Market researchers or analysts collect and analyze data used to measure consumer sentiment over a product or service.
Companies hire market researchers primarily to help the management team with data collection methodologies, and how to interpret collected information so it can be presented to heads of department for data-driven decision making.
In many cases, as a market research analyst, you will find yourself working directly with the client-side of your employers, where you’ll be expected to collect information on customer opinions, look into investment opportunities and what marketing trends to capitalize on as a brand.
Is Marketing Research A Good Career?
Becoming a market research analyst is certainly the best career as it is rewarding, It continues to gain popularity but is also one of the industry’ easy enough to gain entry-level position.
Typically, to launch a career as a marketing research analyst, you will only be needing a bachelor’s degree in market research or a related field.
Compared to other careers like cytogeneticists and immunologists, the bar is so low that anyone with keen eye to detail and a good level of maths or computer science is likely to succeed out of a market research analyst.
Even better, if your background is also in business administration, social sciences, or communications, becoming a research analyst is a better career route to financial freedom.
With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that employment in the market researcher role is poised to exponentialy grow much faster than the average for all occupations between 2016 and 2026, there is no better time to launch a career in marketing research as a market researcher or analyst.
Who is a market researcher?
Becoming a market researcher or a market research analyst it means you are a person who is actively studying market trends, current and historical conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service.
Market researchers aid companies in understanding what their targeted consummer or audience will want, who will buy the products, and at what preferred price marups fit in well with the market.
They conduct such research and after all the research done, it results in big reports and complicated spreadsheets which explain exactly what is going on in the marketing industry and future opportunities.
That is reports on sales trends and consumer demographics, preferences, needs, and buying habits. All this information might seem time consuming for some customers to go through it.
That’s where Market Researchers come in to explain the research in a way that works for the customer. This information found can be presented at conferences, in private briefings, through comment pieces, and articles.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Market Researcher
- They look into and project marketing and sales trends
- They measure marketing programs and strategies to make sure that they are effective in the marketing industry.
- They also come up with methods for collecting data, for example; surveys, questionnaires, and opinion polls
- They are there to find out information on consumers, competitors, and market conditions.
- Market researchers also analyze data using suitable and statistical software.
- They also turn complex data and findings into understandable tables, graphs, and written reports that can be easily understood by both the customers and the employers.
- Another thing that they do is prepare reports and present results to clients and the management.
- Market researchers help a company market its products or services. They do this by gathering data on consumer demographics, preferences, needs, and buying habits. They use several methods to collect data and information. The widely standardized way of collecting data is through customer interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, market analysis surveys, public opinion polls, and literature reviews.
- Market researchers help in giving a company a glimpse on what position they stand in the marketplace by gathering information on their competitors and analyzing their prices, sales, and marketing methods. This information can prove vital as it can be used in determining potential markets, product demand, and pricing. Having this information in hand enables them to develop advertising brochures and commercials, sales plans, and product promotions that can attract the consumers on target.
They use statistical techniques and software to interpret and evaluate the data. It is important that they interpret what the data mean for their client, and they may use this information as well to forecast future trends. They do this most of the time by making graphs, charts, infographics, and other visual aids to present the results of their research.
Working Environment and Lifestyle
Most industries use market research, almost each and every company needs one if they plan to succeed in marketing their products, hence market researchers are employed throughout the economy.
Market research analysts sometimes usually work individually or as part of a team, collecting, analyzing, and presenting data. For example, in some cases, analysts also widely colaborate with other industry skill sets outside their industry.
Such professional include graphic designers and artists to create charts, graphs, and infographics summarizing the research and findings.
Market researchers usually work standard hours, that is between 9am to 5pm during weekdays. Weekend work is a possibility, in cases involving a market research interviewer. In some positions extra hours may be required as deadlines approach hence meaning extra pay.
To sum it up in terms of the working hours, most market researchers work full time during regular business hours. In other cases, however, they can work under pressure of deadlines and tight schedules, which may require additional hours of work of course.
According to the U.S Department of labor, Market researchers held about 681,900 jobs in 2018. To break down how the largest employers of market researchers, the information is as follows:
- Management, scientific, and technical consulting services held about 12%
- Finance and insurance 10%
- Wholesale trade 8%
- Management of companies and enterprises consisted about 8%
- Publishing industries (except Internet) took about 4%
Communication skills: As a market research analysts, you will need strong communication skills as it will be most needed when gathering information, interpreting data, and presenting results to clients, so that they fully understand and appreciate the work. It would take great communication skills for one to be a successful Market researcher.
