Curious to learn more about the day-to-day responsibilities of a market research analyst? Wondering where the profession is heading over the next several years? Read on for an overview of the career — and how an online Bachelor of Science in Marketing or an online Bachelor of Science in Management can prepare you for this role.
What Does a Market Research Analyst Do?
Market research analysts conduct quantitative and qualitative studies to help companies determine what type of products and services will perform well in the consumer market, and how best to promote these goods and services to boost potential sales. The role is a blend of research, statistical analysis, and social sciences, mixed in with marketing and sales.
A market research analyst will gather data using a variety of methods. They might lead focus groups to gather opinions on a new product, or analyze statistical data to better understand consumer behavior and the current market conditions. In partnership with other researchers, analysts, and decision-makers, they will develop questionnaires and studies that help meet business objectives, complete quality checks throughout the entire process, and generate reports summarizing their findings.
What Tools and Technologies Are Used by Market Research Analysts?
The typical market research analyst’s job involves using and understanding different types of software solutions and digital tools. These might include statistical modeling software, database management systems, reporting tools, data mining programs, financial analysis tools, and more. Analysts will also generate reports and presentations using programs that help visualize large amounts of data.
What Is a Typical Day in the Life of a Market Research Analyst Like?
Full-time market research analysts typically work during regular business hours, but big projects may require some late nights. Although market research analysts traditionally spend their days in an office environment, an increasing number of employers are seeking remote analysts.
Communication is a big part of the job. As a survey by the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) found, 100% of professionals in a market research analyst role use email every day, whereas 70% speak over the phone every day.
Additionally, since much of an analyst’s work is done at a desk, 65% reported sitting continuously throughout the day. But they will also get up and about when collaborating with colleagues or clients and when delivering presentations.
No two days are the same in this role. According to a day-in-the-life overview written by an analyst at GutCheck, a market research company, someone in this role might start the day catching up on emails before diving into project-based work. This could involve programming for a research project, moderating a qualitative study, generating a report in collaboration with a lead researcher, or meeting with the rest of the team. Focusing most of the day’s efforts on one or two large projects is typical for this role.
Who Typically Hires Market Research Analysts?
The work of a market research analyst is highly valued in most industries, given the impact it can have on successful market penetration and the bottom line. Due to the wide range of opportunities, analysts can choose to specialize across specific verticals.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest employers of these professionals are in the field of management, scientific, and technical consulting services. Finance and insurance companies are also significant employers, followed by businesses related to corporate management, wholesale trade, and publishing.
Is Market Research Analysis a Good Career?
The job outlook for the market research analyst position is positive, and qualified professionals will continue to be highly sought after over the next several years. As reported by the BLS, U.S. employment of analysts continues to grow at a rate of 18%, which is significantly faster than average for all occupations. By comparison, the average growth rate for other business operations specialists is just 6%, and the projected growth across all occupations is 4%.
With such a fast rate of change, qualified analysts seeking employment can expect to see an additional 130,300 market research analyst and marketing specialist jobs by 2029. This will bring the total number of opportunities across the U.S. to 868,400. Due to this significant potential for employment growth, O*NET classifies the market research analyst role as a “Bright Outlook” career, meaning it’s a promising position to focus on in a job search.
What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Market Research Analyst?
A career as a market researcher can be highly rewarding and stimulating, especially for intellectually curious and data-driven professionals. Someone who enjoys working on projects and making achievements that help inform strategic business decisions will be highly satisfied given the nature of this type of work.
Independent, driven, and detail-oriented individuals will thrive in the analyst work environment as well. The majority of professionals in the role identify “being exact or accurate” as extremely important, according to O*NET. Moreover, the majority report having “a lot of freedom” to make on-the-job decisions.
The chance to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and clients also makes this an appealing role. Professionals who strive to offer a high caliber of customer service and fill a consultative role will have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate these skills in the workplace.
Finally, the market research analyst field is rapidly growing, and experienced professionals are typically well compensated. This makes it both a stable and dynamic career to consider.
How Much Does a Market Research Analyst Make?
According to the BLS, market research analysts earned a median annual salary of $63,790 as of May 2019. This is about 60% higher than the average salary across all occupations, but roughly 7% less than the average earnings across all business operations specialists careers. However, actual pay rates for these roles will vary based on location, experience level, industry, and other factors.
In the field of market research, the top 10% of earners saw pay rates of at least $122,630 whereas the lowest 10% earned less than $34,350. Market research analysts working in publishing, corporate management, finance, and insurance made more than $71,000 on average, making these some of the most lucrative niches for experienced professionals.
What Skills Does a Market Research Analyst Need?
To thrive in a market research analyst position, an emerging professional will need to cultivate a combination of hard and soft skills. According to O*NET, these are some of the most in-demand job skills:
- Problem-solving and critical thinking abilities are crucial in approaching complex business problems and devising strategic solutions
- Analytical skills are important for processing quantitative and qualitative data
- Communication skills help analysts share their findings with key stakeholders
- Quantitative and statistical reasoning skills are required for assessing numerical data, generating calculations and statistical models, and interpreting the results
- Business acumen is key to understanding market contexts and organizational goals
- Sales and marketing strategy expertise helps analysts situate their work within the bigger picture and drive results
- Software skills are critical as analysts frequently work with various software programs
How Much Experience Does a Prospective Analyst Need?
Employers expect a prospective market research analyst to have cultivated the aforementioned skills over several years of academic and professional experience. For instance, a recent graduate might begin working as a marketing specialist before advancing to an analyst position. However, entry-level analyst roles do exist. Applicants with at least one internship position on their resume will be more competitive than those without any prior hands-on experience.
Early-career market research analysts can also gain professional certifications to demonstrate their knowledge and commitment to the field. Eligibility will typically hinge on having spent several years in the field to gain real-world perspectives and extensive practice with the survey and opinion process. For example, a certain number of educational credits and three years of relevant experience are required to earn the Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) issued by the Insights Association.
What Are the Education Requirements to Become a Market Research Analyst?
Most employers expect a market research analyst to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Some will also list a master’s degree as a requirement, especially for more advanced roles. According to O*NET, 57% of market research analysts had just a bachelor’s degree, whereas 39% had a master’s degree. Only 4% held a post-baccalaureate certificate.
Given the multidisciplinary nature of a market research analyst career, professionals can gain foundational knowledge and skills in a variety of academic disciplines. Typical undergraduate majors include statistics, computer science, math, management, business administration, or marketing.
An online Bachelor of Science in Marketing or an online Bachelor of Science in Management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business prepares students with a varied and rigorous course curriculum.
Students who pursue a bachelor’s degree in marketing at UAB develop essential skills through courses like Business Communications, Management Processes and Behavior, and Marketing Research.
In the management degree program, students undertake courses such as Project Management, International Business Dynamics, and Information Systems. Either focus can pave the way for entry into the field of market research.
Prepare for a Career in Market Research with an Online Bachelor’s Degree from UAB
To learn more about how an online Bachelor of Science in Marketing or an online Bachelor of Science in Management from UAB’s Collat School of Business can open the door to a rewarding career as a market research analyst, connect with a program advisor today.