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How to Become a Market Research Analyst

By Alyciah Beavers

Published:

In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, organizations strive to make informed decisions that will propel them toward success, and this is where a market research analyst role is crucial. The career suits anyone who wants to become a master of data, a sleuth of consumer behavior, and a guardian of market insights. Read on to understand what is a market research analyst and if this career might be the right choice for you.

Career Summary

Market Research Analyst Salary

Here is a general trajectory of market research analyst salary, according to Glassdoor.com:

  • Entry Salary (US$56k)
  • Median Salary (US$71k)
  • Executive Salary (US$100k)

To put this into perspective, the annual average wage for all occupations in the US is $61,900. This means that, based on your level, you can make some excellent cash as a market research analyst.

Market Research Analyst Job Description

So, what does a market research analyst do? A market research analyst collects, analyzes, and interprets data to provide insights and recommendations on market trends and consumer behavior to a business. Their main objective is to help businesses make informed decisions regarding their products, services, and marketing strategies. Additionally, a market research analyst conducts market analysis and assists companies in understanding the products people want and how to price them.

Market Research Analyst Career Progression

  • Entry-Level Analyst: It is the starting point for most market research analysts. At this stage, your roles involve assisting more senior analysts in conducting research, collecting data, and analyzing market trends. Your role also entails preparing reports and presentations.
  • Research Analyst: You have more independence and take on greater responsibility for designing research methodologies, managing data collection, and conducting analysis.
  • Senior Analyst: You have a deeper understanding of market research methodologies, advanced analytical techniques, and industry-specific knowledge.
  • Supervisor: Here, your role involves overseeing multiple research projects, managing a team of analysts, and contributing to high-level decision-making. You are responsible for resource allocation, project planning, and client management.
  • Head of Market Research: You are responsible for shaping the overall research strategy, guiding the research team, and collaborating with senior executives to align research efforts with business goals. You are also involved in budgeting, business development, and fostering relationships with clients and stakeholders.
Market Research Analyst Career Progression

Pros:

  • It simulates intellectual intelligence, where you develop your critical and problem-solving skills.
  • It gives you the proper industry exposure since you work with clients from diverse industries.
  • The career offers continuous learning opportunities since market research is a rapidly evolving field.
  • As a marketing analyst, you can comfortably tackle complex business problems.
  • It offers a collaborative environment where you work as a team with other people, such as marketing professionals, statisticians, data scientists, and business executives.

Cons:

  • Some tasks are monotonous as they involve collecting and analyzing large amounts of data, which can sometimes be tedious.
  • Market research often operates on tight deadlines, requiring analysts to work under pressure to meet project timelines.
  • At times there is limited creativity, whereby some analysts may feel constrained when developing innovative solutions or exploring unconventional approaches.
  • The industry is competitive, so analysts need to stay updated constantly on the trends and consumer behaviors.
  • There is a lot of data overload, which is overwhelming and challenging to navigate.

Useful Skills to Have As a Market Research Analyst

As a market research analyst, several useful skills can enhance your abilities and contribute to your success in the field, including:

  • Research and Analytical Skills
  • Data Interpretation and Statistical Analysis
  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Strong Communication Skills
  • Problem-Solving Abilities
  • Technological Proficiency

Popular Market Research Analyst Specialties

Market research analysts specialize in various areas depending on the industry and the specific needs of their clients or employers.

There are some popular specialties within the field of market research analysis:

  • Consumer Behavior
  • Market Segmentation
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Brand Research
  • Product Development
  • Market Trend Analysis

How to become a Market Research Analyst

Market Research Analyst 5 Steps to Career

The right way to become a market research analyst is through education, relevant work experience, and specific skills. While the exact path can vary depending on individual circumstances, here are some common steps to help you pursue a career in market research analysis.

Obtain a Degree in a Relevant Field

Do I Need A Degree To Become A Market Research Analyst?

While having a degree is not always a strict requirement to become a market research analyst, it can significantly enhance your prospects and competitiveness in the job market. Many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree, particularly in fields such as market research, business administration, statistics, economics, or social sciences.

Why Is It Important to Get A Degree In Market Research or a Related Field?

While it’s not always a strict requirement, obtaining a degree offers numerous advantages. A relevant degree equips you with the foundational knowledge and analytical skills necessary for market research analysis, as well as the skills to analyze complex data sets, use statistical tools and software, and derive meaningful conclusions.

A degree program can provide a comprehensive understanding of research methodologies, statistical analysis, consumer behavior, data interpretation, and marketing principles. These skills are essential for conducting adequate market research and making informed decisions based on the collected data.

Furthermore, some employers may specifically request a degree or prefer candidates with higher qualifications for specific positions or in highly competitive job markets.

Additionally, having a degree can serve as evidence of your commitment, discipline, and ability to acquire and apply knowledge, which can be valuable to potential employers.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Degree?