Detail oriented: It is required of them to do precise and accurate data analysis, so that when the information is presented to the clients it produces the maximum and intended results. It is of Paramount importance that a market researcher be detail-oriented.
Analytical skills: Prolific market research analysts must be able to understand large amounts of data and information and produce the best out of the analysis.
Leadership skills: There might be cases that a market researcher is working with several other staff under him/her, one must possess great leadership skills to make sure things are done in the right manner and best way possible.
Organizational skills: Every market researcher requires strong organizational skills because in most cases the data is vast and confusing to clients, one must be able to organize the data in the best way possible.
Problem-solving skills: A Market Researcher MUST be able to analyze the market industry, figure out the problem from the data collected and provide credible solutions to the employers.
Critical-thinking skills: Market research analysts must assess all available information to come up with a marketing strategy that would make the company prosper.
Confidence: A market research analyst must be confident when presented self to different people, either be it the clients or when collecting the data.
Salary and Potential Earnings
The median annual wage for market researchers was $63,790 in May 2019. Just to be on the same page, a median wage is in simple terms an averege wage at which half of the industry’s key workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.
The lowest 10 percent on the chart earned less than $34,350, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $122,630.
Here’s a brief on the median annual wages for market researchers in the top industries in which they worked as of May 2019:
- The median wage for Publishing industries (except Internet) was $75,720
- The median wage for management of companies and enterprises was $74,510
- Finance and insurance had a median wage of $71,500
- The median wage for wholesale trade was $61,780
- For the Management, scientific, and technical consulting services, the median wage was $61,520
It has to be noted that salaries can be different depending on the type of employer and industry. As you have seen above, those who work in the publishing industry are usually the ones that tend to be the highest paid, but only marginally over those in company management.
It has to be noted that the figures that have been provided above do not include the earnings that can be achieved from freelance work or self-employment. Some other companies may even provide additional benefits, which include a company car, profit-sharing scheme, medical insurance, gym membership and bonuses.
These figures are only supposed to serve as reference as they are subject to change according to the economy and inflation of the currency.
As market research is so diverse and fluid, the majority of skills and training is acquired informally. The majority of current managerial roles learned their skills on the job, with support from more experienced colleagues.
No wonder thaat if you were to launch a career in the market research, seeking for an entry position in a much larger agency with graduate training schemes is benefitial as most of those who do, typically get a management position within two to three years.
On the other hand, there market is also flush with countless of external boot camp courses available, specifically designed for market research professionals.
Some agencies run training courses and provide qualifications at different levels.
As long as you are able to commit two years of your market research career, you can take the Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research Practice is very much likely.
Perks for working in few sellect large companies incorporate such qualification into their graduate training programs.
And a perfect example of such qualifications are those offered by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) which are known for including a market research component.
Good news for anyone seeking for a postgraduate qualification is that courses are widely available in the field of statistics, marketing or social research.
The Social Research Association runs a range of courses on topics such as survey design and quantitative data analysis.
Continuing professional development is important and can be carried out in many ways. If you are meticulous with choosing the right agency to work for, you can rest assured that training courses covering ranging topics, as well as webinars focused on teaching data collection methodologie like questionnaire design and business skills are also available.
As you can see, there are endless of offers and networking opportunities , some specifically designed for new and young researchers through the agency.
To be frank, a market researcher’s career can relatively progress rapidly, a lot of them are usually given the chance to climb to a more senior post within two or three years of entry. Talk about promotion, one is usually promoted based on merit, professional qualifications gained, experience and specialism.
Before moving onto senior research, one usually becomes a research executive first, then after being a senior researcher, then can progress to the role of account director.
Such roles in any agency demand a level of responsibilities likely to involve direct contact with clients, doing business presentations. Likewise, project and team management duties often increases with seniority, often with a corresponding decrease in the level of field work undertaken too.
Specialists recommend one to gain a range of experience before specializing for the reason that you enhance your career development and job mobility later in your career.
There has been a rapid growth of international business and developments in information technology. This has created worldwide opportunities and a lot of other opportunities in this career.
If you are well experienced in your field, you can even reach the extent of working as a research practitioner, either independently or in a partnership.
You can further do big by setting up your own consultancy or working as a freelance. This can happen only if you have acquired enough substantial experience and when you are finally well connected, that is having a big contact list.
It is projected that the employment rate of market researchers might increase with 20 percent margin in ten years’ time, which is a very good development, as this beats most average occupations.
