Some jobs, like artist and musician, are designed for people with natural talents. With others, individuals must learn certain things before they are considered qualified. The role of a market research analyst, who gathers information regarding consumer needs and behaviors, falls into the second category. Anyone who has wondered how to become a market research analyst needs look no further for the answer.
Market research analysts deal mainly with data and people. The data portion of the job involves developing and distributing surveys in different formats and then compiling and analyzing the results. Therefore, any statistical classes should be helpful, especially those that cover correlation, regression, sampling methods, and experimental design. SAS business analytics software is commonly used so a good working knowledge of it is recommended.
Whether in school or not, look for work opportunities that provide exposure to analytical projects. Internships or part-time jobs with marketing research or consulting firms, government agencies, or financial institutions should provide valuable experience. The work should balance the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the position and offer experience with both written and verbal analysis. Both work and studies should provide opportunities to utilize key marketing frameworks like breakeven analysis, the 4Ps (product, price, place, and promotion), and the 4Cs (company, customer, competitor, and context).
A highly competitive, but very rewarding, avenue is to land an internship as a strategy consultant. Strategic planning and equity research are two other subject areas that provide practical experience analyzing qualitative and quantitative data to address business problems or improve corporate performance. Professional experience doing corporate market research or working for a market research firm provides exposure to the range of responsibilities required of a market research analyst.
Adding this educational and work experience to the resume should make it much easier to find a market research analyst position. After accepting an entry level analyst job, individuals should increase their knowledge through practical experience and continuing education, pursuing certification if desired. On the job, they should ask questions and take initiative to illustrate their interest and willingness to learn.
Now that we have explained how to become a market research analyst, it should be clear whether or not this is the job for you. Not everyone can do well in this career, as strong quantitative skills, attention to detail, patience, and good written and verbal communication skills are necessary. Individuals who possess these traits, the relevant education, and some relevant practical experience will go far.