Advice & insights: masterclasses from industry leaders

Mastering Market Insights: A Conversation with Anna Boiko, Owner of IntroMarket Research

Anna Boiko

Anna Boiko

MARKET RESEARCH EXPERT

www.intromarketresearch.group

  • Market research and analysis are fundamental instruments for each organization and there’s a big potential for growth in this area.
  • A typical day greatly depends on the project lifecycle. Days before the deadline are particularly intense. This is when stress levels rise, and you have to be extra attentive to details.
  • Data analysis and data visualization are foundational professional skills for market research analysts. Learning how to build presentations and dashboards is essential.
  • Focus on developing your storytelling skills. Rather than simply describing a project and your responsibilities, highlight the value you brought as a market researcher.
  • Market research is a lengthy process, and witnessing its results while working on long-term projects is truly fulfilling.
  • The role of Market Research Analyst serves as a fundamental foundation, allowing individuals to learn additional skills and transition into various positions while still working with data.

Can you share the story of how you began your career in market research and what inspired you to enter this field?

“When I look back 10 years ago, my journey started as an episode from a sitcom. I was 21, I moved from my hometown to a big city, I had only $100, and I crashed with my friends who were medical students in their dormitory. In 2 weeks, I found a job as a Market Research Interviewer in an Austria-based consulting company – that was the beginning of my career.

I made appointments and conducted interviews with C-level executives, business owners, and Sales Directors from leading European companies, in order to evaluate market size and market shares of key players. The more I worked there, the more I learned and built a sincere interest in the consulting industry and market research. I wasn’t necessarily planning to go into the market research industry, but I quickly understood that market research and analysis are fundamental instruments for each organization and there’s a big potential for growth in this area. 

I started working in market research when the quote ‘Data is the new oil’ became a catchphrase, when humanity stepped into the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the immersive increase of technological innovation, everyone was talking about decentralization and blockchain, widespread digitalization, and an online-first approach. Observing all these market shifts, while being a market researcher at a management consulting company, made me realize that I want to be a part of it, I want to research innovative ideas and businesses. Years later, I was conducting research in IoT, Digital Healthcare, AI, Blockchain, Fintech and other innovative industries and products. This is really a dream job for me. 

I am so thankful to my first boss who believed in me. 

Your twenties are for risk and a go-get-it attitude and you will find your place.”


Throughout your career, what have been the pivotal moments that significantly shaped your professional path?

“One of the pivotal moments in my career was when I decided to start a business in market research and create a boutique market research agency IntroMarket Research, the name came naturally “introduction to the market”. I left my full-time job and worked part-time as a Data Researcher to minimize risks, dedicating the rest of my time to building the business on the side. This decision proved to be the best I ever made, as it allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. With an entrepreneurial mindset and a passion for market research, I found fulfillment in analyzing consumers and markets on my own terms.

I vividly remember the moment we secured a contract with a major market leader in
management consulting. It brought me immense joy to see our team given the opportunity to collaborate with a key industry player. This partnership lasted for years, during which they
entrusted IntroMarket Research with multiple market research projects in specific regions.
Witnessing such remarkable progress truly boosted our confidence and reaffirmed the value of our work.”


As a co-founder of IntroMarket Research, what challenges did you face, and what accomplishments are you most proud of?

“It is challenging to plan and organize business processes while executing market research projects. Delegating tasks becomes difficult when you are a self-starting business owner.

I am proud that at one point we grew to a team of 5 market researchers serving clients around the globe.

I am also proud that I managed to build lasting relationships with multiple clients, and they return to me when they need a reliable market research service provider.”


What’s Life as a Market Research Analyst?


What does a typical day look like as a market research analyst?

“A typical day starts with calls with clients, catching up on emails, checking the calendar, and planning the working day, setting goals for the day. When there is more than one project, it is important to allocate time for each project to make progress throughout the day. I work remotely and utilize many functional and project management tools.

A typical day greatly depends on the project lifecycle.

Launching a project starts with pre-research and data collection. This involves outlining the strategy, methodological execution, planning, and defining sources. Communication with the client includes discussions of the strategy and receiving internal data, which is privacy-sensitive and involves many nuances under NDA.

In the middle of the project, it is a very busy time. I can spend half of the day writing questionnaires and designing surveys in Qualtrics, and dedicate the second part of the day to analyzing competitors and their ad strategies using SEMrush. The next day, I launch surveys and research trends.

Completing the project involves different tasks. Days before the deadline are particularly intense. Report writing is based on all the work that has been done. I normally allocate around 5 days to compile all findings, extract the most important information, generate insights, and write a report. This is the most intense work period when stress levels rise, and you have to be extra attentive to details.

Every day involves working with collecting, segmenting, or analyzing data, whether it’s big quantitative datasets or qualitative (ethnographic) insights.”


What do you find the most rewarding about the work you do?

“I’m constantly inspired by the people I work with, mostly serving entrepreneurs, business owners, startup founders, and executives. Communicating with individuals like that is uplifting, and their energy is unmatched.

I am very results-oriented in both my personal and professional life. Seeing the outcomes of my work is incredibly rewarding.

In a recent project, I undertook tasks such as segmentation, conducting surveys and interviews, understanding the target audience, identifying weaknesses of competitors, and crafting recommendations for product development based on market research. In a few months, I witnessed a working, two-sided marketplace go live, which was an incredible feeling.

Another example is observing how marketing teams implement the buyer personas I create for building content strategies. Market research is a lengthy process, and witnessing its results while working on long-term projects is truly fulfilling.”


What is the most challenging aspect(s)?

“I would say data collection, particularly sampling and data accuracy. 

