What is a Market Research Analyst?
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A market research analyst is someone who gathers market intelligence and presents it in a way that customers or colleagues can understand. All the research done by market research analysts results in dense reports and complicated spreadsheets which capture insights into the market and future opportunities (examples are reports on sales trends and consumer demographics, preferences, needs, and buying habits). Not all customers have the time to wade through these. Analysts explain the research in a way that works for the customer — at conferences, in private briefings, through comment pieces, and articles.
How to Become a Market Research Analyst
What does a Market Research Analyst do?
Market research analysts help companies figure out what to sell, who will buy their products and services, and how to promote them. They design surveys that are used to help discover potential customers' preferences. These marketing professionals then train and supervise interviewers who conduct these surveys online, by telephone, or through interviews with individuals or focus groups.
In addition to taking surveys, market research analysts are responsible for keeping track of client industry trends and general marketing trends, as well as forecasting these markets to provide companies with proposals and information of the products, services, promotions and all relevant data to help management in their marketing decisions.
There are now new tools that analysts can use, such as geofencing, which uses GPS or similar technology to build a virtual fence around a business and offer targeted advertisements to a customer’s phone as he or she walks through a store. Eye-tracking, which monitors how your eye travels around a website, is another technology market research analysts use.
The process of collecting and analyzing data is logical and quantifiable; figuring out why target audiences might be attracted to a particular product is not. This is why some of the most successful market analysts seem to understand human emotions and psychology as much as they understand logic.
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How to Become a Market Research Analyst
Most market research analysts will need to earn at least a bachelor's degree in marketing research or a related discipline like statistics or mathematics. Top research positions may require a master’s degree. Coursework should include business, marketing, statistics, mathematics, and survey design. An internship with a market research firm can be a good way for students to gain some professional experience in the field. Working as a survey taker may be another good way for students to gain experience.
Market research analysts may receive certification from the Marketing Research Association. This certification, which is based on education and experience, must be renewed every two years. In order to qualify for renewal, one must take continuing education classes.
Research analysts may have a background in the industry that they cover, or might join market intelligence firms as a junior analyst or researcher. For those that want more reward and seniority, there will be opportunities in custom consulting projects or in establishing new research practices, but many are content to stay within their sector, building their knowledge and credibility with customers.
Market research analysts should have both analytic skills and an innate curiosity about people. Taking business management and statistical courses and becoming familiar with different software programs used for data analysis will also be helpful.
What is the workplace of a Market Research Analyst like?
A market research analyst is a key member of the marketing team that develops great new products. The position runs across all industries that need research. They usually work in marketing departments of corporations or other institutions and often report to marketing or marketing research managers.
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