Back in the day, many moons ago, young me, my sister and my folks were asked to participate in some market research for a cheese spread company who wanted to try out some new cheese spread flavours on the general public; Cheese and Bacon in a toothpaste style tube springs to mind. It was a fun couple of weeks trying and scoring new cheese spread flavours. Whether any of these products came to market I am not too sure, however it was the collective results and the Market research that was undertaken that would have given the marketing company and cheese spread company the answers they were looking for. So (cheesy introduction aside) this is the introduction to our article on “How to become a Market Researcher”.
Market Researchers work across a spectrum of industries, both within the public and private sector to help organisations make informed and valuable decisions from the data that they collect and gather from the general public or paying customer.
Generally Market Researchers work for Marketing or Market research companies (rather than for the cheese spread company directly) and will either undertake quantitative (statistics and percentages) or qualitative (analysing opinion) research on behalf of organisations, businesses or institutions to help measure opinion, values and beliefs.
For entry level roles it is generally expected for applicants to hold a degree. Whilst a statistical, mathematics, social science type degree can obviously be advantageous, marketing companies will be looking for evidence of strong analysis, observational and report writing experience and skills. The subject of your degree can also become matchable to the type of industry you work in, for example a degree in Politics could result in a career in political market research and so on. A language degree or advanced language skills would certainly be an advantage – especially when the market research involves international work. A Masters – especially as it is so research and report intensive, will also help your cause.
Like most careers these days, irrespective of a degree, it is the experience that you also hold that will help your job application. Therefore it is always worth considering how you can gain valuable market research experience to add to your application or CV. Work placements (during or after University),internships, volunteering, and contacting Market research firms to offer your services would be good first steps. Although the chances of you earning a fortune at these early stages are slim – the experience you gain will be valuable in establishing practical and proven experience and skills.
It stands to reason, but excellent attention to detail, strong numerical, analytical, written and communication skills are a given. If you are messy, forgetful and not great with organising, a career in market research might not be ideal. It would also be advantageous to have an interest in the study of behaviours, people and collecting results. Good interpersonal skills and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team are also ideal.
How to Become a Market Researcher
Many leading research companies like Ipsos Mori have their own Graduate training schemes and it is worth spending some time researching who, depending on where you are prepared to live, offers such schemes. It is also worth taking some time to look at the Market Research Society website. Companies will advertise Market Research based roles both directly and via Specialist recruitment agencies – so it is also worthwhile doing a search online for “Market Research + your location” to find out what is available where you live.
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