Career Profile: Market Research Analysts
Suppose that you or a friend wanted to start a business selling cookies or taking care of pets. You would want to know as much as possible about your potential customers before you started. A market research analyst could help. If you enjoy talking with people and working with numbers, this could be the right job for you.
Market research analysts work to understand the public, especially related to what they buy and why. If a scarf manufacturer can sell blue scarves but not orange ones, for example, a market research analyst might be able to find out why. If someone wants to open a pizza restaurant in an area where similar food is already available, the analyst could help the person decide if there are enough customers to make it worth the effort.
Making these kinds of decisions can be difficult without accurate information. Market research analysts try to get the information and compare it to other data to see if it is accurate. They call people to ask for their preferences, go from door to door to conduct surveys, check government databases for information about the people in an area, and otherwise try to find out as much as they can about the situation.
Large amounts of information are not very useful without someone to interpret the data. Analysts use their knowledge and experience to decide on the importance of different pieces of information and then put their conclusions into a report for the client. For the pizza restaurant issue, for example, they might look at similar neighbourhoods to see how many Italian restaurants have survived there.
Market research analysts often conduct surveys online, over the phone, or in person to find the information they need. For the pizza restaurant, they might contact people in the neighbourhood to see how often they eat out, how much they are willing to pay, and anything else that might be relevant.
Sometimes, this stage involves walking long distances through a neighbourhood or stopping people to talk to them in malls or parks. The pandemic has reduced the amount of face-to-face contact, and now much of the work is done through the phone or online. However, market research analysts should still be prepared to go outside in bad weather. People might also be rude or too busy to answer questions, making market research difficult.
Once the information is ready, the next step is to write a report for the client. This stage might also involve meeting with the managers to explain what the numbers really mean and how various factors affect the business. Sometimes, these managers and business owners ask for advice on the best choice to make. The market research analyst might not be very well qualified to give this type of advice, but it is helpful to have some knowledge that is useful for the client.
Market research analysts can work with government or private businesses. Often, they work for a series of clients, but some large companies have enough money to hire a full-time analyst. A four-year bachelor’s degree in marketing or statistics from a university is usually necessary, and experience in the field is helpful. In high school, courses in English and mathematics are useful. Depending on where they work and their level of experience, market research analysts earn between $39,000 and $71,000 per year.
A job as a market research analyst can be intense but rewarding. If you enjoy statistics and talking to people about what they like, this might be the job for you.
Glassdoor. “Market Research Analyst Job Description.” https://www.glassdoor.ca/Job-Descriptions/Market-Research-Analyst.htm.
Job Bank. “Analyst—Market Research in Canada.” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/outlook-occupation/3869/ca;jsessionid=F9A1964262A199A664BF4CA51DEE1376.jobsearch76.
Payscale.com. “Average Market Research Analyst Salary in Canada.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Market_Research_Analyst/Salary.
Princeton Review. “Market Researcher Careers.” https://www.princetonreview.com/careers/92/market-researcher.
University of Manitoba. “Market Research Analyst.” https://umanitoba.ca/career-services/career-planning/explore-occupations/market-research-analyst.