This article details how to become a market research analyst.
Market research analysts are behind the success of the products and services patronized by consumers. They are responsible for determining what a company should sell, who their right target audience should be and in what ways to promote their business offerings to consumers. In addition, they research on the customer demographics and create market profiles.
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The main task of a market research analyst is to design surveys that will help companies find out the needs and preferences of their potential customers. They are in charge of training and supervising the people who will interview and conduct the surveys either through the telephone, personal interviews or online. As such, you must have strong oral and written communication as well as analytical and math skills to help you become effective in your job.
A market research analyst’s communication skills will be helpful when supervising teams to do surveys and interviews and gather data. You will also need them when presenting your recommendations to the management with regards to the kind of project to implement and its outcome after the conduct of a survey.
If you would like to pursue this career, you will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Some companies, however, may require you to complete a master’s degree such an MBA or one with focus on marketing or accounting to move up to a higher position. Degrees that you can choose from are marketing, business, statistics, mathematics, communications, computer science and survey design. Make sure you improve on your computer skills as well so you’re not left behind in the use of software applications relevant to designing surveys, data analysis and creating technical reports.
A background in quantitative and qualitative analysis is also essential. Quantitative refers to estimating the size of the market and the profitability of the products while qualitative factors cover customer preferences and competition. With these skills, you will be able to help clients make important business decisions.
Advanced statistics courses will also be helpful. You should be able to learn about correlation, regression, experimental design and sampling methods.
An internship is also vital in completing your bachelor’s degree or even after graduation. This will expose you to the real world and get first hand information from the market research analysts themselves. An early practical experience in conducting surveys and analyzing data will go a long way in ensuring your effectiveness in the job. Internships in the financial industry or companies that sell consumer products provide a great experience.
Once you’re working in the field, it may also benefit you to pursue continuing education courses. This will enable you to gain advanced knowledge particularly with regards to the latest methods of developing and conducting surveys and analyzing data gathered from them. You may also enroll in a certification program provided by the Marketing Research Association.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that job opportunities for market research analysts will experience growth by 28 percent faster than other jobs that require a bachelor’s degree. This projected growth will continue until 2018.
So now that you know how to become a market research analyst, your next step is to decide if this a career path that would suit you well.