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Market Researcher


Market researchers conduct surveys and analyses of products and trends in the marketplace and produce statistical results that help shape our everyday lives. They study and predict the potential future sales of many goods and services. Before any product emerges into the market, they attempt to determine through surveys and focus groups if people want and need such items. They look at issues like competition, cost and marketing or distribution methods when conducting interviews and surveys.

Market researchers use this information to figure out how to market a product or service, where to do so and the general public feelings towards such an item. They also create surveys that question public feelings towards political and social issues, such as public support for the President or recycling programs.

Market researchers develop policies to promote industrial and commercial business investment and tourism in both urban and rural areas. They undertake both qualitative and quantitative research therefore they must organize and collect opinions and reactions to products and services and then analyze and interpret the data. Some surveys may show that only teenage girls are responsive to a brand of lipstick or that the proposed cost of a new car is too expensive. Once the information has been synthesized, they write reports and make appropriate recommendations to clients.

Market researchers must provide relevant information to their clients in their reports, such as marketing strategies for 20-something males or a good location to open up a new coffee shop. Those working on the social political side of market research must present clear data in order to help determine future policy.

Researchers must be able to predict future activity and need for products or services. Therefore, they must be on top of the game, keeping up to date on the latest market and social trends. In fact, they are the trendsetters and must sometimes know what is going on before the general public. Often they are faced with people who sabotage studies or untruthfully answer questions so they must be aware of what questions to ask people and what to look for in answers.

Market researchers should know a great deal about human behavior and thinking in order to conduct different interview methods and be aware of how they will relate to the results needed. It is also crucial to have some knowledge and understanding of the businesses or industries they research. That is why market researchers are encouraged to come from such diverse backgrounds, they are experts in the synthesizing information on the marketplace.
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Northcentral University

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  Interests and Skills  
Market researchers must possess superior communication and interpersonal skills since a majority their work deals with interviewing people. They should have the ability to think logically so that they can design good surveys and questionnaires. They must possess sound judgment and problem-solving skills, have the ability to understand a variety of viewpoints and backgrounds, assume leadership roles, be well organized and manage time properly.

Market researchers should enjoy working with people and taking responsibility for research and written reports. They must be organized, accurate and be able to interpret statistical information. Market researchers need to able to work well under pressure, and juggle many tasks within a project. Finally, market researchers need to be understanding, patient and good at listening in order to interpret what people are tying to say. They must be able to work well under pressure and keep information private. They must also be culturally sensitive in order to relate well to people of different ethnicities and backgrounds.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Develop policies and administer programs to promote industrial and commercial business investment
  • Conduct social or economic surveys on local, regional or national areas to assess development potential and future trends
  • Plan development projects with representatives of a wide variety of industrial and commercial enterprises, business associations and government agencies
  • Respond to enquiries from members of the business community concerning development opportunities
  • Review commercial or industrial development proposals and provide advice on procedures and requirements for government approval
  • Design and conduct surveys and questionnaires and analyze data on the buying habits and preferences of wholesale or retail consumers
  • Conduct comparative research on marketing strategies for industrial and commercial products
  • Develop social and economic profiles of urban and rural areas to encourage industrial and commercial investment
  • May supervise the survey staff
  • Write and present reports and recommendations to clients
  • Write research proposals and reports on how a client can use the information collected
  • Market researchers usually work in offices. Their hours are often long and irregular because they may be conducting a focus group at night or organizing a survey at a shopping mall on the weekend. They may travel to clients' offices for meetings, to hold focus group sessions or travel overseas for training or to attend conferences. Market researchers sometimes work in teams on projects in order to maximize production and results. A typical day may differ from one market researcher to another as some "crunch numbers," meaning that they compile statistical information, and work on the more scientific side of the business whereas other are more involved in running surveys and dealing with people.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Market researchers work in both the public and private sectors of their industry. They often work for government agencies, or directly for a politician, in marketing firms and business associations, for a large firm that provides services to clients on a contract basis or they may also work for themselves as consultants, taking on clients as a small business.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Market research analysts have the potential to work in human relations departments, marketing departments or public relations firms because of their strong communication skills and innovative thinking. Some can work in scientific statistics firms, work in urban planning, information technology or consulting. With experience, a market researcher can build up a client base and then open up their own consulting firm, taking upon smaller projects. Those working within a large marketing firm or business can also move up in the ranks to more senior managerial positions.

  Educational Paths  
Market researchers who work in product and service research must have an undergraduate degree in economics, business administration, marketing, commerce or a related field. For research in social and political trends, a bachelor's degree in sociology, psychology or a related social science or humanities field is recommended. Nevertheless, people come from all sorts of diverse backgrounds that enter the market research field because they must constantly work on different areas of society and culture.

These days, it is more helpful to have a graduate degree in one of the above in order to get a good job. Market researchers with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or PhD will earn more money. It is recommended that prospective students take courses in mathematics, statistics, economics and computer science. New information technology is always emerging therefore market researchers with a strong information technology background will have an easier time findng employment. It is necessary to continually upgrade skills and new researching methods as a part of the job.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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