Market research analysts collect and interpret data in order to determine the demand for potential products and services, but also to inform clients and customers of their findings so that they can make better marketing and sales decisions. Their skills are needed across industries, from financial to healthcare and automotive to education, to help identify consumer trends and the types of products and services that customers are responding to.
Their research also helps companies to determine what types of advertising and marketing routes to take and what should be most effective when it comes to outreach, branding, and name recognition. Often, market research analysts can start with entry-level work and advance to positions of more responsibility, such as the marketing research director. Other mid-management and entry level positions in the field include those for junior or senior analyst, survey researcher, or coder and tabulator.
Responsibilities of Market Research Analysts
The job responsibilities of the market research analyst can vary, depending upon whom they work for and the amount of prior experience they already have. In some cases of advanced experience, they may be tasked with overseeing specific projects or teams of people. However, in general, the market research analyst may be expected to:
- Monitor industry statistics and forecast trends
- Determine how effective existing marketing plans are
- Develop questionnaires, polls and survey to monitor consumer opinion
- Create reports and provide recommendations
- Make data and findings easily understandable for clients, colleagues and others
- Use statistical software and applications to make sense of research
Market Research Analyst Job Characteristics
The job environment may vary depending on whether employment is found with a governmental agency, an advertising or marketing firm, within a specific industry, or even for yourself. Some of the things that can be expected on the job, in general, include:
- You likely will spend much of your time working at a computer, analyzing research, entering or preparing findings.
- You may need to give presentations about your findings to clients, colleagues, managers or supervisors.
- Report writing may be an integral part of your job, and you may need to re-assess initial theories and understandings.
- Overtime may be necessary to meet specific work and project deadlines.
Skills beneficial to the market research analyst include:
- Detail oriented to identify trends and changes in consumer mannerisms
- Personable to communicate well with others and understand their opinions
- Strong written, oral and presentation skills
- Insight to interpret what findings may mean
- Technical abilities to use different types of software
Market Research Analyst Salary and Career Data
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the following data about market research analysts nationwide:
- Total Employed: 468,160 people, in 2014
- Job Growth: 32% growth, from 2012 to 2022
- Average Salary: $68,700, in 2014
Individuals working in California, Washington, Colorado, Delaware and Washington, D.C. had the highest mean annual wages, all above $74,000, in 2014. Employment opportunities also should be best for candidates who have strong statistical and data analysis skills, according to the BLS.
Education, Certification and Licensing
Typically, a bachelor's degree is needed to obtain entry-level market research work, but some employers may want a master's degree for some jobs, especially those in technical positions. When working on a degree in marketing research, you will often learn about:
- Business and consumer behavior
- Sampling theory
- Survey design
- Technological software and applications
Certification is voluntary for marketing research, but can be obtained through the Marketing Research Association through its Professional Researcher Certification (PRC). This certification has several requirements, including to pass a timed, online exam, have a minimum of three years experience in marketing and opinion research, and have membership in a professional organization.
Licensing is not necessary to enter the market research field.
Major Market Research Employers
- Advertising agencies
- Marketing research and consulting firms
- Public relations firms
- Trade associations
- Healthcare institutions
- Financial services organizations
- American Marketing Association
- Business Marketing Association
- Marketing Research Association
- Council of American Survey Research Organizations
- Get Certified. Marketing Research Association, no date. http://www.marketingresearch.org/advance-career/prc/get-certified
- Market Research Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm
- Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131161.htm