What is a Market Research Analyst
Have you always felt you had a knack for knowing what products will do well and what people would pay for them? If so, you might have a lot more in common with a market research analyst than you think.
Researching trends in sales and turning data into digestible information for a business are the essential responsibilities for a market research analyst. In this article you will learn how to become a market research analyst. The requirements to be a market research analyst will prepare you to have the ability to complete the following five responsibilities:
- Research similar companies in their marketing and sales trends and use this data to inform the relative position of your company.
- Create research questions around the potential appeal of a product and accompanying methods to answer those questions.
- Conduct research on potential consumers that is informed by literature reviews.
- Use statistical software to analyze data such as SPSS, Minitab, SAS, R, or STATA.
- Take numbers and other data and convert it to informative visual graphs and tables.
Working Hours for Market Research Analysts
Market research analysts work a typical 8-5 or 9-5 office job Monday thru Friday. They may work for either individual companies or for a consulting firm that does market analysis for many different companies.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common industries for market research analysts to work in are management, wholesale trade, finance and insurance, and manufacturing.
The day is broken down into checking and responding to email, attending essential meetings, devise surveys and other data collection strategies to inform market research, turn this data into presentations, and talk with clients.
Top Skills for Market Research Analysts
Problem Solving skills. Market research analysts must be able to take the information that the client wants and devise the best way to obtain this information.
Presentation skills. Market research analysts must present to coworkers, management, and clients. They must be able to take raw data, analyze it, and turn it into meaningful information. In addition, they must be able to design presentations that are clean and concise and present this information clearly.
Decision making and evaluative skills. Market research analysts will have autonomy in deciding what information is needed to solve a problem. They need to make sound decisions based on research and evaluate existing literature for relevance.
Assessment skills. Assessing work is an ideal way to reflect on the effectiveness of a recent project and iterate work processes for the next project.
Project management skills. Virtually all of the work that market research analysts complete is in the form of projects. They are posed with a problem or question, have to devise a way to solve the problem, and explain their solution.
Becoming a Market Research Analyst
Step 1: High School Requirements
High School Courses for Market Research Analysts
If you are interested in becoming a market research analyst, there are high school classes that can give you a competitive advantage.
One class is computer science or computer programming. This class might not be offered at all high schools, but if it is you should take it. Market research analysts must be knowledgeable in database languages and having programming skills is a huge bonus.
The second class is statistics. Market research analysts will be making decisions and recommendations based on statistical tests everyday. Understanding probability and inferences will be a huge help when engaging in the tasks that market research analysts encounter.
The third class is graphic design. Even if you end up working on a team with a graphic designer, having a baseline level of knowledge with graphic design programs such as Photoshop or Illustrator will make you an effective team member.
Formal Education Requirements
Market research analysts will need a bachelor’s degree for virtually all of the positions. Completing a master’s degree is preferable for many market research positions that require an extensive amount of original or technical research.
Pursuing a bachelor’s degree provides the perfect environment for practicing critical thinking and problem solving. In addition, you can obtain an internship through a program to demonstrate practical experience to a potential employer.
Master’s degree programs will provide you with an additional amount of expertise and a way to gain practical experience through working on capstone type projects. In addition, the complexity of research expected at the master’s level represents the ill-structured research that is encountered in the field.
With the recent focus on big data and predictor analytics, a master’s degree demonstrates the capability to engage with this level of data.
Step 2: Get an Undergraduate Degree
What Bachelor’s Degree to Choose
There are a range of bachelor’s degrees that can be pursued with the ultimate goal of becoming a market research analyst. In addition to a targeted major like marketing research, you can choose to major in statistics, computer science, or communications.
Statistics will prepare you with the analytic skills that are needed in this position. In addition, many of the courses will use statistical programs to analyze data and these programs will also be used in the field.
Computer science will focus on data analytics, programming, and database languages. These are all extremely important skills for marketing research analysts to have. Someone who possesses these will be a valuable team member and will be able to troubleshoot simple problems without referring to the IT department.
Communication majors focus heavily on the effects of media in society and how information is presented. Perceiving information and understanding what people mean when they answer research questions are extremely important capabilities for a market research analyst. Communication courses will teach those skills.
Step 3: Get a Graduate Degree (Optional)
MS in Marketing Research & Analytics 1- 2 years
If you are interested in pursuing a master’s degree you must have 120 credits of undergraduate education. It is preferable to have an internship. Purdue University requires a video interview upload, response to an essay question, two recommendations and official transcripts. Applicants must take the graduate management admission test, but a GRE may be considered as well.
Curriculum (40 Credits)
- Data Collection Methods
- Introductory Statistical Methods for Market Research
- Consumer Behavior
- Qualitative Research
- Introduction to Econometrics
- Executive Seminars
- Advertising & Promotion Management
- Applications of Market Research Techniques I
- Market Research Project I
- Marketing Planning and Strategy
- Applied Multivariate Methods
- Executive Seminars
- Discrete Choice and Conjoint Analysis
- Applications of Market Research Techniques II
- Market Research Project II
- Database Marketing & Customer Relationship Management
- Executive Seminars
The average cost of an MS in marketing program is $18,800- $37,265.
Step 4: Get Certified
To receive the marketing manager’s certification issued by the Marketing Research Association, you must have three years of industry experience, have continuing education credits in the two years prior to application, and pass an exam.
Professional Researcher Certification (PRC)
3 years of industry experience + continuing education credits in the two years prior to application.
$350 (members) – $450 (non-members)
How Long Does it Take to Become a Market Research Analyst and How Much Does it Cost?
Option 1 : Bachelor’s Degree
|$54,040 – $133,672
|$54,390 – $134,122
Option 2 : Master’s Degree
|$54,040 – $133,672
|2 years to 3 years
|$46,800 – $79,176
|6 years to 7 years