Provide details of your quality assurance (QA) practices.
  • How will you ensure sample qualifications?
  • (For international studies) Please describe your experience collecting data in the target countries.
  • Please list the critical success factors and risks you see for this project.
  • Please describe the expected timeline for this project, including key milestones.
  • Given our objectives, what screening criteria and quotas do you recommend?

Market Research RFP Resources

For more tips on how to write a great RFP: RFP eBook

For on-site help, check out our workshop offerings: workshops

Or check out the book, available in Amazon: Amazon Link


Kathryn Korostoff

Kathryn Korostoff is founder and lead instructor at Research Rockstar. Over the past 25 years, she has personally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100 bylined articles in magazines. She is also a professor at Boston University, where she teaches grad students how to analyze and report quantitative data.

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1 thought on “How to Write a Market Research RFP”

  1. Great advice on the need to keep the RFP simple if the project is simple. This, more often than not, isn’t followed and the objective of the project becomes lost. The information above on parameters and examples of items in an RFP are a great tool and reference for anyone to keep and review when writing an RFP. Thanks for the info.

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