The duration of a degree program in market research analysis can vary depending on several factors, including the degree level and the educational institution’s structure:

  • Associate’s Degree: An associate’s degree generally takes around two years to complete. This program provides a foundational understanding of market research principles and techniques.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: A bachelor’s degree typically requires four years of full-time study. Students delve deeper into market research methodologies, data analysis, and related business courses during this program.
  • Master’s Degree: Pursuing a master’s degree in market research takes two years beyond the bachelor’s degree. This program focuses on advanced research techniques, data analysis, consumer behavior, and marketing strategy.
  • Doctoral Degree: A Ph.D. or doctoral degree in market research analysis can take an additional four to six years of study beyond the master’s degree. The programs emphasize research, theory development, and advanced methodologies. These degrees are more suited for individuals interested in academic or research-oriented careers.

How Much Does It Cost to Study Market Research Analysis at University?

The cost of studying market research analysis at a university can vary widely depending on factors such as the country, the specific university, the level of study, undergraduate or postgraduate. Additionally, tuition fees can change over time, so it’s essential to check with the specific university or college for the most accurate and up-to-date information. Here is a breakdown as of 2022:

  • Undergraduate marketing research program tuition for an in-state student is US$12,020, while an out-of-state student pays US$28,345.
  • A graduate market research in-state student pays US$13,864, while an out-of-state student pays US$24,560.

Can I become a Market Research Analyst Through Online Education?

Yes, online education makes it possible to become a market research analyst. The web offers numerous resources and programs in multiple fields, including market research, with flexible learning hours.

Look for accredited online courses, certificate programs, or degree programs in market research, marketing, business, statistics, or related fields. Ensure that the program you choose is from a reputable institution.

Gain Practical Experience

Practical experience complements theoretical knowledge and helps you demonstrate your skills and abilities to potential employers. Seeking opportunities to apply your knowledge and skills in realistic settings and continuously striving to expand your expertise through hands-on experience in market research is the only way to go. Some ways involve volunteering and interning in different corporations to gain hands-on experience.

What are Internship Opportunities for A Market Research Analyst?

As a market research analyst, several internship opportunities are available to gain practical experience and develop your skills.

Here are some potential avenues to explore:

  • Market Research Firms: Many market research companies offer internship programs tailored explicitly for aspiring analysts. These firms research for various clients and industries, exposing interns to multiple projects and methodologies.
  • Corporate Internships: Numerous companies, especially larger ones, have in-house market research departments. These organizations often offer internships to support their research activities, allowing you to work directly with their marketing teams and gain industry-specific insights.
  • Advertising and Marketing Agencies: Advertising and marketing agencies frequently require market research to inform their strategies and campaigns. Interning with such agencies can expose you to diverse projects and clients, enhancing your understanding of how research drives marketing decisions.
  • Technology Companies: Tech companies, particularly those involved in data analytics and consumer insights, often offer internships for market research analysts. These opportunities can provide exposure to innovative tools, techniques, and datasets, allowing you to develop skills in the intersection of technology and market research.
  • Consulting Firms: Consulting firms may have market research divisions or projects to which interns can contribute. These firms work with clients to provide strategic advice; market research is critical to their decision-making processes.
  • Government Agencies: Government agencies often conduct market research to inform policy decisions, public campaigns, and program evaluations. Interning with a government agency can provide insights into the unique challenges and considerations of conducting research within the public sector.

To find internship opportunities, consider exploring online job boards, company websites, and professional networking platforms and contacting your university’s career services department. Networking with professionals in the field, attending industry events, and joining relevant market research associations or groups can also help you discover internship opportunities.

What Skills Will I Learn As A Market Research Analyst?

As a market research analyst, you will develop various skills to effectively gather, analyze, and interpret data to support business decision-making.

Here are some essential skills you can expect to learn and enhance in this role:

  • Research Design: You will learn how to design research studies and formulate appropriate research questions and objectives.
  • Data Collection: You will acquire skills in collecting data through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and observational studies. This includes developing questionnaires, conducting interviews, and managing data collection processes.
  • Data Analysis: You will gain proficiency in analyzing data using statistical techniques, data visualization tools, and software packages like Excel, SPSS, or R. This involves interpreting quantitative and qualitative data, identifying patterns and trends, and drawing meaningful insights.
  • Market Analysis: You will learn to assess market trends, customer behavior, and competitive landscapes. This includes conducting competitor analyses, market segmentation, and identifying target markets.
  • Report Writing: You will develop strong written communication skills to effectively communicate research findings and insights through reports, presentations, and visualizations. This involves summarizing complex data into clear and actionable recommendations.
  • Critical Thinking: You will enhance your ability to think critically and analytically, evaluate research methodologies, assess data quality, and identify potential biases or limitations in research findings.
  • Problem-Solving: As a market research analyst, you will learn to identify business problems, formulate research objectives, and develop strategic solutions based on data-driven insights.
  • Collaboration: You will develop teamwork and collaboration skills, as market research often involves working with cross-functional teams, stakeholders, and clients to understand their needs and deliver actionable results.
  • Technology and Tools: You will become proficient in utilizing market research tools, software, and technologies to enhance data collection, analysis, and reporting. This may include data analytics platforms, survey software, CRM systems, and visualization tools.
  • Industry Knowledge: You will gain deep knowledge and understanding of the industry or market you are researching, including key trends, regulations, and emerging opportunities.

