Pros and Cons of a Marketing Research Analyst Career
A marketing research analyst gathers data used in setting sales prices, product marketing and advertising campaigns. Continue reading the pros and cons to help determine if this is the right career for you.
|Pros of a Marketing Research Analyst Career|
|High pay potential (top ten percent earned a median salary of about $116,000 in 2014)*|
|High potential for job growth (32% increase between 2012 and 2022)*|
|Many opportunities in various industries*|
|Job opportunities available may continue to be plentiful in a weak economy*|
|Cons of a Marketing Research Analyst Career|
|Strong competition for candidates that have completed a bachelor's degree program*|
|Schedules may be stressful due to deadlines*|
|May be required to work overtime*|
|Some computer-based work may require you to work in solitude*|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
As a marketing research analyst, you can be expected to study the performance of a product or service in a particular environment. In this field, you may be tasked with using software for statistical analysis, conducting consumer surveys and interviews, collecting data, adapting data to easy-to-understand visual representations and presenting data with the intent on altering marketing programs. Your research may be used to determine future pricing and sales. Even after your data analysis is implemented, you may be required to monitor continued sales statistics and consumer response to make additional marketing campaign adjustments.
Career Outlook and Salary
According to the BLS (www.bls.gov), this field is expected to grow much faster than average at 32% between 2012 and 2022. This growth may be caused by an increased reliance on market research, an improvement of services, competition between companies and new fields utilizing market research. As of May 2014, the BLS estimated that marketing research analysts earned a median salary of about $61,000.
The BLS indicates that most marketing research analyst positions require a bachelor's degree. While there isn't a specific degree required, degrees in mathematics, marketing, statistics, computer science and business administration can lead to a career in this field. Regardless of your background, you may want to take courses in social sciences to understand consumer psychology and economics. Many of these programs also offer internships that can lead to professional development in a related field.
To be successful in this field, you may need to be able to sift through large amounts of data while making sense of data connections and trends. You may also be in charge of developing analysis strategies, interpreting data results to clients and relating previous data trends to current results. Understanding how to work with sales, marketing and business departments may also be beneficial. The following general traits may also be sought after by employers:
- Strong communication and presentation skills
- Good computer skills
- Ability to work well alone and with others
- Organizational and multi-tasking skills
Job Posting from Real Employers
According to the BLS, many positions can be found with companies offering professional, technical or scientific services. If you don't want to work for a big corporation, you can join the small percentage of self-employed workers in this field. You may also find careers with firms that specialize in consulting and market research. The following job listings were posted in May 2012:
- A financing company in Virginia was looking for an analyst able to forecast marketing trends and use customer database systems.
- An advertising company in California was looking for someone familiar with data analysis and statistical methodologies.
- An education research company in Minneapolis searched for someone familiar with using Internet search engines and determining market segment needs.
- A defense company in Florida was searching for an analyst able to write detailed research reports and conduct surveys.
How to Make Your Skills Stand out
If you would like to demonstrate your knowledge and experience, you may want to consider earning the Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) from the Marketing Research Association (MRA). To qualify to take the PRC examination, you need to have at least three years of experience in a related field, 12 education hours in a related field and a membership with the MRA. Your written exam may cover research and legal topics, including qualitative and quantitative techniques, analysis skills, questionnaire design, report writing, government affairs, research techniques and ethics. To renew your certification, you need to complete and submit 20 continuing education hours every two years.
The BLS states that completing a master's degree program can improve your chances of being hired. If you enroll in a marketing research master's degree program, you can expect to learn how to design and implement research initiatives, develop marketing strategies, collect data, build customer relationships and develop research proposals. If you are interested in different areas of study, you may want to consider marketing, statistics or business administration programs. After completing a related master's degree program, you may qualify for leadership or technical research positions.
Alternative Career Paths
If you would like to focus on researching the distribution and production of goods and services, you may be interested in a career as an economist. This profession may include duties like advising governments and businesses, forecasting future trends using historical data, predicting how the economy can shape business performance and suggesting ideas to increase business performance. Although most employers require you to have a degree from a graduate program, some employers may hire you with just a bachelor's. According to the BLS in May 2011, economists earned a median salary of about $91,000.
As a public relations specialist, you may help companies and organizations maintain a positive public perception. Other tasks may include drafting public speeches, assisting with fundraising, writing press releases, communicating with consumers, fulfilling information requests and setting up corporate interviews with the media. To work in this field, you may need to complete a bachelor's degree program with a focus in business, public relations, communications or journalism. In May 2011, the BLS estimated that public relations specialists earned a median salary of about $93,000.