Market research is the gathering and analyzing of information about consumer behavior to help a company market its products or services. Market researchers use customer analytics such as past browsing and purchasing patterns to help predict future buying behaviors, thereby making it easier to lower business risks and maximize opportunities.
Market research is important because this data analysis helps provide guidance to companies on which products to improve and which to discontinue, where and how much to spend on advertising, and what future product development goals and investments they should pursue. This field relies on both qualitative and quantitative research methods to gather customer and market data for interpretation.
Qualitative research is gathered by reaching out to potential customers through focus groups, interviews, and questionnaires. With these qualitative methods, market researchers can delve into the thoughts and feelings people have towards a product or service. This information can be valuable in informing product design as well as creative marketing and branding strategies.
In contrast, quantitative research analyzes statistical data to generate insights. With the advent of digital commerce and social media, there are vast new datasets available for researchers to parse to discern patterns of online behavior and purchasing decisions, as well as tools to conduct A/B testing of different marketing content and advertising strategies at scale.
In today’s data-driven world, market research is more powerful than ever and used in virtually all industries. Market researchers with the analytical skills needed to conduct methodical research and interpret the resulting data, as well as the communication skills needed to present results to clients effectively, are thus in high demand.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, market research analysts make a median annual salary of $63,790 per year and typically have a bachelor’s degree to start, though higher salaries often come with a master’s degree. These jobs are expected to grow 20% between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than the national average across the economy.
Yes. As with other areas of business and marketing, Coursera offers a wide range of online courses and Specializations on topics related to market research, including business analytics, quantitative research, and more. These courses and Specializations are offered through top-ranked institutions like the University of California, Davis, the University of Pennsylvania, and Emory University, so you don’t have to sacrifice the quality of your education to learn online.
Best of all, taking classes remotely lets you learn on a flexible schedule that can fit into your existing work or family life. And, because you’ll be taking the same courses as on-campus students at a significantly lower cost, you can rest assured that you’ll get a great return on this investment in your education.
A background in business or marketing is always helpful for anyone who wants to learn about market research. This may help you better understand consumers and their choices as well as businesses and how they can improve their bottom line. Other work or educational experience that involved statistics, math, computer science, data analysis, psychology, other social sciences, communications, or business administration may also be helpful. Any experience you've had working with consumers, even if it was an entry-level sales or customer position, can also give you some insight into their behavior, which can be very beneficial when studying market research.
Strong analytical skills and an interest in data are two traits you must have if you want to work in a field that uses market research. You'll also need good computer skills as you'll do the majority of your work online or using software such as Microsoft Office, WinCross, and Market Sight. You must be able to multitask and work under pressure, as you may have multiple projects going on at one time with fast-approaching deadlines. Those who work in market research are usually part of a team that involves other marketers, management, supervisors, clients, vendors, and even customers. For this reason, excellent communication skills and the ability to work with others are a must. You must enjoy collecting data and finding ways to organize it so that it makes sense to others, which means you must enjoy doing a little detective work and making presentations.
Learning marketing research is ideal for anyone who has career goals that involve marketing or commerce. Adding the skill to your resume may help you find a career in either of those or a related field. If you want to start your own business, understanding market research can help you reach a wider audience that may be interested in whatever products or services you're selling.