When selecting a sample audience, it is crucial to minimize bias and maximize representativeness. As a Market Research Analyst, you often encounter challenges in reaching very specific audiences, e.g., performance athletes or clients of cybersecurity professionals in Illinois. When relying on survey tools with a predefined sampling audience, you must be creative in filtering the right audience by crafting effective screening questions. However, even these methods do not guarantee 100% data accuracy.”


Could you discuss the impact of digital transformation on traditional market research methods?

“I believe digitalization has had a positive impact on the market research industry, improving research methods to be more time-efficient and cost-effective.

Traditional, in-person market research methods require higher labor and financial investments. For example, executing paper surveys is likely to take longer, whereas online survey tools (especially those with sample audiences) can provide results in hours. Platforms like Pollfish and Survey Monkey allow us to reach qualified audiences almost anywhere and at any time.

Digitalization has also introduced Mobile Ethnography (or Digital Ethnography), enabling us to conduct remote field studies. These studies aim to gather the same information as in-person research, with the main difference being that the researcher and participant are in different locations. I have personally conducted hundreds of interviews via platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and WhatsApp with respondents not only from different states but also from different countries.

Additionally, there is now a wealth of sources available online, and datasets can be downloaded or purchased easily. Some market research projects can be executed solely by using web research methods.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of a digital-first approach among researchers.”


Advice for Aspiring Market Research Analysts


For those looking to start a career in market research, what foundational skills would you recommend they develop?

“Data analysis and data visualization are foundational professional skills for market research analysts. It is not enough to simply collect and analyze data; it is crucial to present the market research findings in understandable, easy-to-read reports. Learning how to build presentations and dashboards is essential.

Additionally, I would emphasize a crucial communication skill: Active Listening. This skill indicates a person’s ability to receive and interpret information in the communication process. If you do not understand users during interviews, or if they do not understand questions, it creates bias that you want to eliminate in all possible ways.”


Can you recommend any resources or tools that are indispensable in your daily work as a market research analyst?

“Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are easily shareable and allow you to track progress in real time. Survey tools like SurveyMonkey, Pollfish, and Qualtrics are also valuable resources. For competitive analysis, I utilize SEMrush and SimilarWeb.

Additionally, I make use of AI solutions to simplify time-consuming tasks. ChatGPT is effective for editing emails and reports, while Perplexity provides great sources for market research.

A helpful tip I always employ when using Google for web research, is to filter searches to “News” to ensure I receive the most up-to-date articles on topics I want to explore”.”


How can someone new to the field of market research build a portfolio that stands out to potential employers or clients?

“Completing courses is a great way to demonstrate your skills. On platforms like Coursera, when you finish a course, you typically submit a project as a final assignment. You can then showcase these projects in your portfolio. For instance, completing the ‘Essential Design Principles for Tableau’ course will teach you how to build a Data Visualization Dashboard in Tableau Cloud, which you can include in your portfolio.

Anna Boiko

Consider trying out freelance platforms like Upwork to acquire projects for your portfolio. You can apply for short-term, entry-level market research projects. This not only adds to your portfolio but also allows you to request reviews from clients. Positive reviews can add significant value to your portfolio.

Additionally, while a resume must adhere to a template or ATS format, you can be more creative with your portfolio. Utilize data visualization extensively to demonstrate your skills and show creativity. Add samples of reports, graphs, dashboards, and surveys that you designed. Ensure that the projects you showcase comply with any non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) from previous employers or clients.

If you already have a few projects, focus on developing your storytelling skills. Rather than simply describing a project and your responsibilities, highlight the value you brought as a market researcher. 

For Example:

The insights from competitive analysis and CX research influenced the client to add crucial features to the product, which, in turn, helped the company stand out from competitors and meet customer needs. The product now boasts over 1000 downloads and over 140 five-star reviews.

 Be sure to always emphasize the impact.”


Based on your experience, what is the career outlook for professionals in market research, and how do you foresee the field evolving?

“Technological advancement and economic strength are major drivers for the market research industry. We are witnessing growth in both the market research services market and the market research software market, leading to an increased demand for Market Research Analysts.

Based on my network and observations, I have noticed a trend where market research analysts are transitioning to three main areas:

  • Business Analysis and Data Analysis
  • Marketing
  • Product Development & UX Research

The role of Market Research Analyst serves as a fundamental foundation, allowing individuals to learn additional skills and transition into various positions while still working with data.

Furthermore, as AI continues to reshape the Data Science industry, there is a growing demand for AI Researchers.”


Reader Q & A with Anna Boiko


“You are detail-oriented and naturally curious, with interests in economics, psychology, and human behavior.”


“I do not see mistakes; instead, I observe the different experiences people have, which are similar to those in other industries. As a newcomer, you may feel vulnerable and question yourself. It is easy to get discouraged by colleagues or bosses. It may be controversial, but I recommend starting to work at a small company because you get to communicate more with company leadership and learn about important business processes. Smaller companies usually work on smaller projects, which can be beneficial for you because you will have the chance to work on many projects while also learning the importance of closing deals and attracting customers. You see how your work impacts the company’s success.”


“I constantly enroll in different courses related to my field. I can’t recommend Coursera and LinkedIn Learning enough. From Design Thinking to Tableau Software, these are skills you can learn by yourself and implement in your work right away.

Leverage social media. Connect and follow industry experts, such as UX researchers, Qualtrics professionals, and market research business owners. Social media channels like LinkedIn or X are great sources to build your professional network and stay updated with the latest trends.

Read blogs from HubSpot, Accenture, Statista, McKinsey, Deloitte. Big companies greatly invest in informative and educational content; it’s no wonder as they shape the market and dictate the rules.”


Anna Boiko

About the Author

Read more articles by Anna Boiko



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