Market Research Analyst

Job Description

Researcher talking to elderly man on the doorstep
Andrew Bret Wallis/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Market research analysts help companies figure out what to sell, to whom to market their products and services, and how to promote them. To help them make these decisions, they design surveys that discover potential customers' preferences. These marketing professionals then train and supervise interviewers who conduct the surveys online, by telephone, or through in-person interviews with individuals or focus groups.

Quick Facts

  • Market research analysts earn a median annual salary of $63,230 (2017).
  • 595,400 people are employed in this occupation (2016).
  • They work in a variety of industries. Many do market research for their employers while others work for consulting firms that specialize in providing this service to other companies.
  • Most market research analysts work full-time during regular business hours. Overtime is common.
  • The job outlook for this occupation is excellent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment will grow much faster than the average for all occupations between 2016 and 2026, and thus classifies it as a "Bright Outlook Occupation."

Job Duties and Responsibilities

Job announcements on revealed market research analysts typically have the following job duties:

  • "Manages all aspects of marketing research projects including identifying objectives, designing methodology, creating questionnaires or polls, implementing, and analyzing research and reporting results"
  • "Collaborates with cross-functional marketing and product management teams to establish and refine business cases that support the offering definition, revenue forecast, business case, and go-to-market value case"
  • "Translates data into summaries and analysis with conclusions that deliver on objectives and support proactive insights and recommendations"
  • "Uploads summaries of critical information identified to company database, and ensures the data is readily available to all parties within the company"
  • "Analyze existing data and incorporate into marketing strategy"

How To Become a Market Research Analyst

If you want to become a market research analyst, you will need to earn at least a bachelor's degree in marketing research or a related discipline like statistics or math. Regardless of what degree you decide to pursue, your coursework should include business, marketing, statistics, mathematics, and survey design. Some jobs may require a master's degree.

What Soft Skills Do You Need?

To be successful as a marketing research analyst, you must have specific soft skills, which are personal qualities you were born with or acquired through life experience. They are:

  • Verbal Communication: Excellent speaking skills will allow you to present the results of your research to clients and colleagues.
  • Listening: Strong listening skills are essential to understanding your clients' needs and the scope of the projects on which you are working.
  • Writing: You must be able to present written reports of your research.
  • Reading Comprehension: You will have to be able to understand a large number of documents, including research reports and survey responses.
  • Critical Thinking: As a marketing research analyst, you will have to decide between different strategies to market products. Your ability to compare and contrast different approaches to make an educated decision is essential.
  • Problem Solving: You must be able to detect problems, and come up with solutions.
  • Analytical Skills: Your research will yield a lot of data that you must be able to analyze, understand, and from which you must draw conclusions. This part of your job will also require you to be detail oriented.

Advancement Opportunities

After getting experience assisting more seasoned market research analysts, your employer will assign you to your own projects. To advance to a position with greater responsibility, you will have to take continuing education courses. This will allow you to keep up with the newest methods of developing, conducting, and analyzing surveys and other data. An advanced degree can help open up more opportunities.

What Will Employers Expect From You?

Employers indicate their requirements in job announcements on They prefer job candidates with the following qualifications:

  • "Ability to learn quickly and willingness to help out wherever needed"
  • "Expertise with Excel, PowerPoint, and Office related software"
  • "Ability to articulate complex concepts into language that can be understood by business partners"
  • "Proven ability to manage multiple projects"
  • "Maintain a high level of flexibility and adaptability, reacting to changes and delivering solid results with the appropriate level of urgency at all times"
  • "Strong project management, prioritization, and organizational skills"

Is This Career a Good Fit for You?

Conduct a self assessment to find out if your interests, personality type, and work-related values are compatible with this career. Market research analysts should have the following traits:

  • Interests (Holland Code): IEC (Investigative, Enterprising, Conventional)
  • Personality Type (MBTI Personality Types): ENFP, ENTJ, INTJ, ENTP, INTP
  • Work-Related Values: Achievement, Support, Working Conditions

Take a Quiz: Should You Become a Market Research Analyst?

Occupations With Related Activities and Tasks

Description Annual Salary (2016) Educational Requirements
Buyer Buys goods and services for a business or organization $53,340 Bachelor's degree in business, finance, or supply management
Fundraiser Raises money for organizations through events and fundraising campaigns $54,130 Bachelor's degree

Management Analyst

Consults with businesses to improve their efficiency or increase profits $81,330 MBA
Logistician Help companies manage their supply chains (the process of getting goods to customers) $74,170 Bachelor's degree in business, systems engineering, or supply chain management

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,  Occupational Outlook Handbook; Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor,  O*NET Online (visited April 9, 2018).