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Why and How to Start a Career in Market Research

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts the demand for market research analysts from 2018 to 2028 to grow 20% – much faster than average job growth. This is after this job title experienced a 28% spike in employment opportunities from 2008 to 2018. That translated to 70K more jobs. Once you have entered the market research career path there are multiple channels for advancement. A market research analyst can become a market research manager then a market research director and could even move on to partnership or ownership in a market research firm.

Why a Career in Market Research?

Market Research is any set of techniques used to gather information and better understand a company’s target market. Without research it is very hard to accurately understand a product’s users, and without understanding users the path to success is a difficult one. Market researchers use online surveys, interviews, focus groups and observation to develop their insights and analysis. If you are someone who is curious and have a hunger to understand what makes things tick, can move between the abstract and concrete fluidly and make connections between the two, have imagination and creativity without falling for an exotic theory but a valid one, a career in market research is for you.

How to Start a Career in Market Research

The most common way to start a career in market research is through formal education. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 71% of professionals in the field hold a bachelor’s degree, 25% hold a master’s degree and 4% hold a doctoral or professional degree. The degree can be in marketing and market research but also business administration, liberal arts, statistics, qualitative research, computer science, social sciences and communication are viable options. Make sure that the educational content covers the fundamental principles of the industry as outlined by the Marketing Research Association. These include marketing basics, planning the research process, research design, sampling, web survey research, data delivery methods, research management, communicating research results, data analysis, data collection skills and measurement instruments.

This education should give you the market research knowledge and comprehension along with commercial awareness and business acumen to become a storyteller of market research information. “The ability to tell a good story from the analysis and research done is the number one request of our clients trying to hire a market researcher,” says Smith Hanley Associates’ Market Research Recruiter, Lindsey Bartlett.

Want to talk further about a career in market research? Contact Lindsey at lbartlett@smithhanley.com.

 

 

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