An increasing number of companies across varied industries rely on market research and statistical data to make informed decisions and carry out effective plans. Consequently, this has made the market research analyst role indispensable in many organizations.
Students who are interested in how to become market research analysts should know that educational investment is crucial. In addition to completing the right degree programs, they also need to develop the right set of skills and gain sufficient working experience.
What Does a Market Research Analyst Do?
Market research analysts help companies understand target markets through in-depth studies of market trends, market conditions, and consumer buying behaviors. Comprehensive understanding of these areas allows companies to devise the right products and identify which consumers are likely to purchase those products at certain prices. Market research analysts may accomplish this through questionnaires, interviews, and market analysis, among other strategies. These professionals are also skilled in researching and analyzing competitors.
Steps to Becoming a Market Research Analyst
There are essential steps to becoming a market research analyst, including obtaining the right bachelor’s degree and considering a master’s degree for possible higher-level positions. Market research analysts also need several years of work experience to become certified as professional market researchers.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Students can begin their paths by earning a bachelor’s in marketing, bachelor of business administration, or bachelor’s in psychology. Each of these degrees, in different ways, provides valuable insights for market research analysts that they can later use to assess consumer buying behavior and preferences. Specifically, a degree in marketing is valuable since the coursework incorporates business theories and policies, marketing and consumer behavior. A bachelor’s in business administration provides a foundation in financial accounting, economics, business law, and statistics. A degree in psychology, on the other hand, allows students to study human nature and behaviors from perspectives that incorporate fundamental concepts such as cognition, multiculturalism, critical thinking, and development through the lifespan.
Step 2: Build On-the-Job Experience
Advancing to the role of market research analyst usually requires at least a few years of working in the industry in a role such as marketing assistant or account representative. This helps gain access to greater job opportunities – such as becoming a market research analyst ‑ as well as qualify for particular certifications. Market research analysts usually work full-time, although certain job demands, like time-sensitive marketing campaigns, may require them to work additional hours.
Step 3: Earn a Master’s Degree (Optional)
To qualify for higher-level positions, market research analysts should consider pursuing a master’s degree. There are degrees that focus specifically on market research analysis; however, professionals may also choose to get a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
A master’s in business administration can also serve as a valuable tool in obtaining the Professional Researcher Certification, or PRC. It’s administered by the Insights Association and to qualify, applicants need to take and pass a test, complete up to 12 hours of courses, and possess at least three years of work experience.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that certified researchers who plan to renew their credentials, which is required every two years, must obtain 20 hours of continuing education.
What Skills Does a Market Research Analyst Need?
In addition to obtaining the right education and building job experience, market research analysts need specific soft skills to succeed in the field.
The ability to analyze huge amounts of data is a must, considering the research and analysis components of the job. In terms of choosing the right marketing strategies for any given company, critical-thinking abilities also come into play.
Finally, market research analysts need to possess exceptional communication skills. Those interested in becoming market research analysts need to develop oral and written communication skills for client interactions and corporate presentations.
Market Research Analyst Salaries and Job Outlook
According to the BLS, the median salary for a market research analyst is $63,230. Several factors contribute to the precise salary that can be attained, such as a person’s overall professional experience and location of the position. In addition, the BLS projected 23 percent growth for this job from 2016 to 2026. This rate is significantly higher than the 7 percent average employment growth for all other occupations within the same 10-year period. By 2026, the BLS estimates that as many as 138,300 additional market research analyst jobs will be created.
Several factors contribute to this impressive growth in market research analyst jobs. Companies are relying more on data and research to effectively target consumers. The ability to reach the right customers results in the development of more effective marketing and advertising strategies, leading to an increase in business profits.
The BLS furthermore reports that job applicants with strong backgrounds in statistics and data analysis, as well as those with a master’s degree in marketing or business administration, are likely to have better employment opportunities.
Start Your Journey to Becoming a Market Research Analyst Today
There is no better time than now for students to invest in their futures. A bachelor’s degree in business or psychology and an MBA all serve as steps in the right direction to becoming a market research analyst.
For students with a passion for learning marketing research, statistical data, and human psychology, a career as a market research analyst might be a good choice. Maryville University offers an online Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, an online Psychology Bachelor’s Degree, and an online Master’s in Business Administration. These rigorous academic degree programs fit into students’ busy lifestyles, which may include family obligations and full-time jobs. The best way to start a journey toward an exciting career as a market research analyst is to take the first step today.