How Do I Become a Market Research Analyst?

If you pay close attention to detail, have an analytical nature and enjoy opportunities to think critically about economic trends, you might wonder how to become a market research analyst. For businesses to succeed in this economy, they need to know their market, or understand what customers want based on sales trends, customer surveys and the success of marketing strategies. Market research analysts fill this valuable role in businesses, helping them determine which products will bring in the most money and stay profitable despite changes in the economy and consumers’ needs.

Market research analysts create questionnaires and surveys to gauge the opinions of consumers on new products and their reactions to marketing campaigns. They observe the products, strategies, and sales of their competitors. Market research analysts examine trends across their industry to predict what products, services, and marketing campaigns will be most successful. Their analyses rely on the use of statistical principles and computer software. After evaluating statistics, market research analysts present the data in formats that can be easily interpreted by managers, including written reports and charts. These results help businesses decide what new products to pursue developing, how to price their products or services, which marketing strategies are most likely to be successful, and how to structure sales promotions.

To secure even an entry-level position, aspiring market research analysts must earn a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. They often major in mathematics, statistics, computer science or – in schools that offer the specific course of study – in market research. Coursework in the social sciences, business administration, research methods and marketing may also be useful for preparing for a career in market research analysis. Increasingly, market research analysts must possess an advanced degree in order to enter high-level positions or perform research on exceptionally technical markets. This advanced degree can also enhance a candidate’s marketability and provide an opportunity for earning a higher salary. Another way for candidates to give themselves a competitive advantage in securing their desired position is by applying for the Marketing Research Association’s Professional Researcher Certification. Certification requires a minimum of three years of experience, a passing grade on a professional examination and a commitment to continuing to further their education.

Market research analysts earned a median salary of $60,570 per year as of 2010, the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. In specific industries, market research analysts earned higher median annual salaries, including $70,970 in the information industry, $65,750 in management and $61,710 in wholesale trade. Market research analysts also enjoy rapid job growth, with an estimated 41 percent increase in career opportunities from 2010 to 2020. This especially positive job outlook is significantly better than the 14 percent growth expected for all occupations across the United States. If you have an interest in business trends and the ability to think analytically and draw conclusions, knowing how to become a market research analyst could be the start of an exciting new career path.

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