Working in Market Research.
The UK is one of the world’s largest employers of Market Research professionals and hosts many of the most highly regarded and prestigious Market Research Agencies. These agencies work with a broad range of organisations and help them in their business strategy.
Market research is viewed as an essential tool for businesses and public sector organsiations when gauging the views of its customers, employees and also the markets. It is an invaluable tool for business planning whether looking at growth, reduction or expansion into new markets.
In a recession many firms need to use market research to find out what their customers want as this is a time when many companies need to be sure that they are doing what they can to maintain their revenue. This may result in sticking to what they do well, changing their strategy, lowering margins or even offering other products as part of their core service
Working in market research can be extremely challenging and interesting with opportunities for a broad range of individuals with strong analytical skills as well as interpersonal skills.
Market researchers collect and analyse information on behalf of organisations such as businesses, governments and charities. They analyse consumer opinions and collect data from a variety of sources to enable organisations to make informed decisions.
Market Research professionals often specialise in one sector, such as social or consumer research. They plan and implement research projects, and assess the results. They may also work with organisations, advising how to make best use of the information provided and are used often to shed light on trends in behaviour.
Examples of research include: who and why do people buy certain products, why certain products or events are more popular than others, what is the public opinion on government popularity , which media will be best placed to advertise certain products…
There are two specific types of market research :
Quantitative research which focuses on gathering and analysing information using techniques such as questionnaires and electronic data collection.
Qualitative research which focuses on people’s attitudes and motivation, using methods such as focus groups and in-depth interviews.
Some MR roles use skills in both quantitative and qualitative research, however generally these are split and people tend to specialise in one or the other.
Market Research positions can be based within an agency or “client side” meaning employed within a specific organisation’s marketing department.
Where to get skills in market research
Market research can be studied at university as part of psychology, sociology, business management, geography, human sciences and as a module within a Marketing diploma. There are also specialist bodies like the MRS (Market Research Society) which offer courses to individuals looking to enhance their research expertise.
What are the typical job responsibilities?
- Developing relationships with clients including pitching projects ;
- Meeting with clients to negotiate and agree research projects;
- researching a specific subject ;
- preparing briefs and commissioning research;
- formulating a research plan/proposal and presenting it to the client or senior management;
- writing and managing the surveys and questionnaires;
- briefing interviewers and researchers ;
- liaising with and managing survey staff including telemarketing professionals ;
- moderating focus groups;
- undertaking ethnographic research (observing people in their homes and other environments);
- conducting qualitative or quantitative surveys, which may involve field, interview or focus group assessments;
- using statistical software to manage and organise information;
- monitoring the progress of research projects;
- analysing and interpreting data to identify patterns and solutions, including surveys and focus group transcripts;
- writing detailed reports and presenting results to the clients;
- advising clients/senior management on how to best use research findings;
- managing budgets;
- working closely with colleagues on research projects;
Teamwork is key when working within market research. It is also essential to have strong analytical skills as there will always be a need for analysis of data even if the role is within Business Development. Research can be done online, face to face and through written questionnaires.
Working in market research also offers good career progression opportunities with many Market research agencies able to offer clear development plans as well as the opportunity for training and mentoring opportunities. In addition company benefits can be excellent with good holiday entitlements and flexible packages at all.