Market Research Analysts
|Recommended Degree Level||Bachelor|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||392,740|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||5.6%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||19,180|
- Entry-level market research analysts often obtain a bachelor's degree in a marketing-related field.
- Many find success with tangentially related degrees in fields like mathematics, statistics, economics or even finance. Others major in social sciences like sociology and anthropology.
- In order to be considered for lucrative senior-level positions, aspiring market research analysts may need to combine a master's degree in market analysis, statistics, or business administration with several years of on-the-job experience in a related field.
What you study:
Aspiring marketing specialists are expected to cover the following areas of study:
- General business
- Marketing strategy
Summarizes the work of market researchers. Produced for the US Dept. of Labor.
A Day in the Life
When you decided to become a marketing specialist, you were pleased to discover that you were entering one of the fastest-growing industries around. Although you love the work that you do every day in its own right, it doesn't hurt that you enjoy an envy-inducing level of job security.
Market research analysts work in many different fields, and they're often retained as in-house researchers by the larger companies for which they work. While you knew a few aspiring researchers who went into business for themselves or took jobs with advertising firms, you decided that this approach wouldn't provide the security that you desired.
Accordingly, you chose to take a job with a well-known clothing company that's based close to where you attended college. You generally work on a full-time basis, with occasional overtime stints close to project deadlines.
Since you're not currently operating under a tight deadline, you arrive at work at 8:15 a.m., greet your colleagues and proceed to your cubicle. Although your firm's lead market research analyst has her own office, you're still working in the bullpen. Personal connections are quite important in this industry, however, and you're confident that you're making a great impression on your superiors.
Today, you'll continue to work on a long-running project that aims to compile a range of survey and focus-group data into a broad "snapshot" of a particular target demographic. Earlier in the month, you helped to compile a series of questionnaires that asked recipients about their clothing purchasing habits over a pre-determined period of time. Separately, other members of your team conducted focus-group research to gauge consumers' responses to specific styles and fashion choices.
It's now your responsibility to tabulate all of this information and use powerful statistical analysis software to find trends and correlations within the data. It's a painstaking process, but you're confident that it will pay off for the rest of your firm's marketing and design team. The trends that you spot will help the company make money-saving decisions about what, and to whom, it should be marketing.
After a quick lunch break, you switch gears and begin adding to a report that you've been working on. Along with your co-authors, you've been investigating the effectiveness of a particular advertising campaign. In the report, you use sales figures in the campaign's target locations as well as more focus-group data to show that the push has been successful. You just hope that your superiors feel the same way.
Just before 5 p.m., you gather up your belongings and bid your coworkers good evening. Tomorrow, you'll be ready to put the finishing touches on your report and present it to your firm's entire marketing team.
Certifications and Licensing
Marketing specialists aren't required to carry state-issued licenses or attend regular training classes. However, many employers prefer to hire analysts who have obtained a Professional Researcher Certification from the Marketing Research Association. In fact, this is more or less required for senior-level positions. To obtain a PRC, analysts must complete a course of study and pass a rigorous exam. In addition, they must belong to a recognized market research professional organization and have at least three years of on-the-job experience.
Full-time versus part-time and work location:
Market research analysts generally work on a full-time basis in an office environment. During "crunch times," workers may be expected to work well into the evenings or arrive early to meet project deadlines. In addition, market research analysts who work for dedicated marketing firms may be required to travel or work weekends in order to attend focus-group meetings. On the other hand, self-employed marketing analysts can work from home and may be able to structure their hours around family and social obligations. However, these workers generally must work at least 40 hours per week as well.
All of these websites provide useful information for aspiring market research analysts:
- Marketing Research Association -- As one of the foremost market analysis trade organizations, the Marketing Research Association provides aspiring market research analysts with professional development tools, continuing education resources, job listings and general career information. It also serves as an advocacy group for established market research analysts.
- U.S. Department of Labor -- The U.S. Department of Labor maintains a comprehensive career outline for those who wish to become market research analysts. The primer contains information about education requirements, licensing strictures, salary expectations and 10-year job growth outlook. Although this site does not contain a dedicated jobs board, it provides links to trade associations that do offer such services.
- Association of American Geographers -- Although the Association of American Geographers might not seem to have a direct connection to the market analysis field, students who train in geography-related sub-fields often go on to become marketing analysts. As such, the organization maintains a detailed career primer that contains information about salary trends and training requirements as well as out-year job outlook predictions. It also links to a dedicated jobs board.
- National Association for Retail Marketing Services -- NARMS is a trade organization for retailers and marketing analysts who work in the retail sub-field. In addition to career-related information and dedicated job listings, the organization offers professional development resources and information about continuing education to its members. It also connects established market research analysts directly with retailers.