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Five Steps to turn your business goals into actionable research objectives
In this tutorial we give you 5 simple steps to help you set up clear and actionable research objectives based on your business goals.
Why do we need this step? Because you need to connect your business goal with consumer needs and you can't do that without clear and actionable research objectives. And without research objectives, you won't be able to select the right research method to discover your consumers' needs. It's a vicious circle!
Our 5 Step guide will assist you in how to translate a business goal into a research objective:
  1. Define a clear business goal.
  2. Articulate a business objective. What business objectives need to be addressed to achieve that business goal? (i.e. increase the number of customers and users to the xx amount)
  3. Make a list of decisions that will need to be made in order to achieve this objective
  4. Set clear decision making criteria. KPIs.
  5. Translate the decision you want to make into a research objective. What information do you need in order to make this decision?
Let's learn about the process step-by-step.
1. Define a clear business goal
Business goal is a statement of what you want to achieve which is linked to the company’s strategy and thus to the company’s mission. A goal is often a milestone in the process of implementing a strategy. Business goals are always related to measurable factors. Examples of business goals are: grow total company revenue to reach a 1 bln milestone, grow market share by 5%, maintain healthy profit margins at 35%, etc.
Exercise: take the research that you are planning to run or one that you have run already. Write down ONE business goal that this research is helping to solve.
2. Articulate a business objective
Business objectives are derived from your business goals and turn them into specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-sensitive statement (s) — SMART goals — of what is going to be achieved and when.
Business objectives also indicate a required degree of change in particular measurable indicators.
Examples of business objectives

Let's take the business goal to grow total company revenue to reach a 1 bln milestone. If we are an FMCG company, our business objectives, derived from this business goal, could be the following:
  1. Grow annual penetration of brand A by 5% which means to acquire 5% of new users who will buy our product at least once within next 12 months.
  2. Drive frequency of brand B consumption by 15% increase within the current users within next 12 months.
  3. Increase total sales volume in region A by 20% within next 12 months.
There could be other business objectives linked to this goal that would be related to internal processes in the company i.e. manufacturing, supply chain, administrative, etc.
Exercise: take your business goal and write down 2−5 business objectives that are derived from this business goal. Make sure they are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-sensitive — SMART
3. Your business plan is your ACTION-PLAN!
Establish what decisions need to be made for achieving each objective and remember…
  1. A business plan is born out of business objectives.
  2. A business plan should include particular steps needed to achieve those objectives.
  3. Each step should include the list of decisions that the business needs to reach those objectives.
An example could be launching a marketing campaign to stimulate demand. It would require decisions like: which creative to go for and which channels to use to make it more effective?
Let’s take one of the business objectives that we identified at the previous stage and create a short action plan for product development and marketing teams.
After you made a decision about the product, you might have specific actions related to product development, for example:
  1. What product will help you hit your business goal: its characteristics or features and benefit to consumers.
  2. What is going to be your product name/brand/subbrand.
  3. What are you going to claim about this product to make people choose it over the others
  4. What is the packaging going to look like?
Examples of marketing actions:
  1. What is the specific message you want to convey?
  2. What format of communication are you going to use, based on the channels: video, static, banner, audio, etc.
  3. Which promotions are you going to use to push the product in-stores and online?
Exercise: take your business goal and the business objectives that you wrote down earlier. Write down specific decisions about the product and the communication that you might need in order to hit those objectives.
Now let’s put it all together and transform the decision you want to make into a research objective. It’s going to be very easy to translate your decisions into research objectives because you have already drilled down to the specifics of your product and communication strategy.
And, just like your business goals, your research objectives should be specific, measurable and actionable. They should be linked to the set of decision making criteria that are often called KPIs.
4. Setting clear KPIs
Having measurable KPIs is the basis for all business decisions. For example, your marketing campaign aimed at increasing consumer demand for your product or service should be:
a. Relevant and engaging for new users
b. Drive motivation to try your product or service
So the KPIs for research that you are going to set when you test your communication with consumers, will be on such points as 'relevance', 'likability', 'driving of the trial interest' amongst my target audience.
5. Defining research objectives

All of the different business decisions can be broken down into four types:

  1. Identify or Define
  2. Decide on Go/No-Go
  3. Select
  4. Decide if to continue
Thus, when you articulate your research objectives, you can always take one of those 4 to start with. Then you take your KPIs and "voila!", you have got your research objective set up.
The last thing you would need to do is to trace it back to your business goal. Let’s put it into practice.
Summary

Start researching only after you have clear:
  1. Business goal
  2. Business objectives
  3. Action plan including decisions to be made
  4. KPIs
  5. All information that is needed for decision making
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