What are Some Web Resources to Learn Skills to Become a Market Research Analyst?

Several web resources can help you acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.

Here are some useful platforms and websites you can explore:

  • MarketResearch.com: This website offers various market research reports and articles covering multiple industries. It can help you understand different research methodologies, industry trends, and analysis techniques.
  • GreenBook: GreenBook provides a platform for market research professionals and offers industry news, reports, webinars, and online resources. It covers topics such as research techniques, data analysis, and emerging trends in the field.
  • American Marketing Association (AMA): The AMA website provides valuable resources and tools for marketers, including market research-related content. It offers articles, white papers, webinars, and events that enhance your understanding of market research concepts and practices.
  • Research Association (ESOMAR): ESOMAR is a global association for market, opinion, and social research professionals. Their website offers a comprehensive library of resources, including industry reports, webinars, and guidelines for conducting market research.
  • Quirks: Quirks is a website that offers market research articles, case studies, and industry news. It covers various topics like survey design, data analysis, and emerging methodologies. They also have a directory of market research vendors and services.
  • Research World: Research World is an online publication covering recent trends and developments in the market research industry. It provides articles, case studies, and insights from industry experts, which can be valuable for learning and staying updated.

Obtain Certifications

Consider pursuing additional certifications or courses in market research, data analysis, or relevant areas to enhance your knowledge and marketability.  While there is no single universal certification for market research analysts, several reputable organizations offer certifications that can enhance your credentials.

Some popular certifications include: 
  • Certified Market Research Professional (CMRP): This is a widely recognized certification that demonstrates a market research analyst’s expertise in research methodologies, ethics, and data analysis. It signifies a commitment to high professional standards and best practices in the field. Earning the CMRP can enhance your credibility, increase your chances of landing job opportunities, and potentially lead to higher earning potential.
  • Professional Researcher Certification (PRC): The PRC certification validates a market researcher’s knowledge, skills, and ethical practices. It covers a broad range of market research topics, including research design, data collection, analysis, and reporting. Holding the PRC designation demonstrates your commitment to professional excellence and adherence to industry standards.
  • Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ): While not specific to market research, the GAIQ certification is highly relevant for market research analysts who deal with website data and analytics. It showcases proficiency in using Google Analytics, a widely used tool for analyzing website traffic and user behavior. GAIQ certification can be valuable in demonstrating your ability to interpret web data, track consumer interactions, and optimize online marketing strategies.

It’s important to note that, to take the exam and become certified, you must meet eligibility requirements. Some might require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as marketing, business, or statistics and a specific number of years of experience working in market research or a related area.

What’s the Career Outlook for Market Research Analysts?

As of 2021, the career outlook for market research analysts is generally positive, and the field will continue to experience steady growth. Researchers estimate that there will be a 19% growth from 2021 to 2031, which is way faster than any other occupation.

However, please note that economic and industry trends can change over time, so it’s always a good idea to consult up-to-date sources and labor market data for the most accurate information.

Some of the factors contributing to the positive career outlook for market research analysts include:

  • Increasing Demand: With the rise of technology and data-driven decision-making, there is a growing need for skilled professionals who can interpret and analyze market data. Businesses across various industries rely on market research to gain a competitive edge, expand their customer base, and identify new market opportunities.
  • Globalization and International Markets: As companies expand their operations globally, understanding diverse markets and consumer behaviors becomes crucial. Market research analysts with expertise in international markets and cultural nuances can offer valuable insights and are in high demand.
  • Emphasis on Data-Driven Decision-Making: Organizations increasingly rely on data to drive their strategies in today’s data-driven business landscape. Companies seek market research analysts who can effectively collect, analyze, and interpret data using advanced analytical tools and techniques.
  • Technological Advancements: Advancements in technology, such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, are revolutionizing the field of market research. Professionals who can adapt to these technological changes and utilize them to extract actionable insights will likely have strong career prospects.
Market Research Analyst Popular Career Specialties

What Are The Job Opportunities Of A Market Research Analyst?

Market research analysts have a wide range of job opportunities across various industries. Their primary responsibility is to gather and analyze data to help organizations make informed business decisions.

