A Complete Guide to Career in Market Research

Market Research
Market research as a career can be somewhat of a mystery to many people. Ask anyone what a market research analyst is and what they do, and you’ll get a different answer every time. They have a vague notion of these people calling on people to take a survey or ask questions and determine what people like and are likely to buy. However, this is a very limited view of what market research profession is about. It takes more than just asking people about their likes to be a market research analyst. Below you will find answers to many questions on market research – what it really means to be an analyst and why they do it.

It’s About Research, But…

Yes, market research analysts do research and maybe a bit of market analysis. But, they mostly help their clients or employers figure out who their best customers are, what they want, and how much they’ll pay for what they want.

To do that, analysts use traditional market research methodologies like focus groups and surveys. They also use new technologies that allow them to reach out to a large number of people simultaneously. Geofencing, for example, uses GPS technology to build a virtual fence around a business and deliver targeted ads to people within the “fence.”

Eye-tracking technology monitors how customers’ eyes travel around a website. This is invaluable when trying to gauge the effectiveness of a website’s ad copy. Analysts also put together sales reports on sales trends and consumer demographics and preferences. These reports also inform marketing about buyer needs and buying habits – allowing marketing and sales to better predict growth potential.

They’re Curious Creatures

Analysts are curious about the market. They don’t just report specific facts and figures. They figure out why those figures exist. For example, if an analyst finds that 40 percent of customers buy between September and December, the analyst tries to figure out why that happens, rather than just reporting the 40 percent figure and moving on.

They Understand Data and Client Needs

When you study, one of the things that you learn is how to understand data and client needs. Data is data. It doesn’t come with instructions or rationale. The analyst must figure this all out.

To do this, analysts need to be skeptical about data. They have to always challenge the data they receive, try to poke holes in any story that might support it, try to find out under which market conditions that data breaks down, and try to invalidate data through error analysis.

Secondly, client needs must be understood for a company to maintain a successful marketing plan. Analysts are the people who facilitate this understanding.

They Act As “The Bridge”

Analysts act as a bridge between upper management, non-financial staff, and the data. They translate complex data into understandable information so that a business can make rational and practical business decisions based on that data.

OK, So What Would You Make As A Market Research Analyst?

Market analysts made a median salary of about $60,800 in 2013, according to the BLS. Some of the best-paid analysts are earning more than $114,000. Of course, the lowest-paying analysts earn roughly $30,000. It all depends on your employer and the education, skill, and ability you bring to the table along with where you’re trying to get a job.


Linda Cook has enjoyed a successful career in HR and Recruitment. She likes to be able to share her experiences online. Her insights can be found on a number of different websites relevant to recruitment resources. If you want a change in career, or are just starting out with higher education, take a look at online colleges in California for business courses and more.

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