How To Become A Market Research Analyst: A Complete Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 7 November 2022 | Published 22 November 2021

Updated 7 November 2022

Published 22 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The primary responsibility of a market research analyst is to help businesses communicate effectively with their target consumers. Market research analysts use data-driven strategies to determine a company's customer base and how to most effectively sell them their products or services. If you are interested in marketing strategies, data analysis or consumer behaviour, you might consider a future as a market research analyst. In this article, we discuss how to become a market research analyst, including the work experience, education and skills most sought-after by hiring managers for these positions.

Related: What Is a Research Analyst? (Duties And Qualifications)

What Is A Market Research Analyst?

A market research analyst helps companies determine the target consumers for their goods or services. Market research analysts examine market trends in relation to their target audience's shopping patterns and demographics. Their research work helps companies optimise their products, choose their advertising channels and determine price points.

Marketing research involves gathering specific data about a company's existing customers, current marketing conditions and the company's existing competitors. Marketing analysis happens when professionals use this existing data to make well-reasoned predictions about who would purchase a particular good, how to advertise the product to the target clients and the pricing range. Market research analysts use both of these skills to create effective strategies for marketing and selling a wide variety of products.

Related: What Is Market Share And How To Increase It In Business

How To Become A Market Research Analyst?

Follow these steps to learn how to become a market research analyst:

1. Pursue higher education in a related field

Many employers require market research analysts to have at least a bachelor's degree in an area, such as marketing. A marketing degree helps potential marketing research analysts learn about marketing principles, consumer behaviour patterns, macroeconomics and business communications. Some marketing research analysts prefer to earn degrees in social sciences, such as psychology or business administration, to better understand consumer habits. Other marketing research analysts study mathematics or computer science to gain more technical knowledge of data and economics.

Those interested in higher-level or administrative market research analyst positions might be interested in pursuing a master's degree. Some universities offer post-graduate programs specifically in marketing research and analysis. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) might also be a useful degree in obtaining a leadership role as a market research analyst.

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2. Gain foundational work experience

Most market research analyst jobs are not entry-level positions. Companies generally prefer to hire market research analysts with experience in the marketing industry. Consider working first as a marketing research intern, marketing assistant, account representative or in a related position that can provide you with the required industry knowledge to apply for market research analyst jobs.

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3. Pursue certifications

Certificates that are relevant to market research can prove to a hiring manager that you possess the skills and industry knowledge to operate successfully in a market research analyst role. Certification programmes have shorter durations and cost a fraction of the academic cost of a formal degree. Many online platforms offer certification courses in market research and analytics that you can take at your convenience and pace. The Certified Market Research Analyst certification from the International Institute of Market Research and Analytics (IIMRA) holds value in both local and international markets.

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What Skills Do Market Research Analysts Require?

Market research analysts require a range of soft and hard skills to perform well in their job roles. If you are interested in a career in market research and analytics, you may consider developing the following skills:

Communication skills

Market research analysts interact with a wide variety of professionals and consumers as a part of their routine work. They are responsible for performing research, generating inferences and communicating their findings to clients, consumers, technicians, designers and sales and marketing teams. They also liaise with top management officials and senior stakeholders and benefit greatly from being able to communicate complex ideas and concepts in ways that a wide audience can understand.

Critical thinking

Market research analysts work with both qualitative and quantitative data and require critical thinking capabilities to infer conclusions and gain insights from the data they analyse. They also help companies develop business strategies and critically assess the feasibility, benefits and probable outcomes of each strategy. They design questionnaires and surveys to collect data from user groups of various sizes and demographic compositions.

Since inference and informed speculation are central to the work of a research analyst, they require critical thinking ability to evaluate the efficacy of their actions, suggestions and professional decisions. For example, an analyst working for a technology company may design a user survey to identify the specific concerns and needs of their consumers. Surveys could be of different forms and the analyst critically assesses the efficacy of each format to determine which one to proceed with. They take crucial decisions to ensure that the data and resources gathered translate into a useful business strategy for the company.

Related: Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions and Examples

Computer literacy

Market research analysts may use a variety of computer programs to store, process and access data. They use statistical tools to speed up analytical processes. They also require a working knowledge of presentation tools and spreadsheets to present their findings and strategies in comprehensive ways.

Research analysts also use social media platforms to conduct surveys and reach out to a wider audience. They work with the marketing department to identify target groups online, conduct surveys and develop strategies to increase sales or roll out new products. Effective computer literacy and a working knowledge of relevant software greatly simplify the work of professionals in this field.

Organisation skills

Analysts in this domain may handle a variety of tasks on a daily basis and work on more than one project at a time. They require good organisational skills to manage their resources, delegate tasks, schedule workflows and keep track of deadlines. You can excel in this job role by effectively managing your time between tasks and multitasking. Organising your workspaces, resources, data, tools and physical documents can help you save time while switching between two or more tasks.

Analytical skills

Since analysis lies at the core of a market research analyst's work, they may benefit greatly from developing their analytical skills. They develop and execute complex methodologies that enable them to generate useful pointers from the data and problem statements that their clients provide. They may also manage a team of analysts and researchers who process large volumes of data to generate useful insights for business development and sales growth.

Related: Essential Research Skills (With Benefits And How To Improve)

Market Research Analyst Work Environment

Market research analyst roles are usually available in metropolitan cities and global economic hubs, which are home to large business institutions. Analysts typically work in businesses, incubators, design labs, financial institutions and marketing agencies. Many market research analysts choose to specialise in specific geographic regions and industries, as it improves their earning potential. For example, an analyst could be working in Mumbai, focusing on a target group of retiree consumers in South East and South Central Asia for a global healthcare company.

Market research analysts typically work out of offices and may travel to meet clients and liaise with other professionals like marketing leads and product managers. They also assume an advisory role in many companies. Analysts often work under tight deadlines and hence, may work overtime when the need arises. Most companies typically offer this as a full-time work opportunity for this position. Some market research analysts may also work as independent contractors on a freelance basis.

Is A Market Research Analyst An Effective Career?

Market research analysts find employment in both junior and senior positions within companies. These professionals possess a niche skill set and specialised knowledge of marketing, analytics and business development. Hence, their job role often has high earning potential and security. Analytics in the domain of market research is a fairly competitive field and professionals often update their skills and certifications to stay relevant and up-to-date in a dynamic market.

Newly emerging investment ventures in developing countries can provide work opportunities to professionals who have expertise in the geography, language and culture of those markets. The field of market research continues to become more complex and there is evergreen demand for trained professionals with specialisations. This line of work offers good career growth prospects for qualified professionals.

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Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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