Question:Just what should marketing research look like?

Answer:Marketing research for a start up (or for any company really) should look like this:

1. Overall view of the market (this used to be a long story about how big the internet is, but probably is useless these days because everyone knows that).

2. Segmentation of the market and determination of which segment you are targeting. Indication of growth rate of the market segment.

3. Detailed evaluation of the competition for the segment you are targeting.

Detailed understanding of the start-up's capability of beating the competition in this segment.

4. Detailed understanding of how the start-up will grow in terms of new segments or new services or products of the targeted segment.

Numbers for each of these subjects make the case stronger, but often firms use analogies (make sure the analogy is good) to make their point.