Job Description - Market research analysts conduct research and surveys to try to understand the preferences and interests of consumers, and they prepare reports and presentations on their findings. They may also monitor competitors’ activities and success to identify ways for the company to obtain a competitive advantage. Another aspect of the market research analyst’s job is to review statistical data on historical pricing, sales, distribution and marketing, and use that data to forecast future sales.
There are many methods by which market research analysts can collect data. They may conduct phone, Internet or direct-mail surveys, set up sampling booths in public places or gather focus groups within the company offices. Based on their findings, they will provide recommendations to the company’s senior management. This information is very important to businesses because it helps them make important decisions regarding the pricing, promotion, design and distribution of their services and products.
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Much of the market research analyst’s day is spent using a computer to identify customer preferences, demographics and buying habits, which helps them to forecast product demand. They must also spend time creating and evaluating questionnaires, surveys and other strategies used to collect information from consumers. After a project is completed, market research analysts will generally evaluate the effectiveness of the methods that were used and use their findings to improve future research.
Market Research Analyst Job Summary
- Most market research analysts have a bachelor’s degree, but some companies prefer a master’s degree for more technical fields.
- Strong quantitative and analytical skills are required in this field, and knowledge of Internet-based survey methods is increasingly important.
- Employment of market research analysts is expected to grow faster than average.
Work Environment for Market Researchers
Market research analysts typically work in an office setting. Many work by themselves preparing statistical charts on computers or writing reports, while others work as part of a research team. They may be required to travel to attend conferences and other meetings, or to conduct sampling and interviews. Tight schedules and deadlines are often part of the job, and can result in overtime and work-related stress.
Education and Degree Requirements
Most employers expect market analysts to have at least a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree may be required for more technical jobs. Candidates should have completed classes in marketing, consumer behavior and business, as well as psychology, sociology and economics. Strong skills in mathematics, sampling theory and survey design, statistics and computer science are also required for most market research analysts.
Students who intend to enter this field should try to gain experience through an internship or summer job, as companies seek to hire individuals who know how to gather and analyze data, conduct interviews and surveys, and create reports based on their findings.
Market research analysts must be detail-oriented, patient and persistent due to the long hours they spend on problem-solving and independent study. In addition, they must have good communication skills because the wording of surveys is of critical importance. They must also be able to communicate well both orally and in written form to present their findings to employers and clients.
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Certification programs are offered by various industry organizations. The Marketing Research Association (MRA) offers the Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) to analysts who have demonstrated a level of expertise in the field.
Market Research Analysts Salary and Jobs Projections
Market research analysts held about 226,410 jobs in May 2009, according to research published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They work in almost every industry. Among the top employers of analysts are corporations, computer systems design and related services companies, insurance providers, and management, scientific and technical consulting firms
Employment in this field is projected by the BLS to grow 28% between 2008 and 2018, which is much faster than other occupations. This growth will be driven by companies seeking to expand their market share and increase sales.
The BLS reported that the median annual wage for market research analysts was $61,580 as of May 2009. The middle 50% of analysts earned between $44,600 and $85,230, while the lowest 10% had an annual income of about $34,260. The highest 10% earned upwards of $111,900.