This employment growth will be driven by an increasing use of data and market research across many industries. This is the case because market researchers will be needed to help the clients understand the needs and wants of customers.
As a marketing analyst, you will also likely be expected to measure how effective are current marketing and business strategies, and what can be tweaked to improves sales conversion if not stamping out consummer sentiment affecting product demand.
This career also provides companies and organizations the ability to increase sales and minimize costs, thereby increasing the profit margin.
Most companies nowadays are now using research on consumer behavior to come up with better marketing strategies. This is very good and important as companies are now able to market directly to the need of their targets.
This career also lets companies monitor customer satisfaction and get the required and true feedback that enables them to come up with means on how to improve their products and services.
This gives many companies a chance to beat their competitors easily. This can be done by using research to know the suitable location of stores, placement of products, and services that can be offered.
Companies will need market researchers to conduct analyses of the data and information to shade light on consumer preferences. This can be done through the increase in the collection and analyses of data, through checking out social media comments and some product reviews online.
Now, if you are wondering where you’ll most likely find job opportunities, the majority of lucrative positions are in market research leading agencies and consultancies. As many companies tend to use external marketing research teams, working for specialist niche agencies where you will be expected to manage and oversee a list of research projects that have been commissioned by a range of organizations is high. Such agencies may likely to include businesses, disply advertising and PR agencies, local and central government and charities.
Manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies also present growing opportunities to working as client-side market research analyst. If you are keen on working along with advertising agencies, charitable organization and online retailers, you will love working on the client side.
As intimidating as it may sound, common roles you will find in these settings most likely will involve coordinating and contracting out the research on behalf of the company or assisting in the development of marketing strategies, this is the most common job for market researchers.
But thats not all! You will also find openings in the growing list of research institutions run by NGOs and sometimes government departments will also employ experienced market researchers.
What to expect
One might be desk-based but other market researchers do travel nationally and occasionally internationally to visit client organizations and to complete their research.
Armed with vast experience, becoming a self-employed or freelance worker is sometimes possible when one has acquired enough experience and maybe has attained a master’s degree.
As a long term goal, I would recommend exploring Self-employment which usually involves setting up a consultancy, usually after a ten years or above experience and with a big contact list.
Short-term contracts are available via recruitment agencies. These are generally available for more senior market research posts.
This is a job for flexible and strong minds, this is due to the fact that there are usually conditions of high-pressure role due to the tight deadlines, but it’s also challenging, varied and rewarding.
The number of Market researchers is growing hence this leads to a strong competition for jobs. One has to be smart and smooth and rather try other that can prove more successful than relying on advertised vacancies. Consider applying for market research assistant posts first and then climb up the ladder as time goes by.
Many employers require their market research employees to have a degree and they also pay attention to the candidates’ skills in communication and analysis. If one wants to get into quantitative research, here are the subjects that are useful:
Business or management economics mathematics statistics. If you would rather venture into qualitative research, it is recommended to have a degree in the following subjects: anthropology, geography, psychology, social sciences, sociology.
Degrees in marketing, English, and languages are also very important as they aid in communication skills, but employers often accept a variety of degrees.
A degree in a specific subject linked to the industry, such as engineering or science, may prove vital. Other positions require an understanding and knowledge of specialist statistical software, and this can give an advantage to the candidates.
A postgraduate qualification is not usually needed; however, it might prove to be useful in some types of roles. A Masters or diploma in a statistics-related subject may improve your chances of finding employment, particularly if the first degree wasn’t statistical.
Many market researchers have acquired a college degree in fields such as statistics, math, or computer science. And, if you have a background in business administration, paired with social sciences, or communications, you are likely to have the skills most organization seek for in a researcher.
Though you can get an entry position in marketing research analsis, enrolling into courses in statistics, research methods, and marketing are very important in the field of market research.
Few select courses in communications and social sciences, such as economics or consumer behavior, prove vital and aid them with the skills that can enable them to work effectively in their field.
Some market research analyst job positions require a master’s degree. A master’s degree is often essential in leadership positions or positions that perform more technical research.
Unlike other professions, in market research, certification is voluntary, but a market researcher may pursue certification to demonstrate a level of professional competency.
The market industry is evolving, and market researchers are the key to this. Almost every company nowadays needs a market researcher to help them in so many ways as to know the requirements of their customers and find means on how to answer that call.
They also help companies by giving them means on how to beat their competitors. The economy needs market researchers.