What Does a Market Research Analyst Do?
While market research analysts still conduct surveys and focus groups, the field is changing rapidly as technology enables businesses of all sizes to collect massive amounts of data. From discount cards to online behavior trackers, there are many statistical tools to gather information about consumers’ buying habits—and businesses need analysts who can interpret that data into actionable insights. It’s an expanding field, with employment for market research analysts expected to grow 23% through 2026, and a 2018 median salary of $63,120.1
What exactly does a market research analyst do? That’s a multifaceted question, since the field is growing and many types of roles are needed. Here are a few areas you might focus on as a market research analyst:
Investigating New Ways to Collect Data
Many businesses already have data collection methods in place through online shopping carts, customer loyalty programs, and surveys. But with new tech tools surfacing all the time, market research analysts must constantly assess their clients’ goals, identifying the type of data that is most helpful in achieving them—and finding ways to collect that information from consumers. Some developing methods of data gathering include eye tracking (monitoring a viewer’s eye movements when they look at a web page or advertisement) and new types of online surveys that capture subtleties of the respondent’s behavior as they interact with the forms.
Not all market research analysts will engage in data mining, but it’s become an important piece of the puzzle. With so much gathered information to sift through, statistical analysts must find patterns within data sets and use them to draw conclusions. Analysts typically use statistical modeling software, such as Tableau or R, to create visual representations of their findings. Predictive modeling uses data to anticipate outcomes, making it particularly useful for market research—using these predictions, businesses can anticipate changes in the market and adapt their approach to offset potential problems.
While quantitative research using statistical data plays a leading role in today’s marketing scene, gathering firsthand feedback from customers and test groups remains useful. Such activities include leading focus groups, conducting one-on-one interviews with customers, observing shopping behavior in a store, and analyzing online product reviews. When integrated with statistical analysis, qualitative market research can provide a deeper understanding of the psychology behind customer decisions—and a glimpse into their needs and desires.
Interpretation and Storytelling
While market research analysts spend most of their time researching competitors and analyzing customer behavior, they must also know how to step back and interpret what they’ve learned. Taking into account the client company’s big-picture goals, the analyst paints a picture of the business’s role in the market and plots a way to get from point A to point B. This ability to “translate” statistical and qualitative research findings, making them accessible to business decision-makers, is key to success in market research.
If you’re interested in pursuing or furthering a career as a market research analyst, consider focusing on your education and earning a master’s degree. A master’s degree in marketing that emphasizes development of both data analysis and soft skills is a great choice. Walden University’s MS in Marketing includes courses on social and digital media tools, storytelling, and marketing strategy, giving students a well-rounded knowledge of the field. Plus, earning a degree from a reputable university like Walden is something that will enhance your credentials for a lifetime.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering MS in Project Management and MS in Marketing degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
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