Market analysts, sometimes known as market research analysts, help clients make marketing decisions by assessing their promotional needs, gathering pertinent data and analyzing the results. They evaluate demographics, competition, prices, distribution channels and marketing outlets to develop marketing and sales strategies for existing and future products or services. This position requires knowledge of standard research methodologies, data analysis techniques and marketing procedures.
As a market analyst, you develop a research plan, analyze research results and offer marketing strategies. You meet with clients to ascertain their marketing goals. Then, you collect customer demographic information (e.g., gender, income, age) and market data (e.g., competition prices, distribution channels, industry sales) through primary research methods (such as questionnaires, surveys and focus groups) and secondary research (information from industry associations, statisticians and marketing experts). From this data, you generate reports that analyze customers, competition and the industry using charts, graphs and explanatory text. The reports offer insights to the client about product potential and marketing strategies.
Market analysts must have excellent written and verbal communication skills for interacting with clients. You also need experience performing research studies from start to finish. A market researcher must be familiar with advanced statistical analysis and research methodologies, along with common computer programs (such as PowerPoint, Word and Excel), online survey tools (such as ConfirmIt and Survent) and syndicated data sources (such as Nielsen or The NPD Group). This job also requires time management, critical thinking and problem solving skills to complete marketing research in a timely, precise manner.
Many market analyst positions require a master’s or doctorate degree in business administration, market research, mathematics, statistics, social sciences or a related field. Entry-level positions may be open to you with a bachelor’s degree in economics or a related field, along with job-related experience. Coursework should concentrate on economics, marketing, mathematics, research and statistics.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median wage for market research analysts was $29.36 per hour or $61,070 per year in 2008. Some market analysts receive bonuses based on sales performance. Total salary and compensation will vary depending on education, experience, employer size, industry type and location.
The BLS predicts a much faster than average growth rate of 28 percent for market analyst positions from 2008 through 2018. Many companies will require market research services as they hope to expand the markets of existing products or develop markets for new offerings. As globalization of the marketplace continues, businesses also need market analysts to research foreign markets and global competition. You will have the best job prospects with a master’s or doctorate degree, along with several years of experience.
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