Market Research Analyst Job Description, Salary, and Skills

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Do you want to put your research and data analysis skills to work as a market research analyst? Here's helpful career information, including a brief job description, education and certification requirements, employment outlook, and salary information.

Market Research Analyst Job Description

Market Research Analysts assess consumer preferences in order to help organizations decide how to shape, advertise, and market their products and services.

Analysts utilize surveys, focus groups, and interviews to gather data. They present their findings through charts, graphs, and other visual means to executives and clients in order to help them make ​better informed decisions about product introductions, modifications, and marketing campaigns. 

Market Research Analysts interpret the data they have collected and ​organize this information into statistical tables and reports. Their analyses and research create a visual of industry trends and of competitors so that organizations can predict how products and services will fare in the marketplace.

Many Market Research Analysts work for consulting firms that are hired on a contract basis. Others work directly for employers as part of the marketing team at consumer and product firms. The industries that most frequently employ Market Research Analysts and provide the highest wages include management, scientific, and technical consulting services, computer systems design services, and advertising / public relations services.

Education Requirements

Typically, market research analysts have a bachelor's degree in one of the following: marketing, market research, statistics, computer science, math, social sciences, business administration, or communications.

While an MBA or other advanced education is not required, it is usually desired for leadership positions.

Certifications are voluntary but strongly recommended, as they help demonstrate professional competency. The Marketing Research Association provides training and certification to those who qualify. 

Market Research Analyst Skills

Strong math and analytical skills are essential for market research analysts.

They should have a solid understanding of the industry they work in, and be comfortable speaking in front of strangers and presenting results to internal team members and management.

Here are lists of market research analyst skills for resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Required skills will vary based on the job for which you're applying, so also review our list of skills categorized by job and type of skill.

List of Market Research Skills

Market / Data Analysis: These are the most common job-specific hard skills that you will find under the “Responsibilities” headers of job descriptions.

  • Ability to Build and Maintain Analytical Models
  • Analyze Consumer Demographics, Preferences, Needs, and Buying Habits
  • Analyze Data to Draw Both Qualitative and Quantitative Conclusions
  • Design Research Methodology
  • Develop and Implement Sampling Plans
  • Devise and Evaluate Methods for Collecting Data (Surveys, Questionnaires, Opinion Polls)
  • Forecast Future Product and Buying Trends
  • Gather Consumer, Competitor, and Market Condition Data
  • Hands-On Experience with Strategy and Competitive Analysis
  • Help Determine Potential Markets, Product Demand, and Pricing
  • Help Market Products or Services
  • Measure Effectiveness of Marketing Programs and Strategies
  • Monitor and Forecast Marketing and Sales Trends
  • Passionate and Knowledgeable about Strategic Analysis
  • Provide Industry Benchmarks
  • Sound Understanding of Statistical Concepts, Research Methods, and Design
  • Translate Insights into Actions to Support Company Initiatives
  • Understand Data from Dimensional Models 

Technical Proficiencies: Here is the most frequently requested software listed by employers seeking to fill market research analyst roles.

  • Basic SQL Experience
  • Experience with Microsoft PowerPoint and Word
  • Experience with Statistical Software Platforms (SPSS, WinCross, SAS, Market Sight)
  • Familiar with Social Media, Online, and Mobile Research Techniques
  • Use Statistical Software to Analyze Data
  • Working Knowledge of Tableau

Communications: Although market research involves much independent gathering and analysis of data (and thus may be an attractive career field for highly intelligent, analytical introverts), analysts must nonetheless be able to present their findings, both orally and in writing, to others.

  • Build Solid and Strategic Relationships with Business Leaders and Clients 
  • Convert Findings into Written Reports
  • Develop Questionnaires and Discussion Guidelines
  • Maintain and Improve Reports to Answer Business Questions
  • Prepare and Present Results to Management and Clients
  • Present and Convert Research into Concise and Actionable Recommendations
  • Provide Actionable Research Results to Inform Key Business Decisions

Soft Skills: Soft skills are the interpersonal (people) skills (things like empathy, listening skills, and motivational talents) that enable market analysts to work well both independently and on teams. 

  • Fast-Paced, Independent Thinker
  • Manage Multiple Projects with Quick Turnaround
  • Strong Analytical and Critical Thinking Skills 
  • Work Well with All Levels of Management, Internal Staff, Clients, and Vendors

Market Research Analyst Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Market Research Analysts earned an average of $63,230 in 2017. The bottom 10% earned $34,510 or less and the top 10% earned at least $122,770.

The industries with the highest average salaries in May 2017 were in publishing, $73,070, management of companies and enterprises, $72,680, and finance/insurance, $79,190. The lowest salaries were in wholesale trade, $60,890, and management, scientific, and technical consulting services, $60,800.

Employment Outlook for Market Research Analysts

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for market research analysts are expected to grow by 23% from 2016 - 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The trends towards using data to understand consumer preferences for products and services and to target marketing to specific consumer niches are chiefly responsible for this projected growth.