Marketing plays an essential role in many companies because it is responsible for selling the product or service by driving interest. However, this field involves a complex and detailed set of tasks that rely heavily on data to influence strategies.
Working closely with creative, advertising, sales and executive leadership, market research analysts are responsible for managing detailed information on an organization’s industry, competitors, consumers and products. They use data analytics to answer questions about consumer behavior and product preferences as well as recommend solutions to increase sales and customer satisfaction.
Having the right educational background can provide the skill set needed for you to work with data and influence a company’s strategic decisions. An online Master of Science in Business Analytics can help you develop the necessary knowledge to excel in a market research role while giving you the flexibility to learn on your own schedule. Such a program may explore how big data impacts businesses worldwide and needs to be managed on a daily basis. Combining information analysis with business acumen, an MS in Business Analytics can help prepare graduates to succeed in the growing field of analytics.
A typical day in the life of a market research analyst
A large focus of a market research analyst’s work revolves around answering questions about consumers: who they are, what they want, why they want it and how much they’re willing to pay for it. Determining answers to these questions serves the overall goal of driving a business’ profitability and sustainability through increased sales, more effective marketing and stronger customer loyalty.
Data is the driving force behind these answers. Market research analysts delve into consumer data, marketing trends, purchasing behavior and much more in order to determine which information is relevant to their business’ goals.
Daily activities for market research analysts revolve around aggregating data in order to help their teams build successful marketing strategies. This can include:
- Analyzing consumer data and creating digestible graphs, charts and communications to share data with team members
- Researching their organization’s market share, consumer sentiment and other marketplace data
- Evaluating competitors to understand their marketing efforts, consumers and pricing practices
- Consulting on marketing strategies and initiatives based on the data they’ve collected
- Monitoring the performance of marketing programs to guide current and future strategies
A closer look at the professional landscape of a market research analyst
The median wage for market research analysts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $62,560 per year. Many market research analysts have undergraduate degrees in marketing, communications or a related field of study. However, a Payscale survey of professionals in this type of role found that more are reporting degrees in analytics-related disciplines.
The BLS reported that growth in this profession is projected at an above-average rate of 23 percent from 2016 to 2026 as companies continue to focus understanding their consumers and marketing initiatives.
Market research analyst is just one role in the larger marketing and analytics field. Opportunities for career advancement are possible with the appropriate amount of knowledge and work experience. The most direct promotion involves moving into market research manager, according to Payscale. This is similar to the analyst, except it is in a managerial capacity with a team of direct reports. There are also analysts who have reported promotion into marketing manager, marketing director, vice president of marketing and other senior-level roles. Having earned a graduate degree has the potential to positively impact your qualifications when applying for such high-level promotions.
Becoming a market research analyst
A combination of relevant work experience and the right education can help you obtain a market research analyst role. While most hiring managers require a bachelor’s degree for this position, many may prefer a master’s degree due to the significant focus on data analysis, information technology and decision-making.
The right set of skills is important for any prospective market research analyst. For example, advanced knowledge of computers and electronics is a must. Market research analysts are expected to use technology to gather, analyze and disseminate data. They are also expected to share that data in digestible graphs, charts and communications that are understandable by all employees within a company, not just those who are already well-versed in marketing and analytics.
Other important skills for a market research analyst include:
- Analytics: Professionals must be able to identify a problem, use data to understand that problem and then present multiple solutions. Strong analysis and critical-thinking skills are a must.
- Communication: Working with so many different departments and teams requires effective communication skills that appeal to a variety of individuals at all levels of the company, especially when sharing complicated data and presenting to other departments and leaders.
- Decision-making: Analysts must use data to decide which marketing efforts will be most effective. Their choices will have a substantial impact on business operations and profitability.
Market research analysts should also infuse their work with creativity to bring innovative and imaginative ideas to life through their data analysis. This is accomplished by staying on trend with the industry and adopting an always-learning approach to marketing best practices.
Learn more about your potential career as a market research analyst
Becoming a market research analyst requires a solid foundation in technical and professional skills. Earning a graduate degree relevant to working with data may help prepare you for success. The online Master of Science in Business Analytics from the W. P. Carey School of business at Arizona State University offers courses such as data mining and applied analytics to help students learn how to create business advantages across markets and industries, preparing them for careers in the growing analytics industry.