Remember that recent online purchase and the short questionnaire that appeared moments after the sale confirmation? For two minutes of your time and the answers to several simple questions, you received an incentive to consider additional purchases. Where your brief survey experience concluded, the analysis of your feedback commenced. Welcome to the world of market research.
“The consumer marketplace is constantly growing and evolving,” says Katie Zmijewski, lead analyst at Market Strategies International. “As businesses are trying to keep up and look for new ways to engage their customers, they look to market research for insights that can inform their business decisions.”
Market research analysts are tasked with wrangling the massive volume of information such surveys glean into usable data. But the challenge in market research begins much earlier when analysts determine what questions to ask to receive the meaningful answers that can then be translated and sorted into helpful insights.
Could a career in market research be in your future? Let’s look at the education, skills, and traits that this fascinating field requires.
A bachelor’s degree in business, statistics, or marketing, possibly mathematics, economics, computer science, communications, or psychology, is the first step.
Certification provides an additional level of professional competence that may be attractive to some employers. The process involves an exam, membership in a professional organization, and at least three years of experience.
A Master’s degree allows access to the best-paying analyst positions in market research. MBA programs with an Analytics Focus are available online or in-person through many different universities.
General skills that will serve an analyst well include—
- Solid communication skills, both written and oral
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
Several skills specific to research analysis function as crucial building blocks to a successful career, including—
- The ability to process and understand large amounts of data
- The aptitude for analyzing and interpreting details
- The proficiency in compiling the analyzed data into meaningful insights
- The capacity to think critically throughout the process, determining the best tools and analysis for each unique scenario
- The communication skills to craft detailed, accurate reports and presentations to deliver the results
- The articulation to present research insights in technical terms as well as “layman” terms
- Computer programming skills that include familiarity with Excel, R, SAS, and SPSS statistical software as well as programming languages like SQL
Just as librarians tend to be readers and restaurant owners generally have a unique “way” with food, so there are specific traits that meld well with the myriad of responsibilities a market researcher will encounter. Characteristics that will “lend a natural helping hand” include—
- a curious nature
- a love of numbers
- an intrinsic need for information
- a fondness for details
These characteristics, paired with a bachelor’s degree and the right mix of aptitudes and abilities, will place an interested candidate in good stead for an exciting career in a wide variety of employment scenarios.
Kathryn Korostoff, president of Research Rockstar, states, “Broadly speaking, we tend to think of market research in two categories: qualitative and quantitative.” She explains further:
Often used to generate ideas, discover customer behaviors and attitudes, and gain directional insight into a market or product category, via techniques such as:
- Focus groups – in-person or online
- In-depth interviews– one-on-one interviews accomplished in-person or by phone
- Social media monitoring– utilizing, for example, tools like NetBase, Trackur or Radian6, to monitor “general buzz” about or the reputation of a brand or a product category
Typically referred to as survey research, it involves collecting massive amounts of data, hence the term quantitative, representative of a target market or population. From the survey results, accurate and reliable descriptions of a broader target market’s attitudes, behaviors, preferences, etc., can be extrapolated.
Because RomAnalytics specializes in market insights, data analytics, data engineering, and positions that support insights and analytics, we will make your search for employment in the market research field smarter. Connect with our team today for expert assistance in landing a job perfect for your skillset.