A Market research analyst makes decisions about which type of products or services will be advertised and sold to specific groups of consumers. The following article will discuss what it takes to become a marketing analyst and tips on how to prepare for this challenging role.

What You Should Know About Market Research Analysts

Personality Characteristics That Fit Well With This Role

A marketing research analyst can work for any industry, company, organization or institution. An individual applying for this position will have a natural leaning toward problem-solving, attention to detail, market campaign designing, product development and critical and logical thinking. He or she will be able to interpret big data from various sources. They'll also effectively incorporate their ideas to optimize a consumer's buying capability and buying experience.

Average Salary

The average pay scale for a market research analyst starts at a little below $40,000 but can reach to over $100,000 per year. Most high-paying jobs can be found on the West Coast where demand for market research analysts are extremely high such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Requirements to Becoming a Market Research Analyst

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Job Qualifications

Becoming a market research analyst will require a college degree. Once an individual grasps the basics of statistics and information science, it will enable him or her to develop stronger performance skills as they move into an internship position.

Advancing to the Next Level

The majority of market research analysts have a bachelor's degree. However, more and more employers are requiring that their job candidate have at least a master's degree to meet the growing demands of big data. A few individuals will even decide to get a PhD to fulfill a broader range of duties.

Although becoming a professional certified market research analyst (PCA) is optional, it is highly recommended. Training and certification can be obtained through the Insights Association (formerly known as the Marketing Research Association) of which candidates qualify based on experience knowledge. Students who qualify must pass their exam, become a professional organization member, and have at least three years of opinion and marketing research experience. In order to keep their certification current, certified market research analysts must complete 20 hours of industry-related continuing education courses every two years.

Recommended Skills to Become A Market Research Analyst

Recommended majors to pursue are computer science, math, economics and business administration as well as specialist degrees in consumer psychology, marketing research, and communications. With so many programs to choose from, it can be dizzying trying to join those that are the most practical. As a tip, choose courses that specifically focus on developing quantitative skills.

Technical Skills Required as a Market Research Analyst

Technical expertise is a must for this field that includes a set of required skills but could include more skills as marketing demands change:

  • Computer programming.
  • Database querying languages and SQL databases.
  • Knowledge of statistical analysis software.
  • Data mining and data visualization.
  • Business intelligence and reporting software.
  • Survey/query software.

Business Skills

Aside from a series of technical skills, a successful marketing research analyst will also possess a number of business skills. Depending on the industry chosen, an individual will need to accurately:

  • Analyze and process a huge amount of big data and deliver the results in a way that's logical and manageable.
  • Stay keen to consumer behavior to create practical marketing strategies.
  • Communicate ideas to an organization that are easy to follow and execute.
  • Master how the target industry collects, analyzes, and uses data to reach a target demographic.

Job Growth Predictions

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Out of all the occupations projected to rise in demand in the near future, market research analyst positions appear to be in the lead. Jobs under this category are expected to increase by about 20 percent in the next seven years! This type of growth is the direct result of more and more industries choosing to use market research and big data to adapt the demands of their consumers. For example, industries can measure consumer behavior and see how well consumers like their goods and services through digital feedback. Moreover, market research is an invaluable business tool that industries can use to reduce costs, maximize profits, and improve in one or more areas. It is also the basis for deciding store locations, product placements and service offerings for the consumer.

Standing Out From the Crowd

The biggest challenge facing industries today is adapting their marketing strategy to fit changing consumer trends. A heads up for anyone looking to become a market research analyst: it's best to get a master’s degree in marketing, marketing research, business administration, and statistics. Be sure to add these details in a work portfolio. These accomplishments provide a greater chance of landing a job in the market research analyst field. Those who don’t have statistical and data analysis skills or other work-related experience may experience rejection more often.

Summing Up

Marketing research analysts can play a huge role in product development and key business decisions using a combination of skills. He or she can then provide the best strategy and best pricing of goods and services based on consumer behavior, market trends, and competitor activities. Taking communication and social sciences courses such as economics or consumer behavior are especially valuable.

Although marketing research is offered by several schools' graduate programs, many analysts decide to earn degrees in statistics and marketing, and/or a master's business administration (MBA) degree. Managerial positions or technically-oriented market research analyst positions often require a master's degree. However, having one or more degrees is typically more appealing. An employer looking for a high-level of expertise will definitely notice a portfolio that posts three years or more performance competence first.

Are you pursuing this career as well? If you have any tips you'd like to share with your fellow readers, we'd love to hear about your experience with becoming a market research analyst.