Luckily, there are many other job opportunities within the field of market research analysis that a market research analyst can do:

  • Market Research Analyst: This is the primary role of a market research analyst where they collect and analyze data to identify market trends, consumer behavior, and competitive landscape. They design surveys, conduct interviews, and use statistical techniques to interpret the data and generate actionable insights for decision-making.
  • Market Intelligence Specialist: In this role, you would focus on gathering and analyzing data related to the industry, competitors, and market conditions. You would monitor market trends, track competitor activities, and provide strategic recommendations to support business development, product positioning, and market entry strategies.
  • Consumer Insights Analyst: As a consumer insights analyst, you would delve into understanding consumer behavior, preferences, and attitudes. You would employ various research methods such as surveys, focus groups, and interviews to gather data and then analyze it to uncover consumer insights. These insights help companies develop effective marketing strategies and refine product offerings.
  • Data Analyst: Data analysis is an essential aspect of market research, and as a data analyst, you would specialize in processing, organizing, and interpreting large datasets. You would use statistical techniques, data mining, and visualization tools to extract meaningful patterns and trends. Your findings would assist in making informed business decisions and optimizing marketing campaigns.
  • Market Research Consultant: In a consulting role, you would work with clients from different industries to provide expert market research guidance. You would conduct comprehensive market studies, assess competitive landscapes, and deliver strategic recommendations based on your analysis. Consultants often work on a project basis and collaborate closely with clients to address specific business challenges.
  • Brand Strategist: Brand strategists combine market research insights with creative thinking to develop and implement effective branding strategies. You would analyze consumer perceptions, market positioning, and competitive landscape to define brand identities, messaging, and marketing campaigns that resonate with target audiences.

What Type Of Companies Hire A Market Research Analyst?

Market research analysts are in demand across various industries and sectors.

Some of the companies that hire market research analysts include:

  • Market Research Firms: These specialized firms conduct market research for clients across different industries.
  • Consumer Goods Companies: Companies that produce and sell consumer goods often employ market research analysts to gather insights on consumer preferences, market trends, and product performance.
  • Technology Companies: Technology companies, especially those involved in software development, electronics, and telecommunications, rely on market research analysts to understand customer needs, evaluate competition, and assess market potential.
  • Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Companies: These companies require market research analysts to study patient demographics, evaluate the efficacy of drugs, analyze healthcare trends, and assess market opportunities.
  • Financial Institutions: Banks, insurance companies, and investment firms hire market research analysts to analyze market trends, identify investment opportunities, and assess customer preferences.
  • Advertising and Marketing Agencies: Agencies that offer advertising, branding, and marketing services often have market research analysts on their teams to provide insights for developing effective strategies and campaigns.
  • Retail Companies: Retailers employ market research analysts to understand consumer behavior, analyze purchasing patterns, and identify market opportunities.
  • Media and Entertainment Companies: Media companies, including television networks, film studios, and streaming platforms, use market research analysts to understand audience preferences, gauge viewership, and identify potential content opportunities.

What Is The Work-Life Balance Of A Market Research Analyst?

A market research analyst’s work-life balance can vary depending on company culture, industry, workload, and personal preferences. Generally, market research analysts strive to maintain a balanced lifestyle, but the actual balance achieved can differ from person to person.

The working hours of market research analysts involve standard office hours, 9 am to 5 pm, or similar. However, there may be times when they need to perform additional hours to meet project deadlines or during busy periods. Therefore, this affects how these individuals maintain their work and social life.

However, there is also a lot of flexibility in this job. Depending on the company and specific job requirements, market research analysts may have some flexibility in their work arrangements. This could include options for remote work, flexible schedules, or compressed work weeks. Flexibility can contribute positively to achieving a better work-life balance.

The workload varies based on the organization’s demands and the projects involved at different quarters of the year. There may be periods with high-intensity work where you should meet the deadlines, which could affect your work-life balance. However, there may also be quieter periods with a more manageable workload. Balancing workload, managing deadlines, and effectively communicating with stakeholders can help alleviate stress and improve work-life balance.

Personal factors such as individual preferences, commitments, and priorities significantly affect work-life balance. Some market research analysts may prioritize their personal lives, hobbies, or family time more, while others may focus more on their careers. Individuals must assess and prioritize their needs to achieve the desired work-life balance.

Ultimately, achieving a good work-life balance as a market research analyst involves finding a suitable position with a supportive company culture, managing workload and stress effectively, and establishing personal boundaries to ensure time for personal life outside of work.

Should I become a Market Research Analyst?

If you have a passion for market research, understanding market trends, and delving into the factors that influence consumers’ life decisions, this is the perfect career for you. It’s important to make an informed decision based on your interests, skills, and long-term goals. Notably, there will be over 99,800 job openings for market research analysts each year for the next decade leading to this job increase. Therefore, if you’re looking to invest in a promising career for the future, this is the ideal path to pursue.

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Alyciah Beavers

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