Marketing analysts (a.k.a. market research analysts) help companies and organizations decide which products and services to sell, to which customers, at what price. They come to their conclusions by studying market conditions, competitors’ activities and consumer behavior.
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Marketing Analyst Responsibilities
On any given day, a marketing analyst may be required to:
- Collect data on competitors’ tactics, market conditions and consumer demographics
- Research customers’ opinions, buying habits, preferences and wants/needs
- Study the competition’s prices, sales numbers and methods of marketing and distribution
- Create and evaluate methods for amassing data, including surveys, interviews, questionnaires and opinion polls
- Analyze data using statistics programs, predictive analytics and other data-driven tools
- Develop tactics and metrics to assess the effectiveness of existing marketing, advertising and communications programs
- Monitor and forecast marketing/sales trends; highlight opportunities for new initiatives and promotions
- Convert complex data findings into text, tables, graphs and data visualizations
- Work with internal departments to present clear reports to clients and management
- Collaborate with pollsters, data scientists, statisticians and other marketing professionals
Market research analysts are the eyes and ears of their organizations, providing valuable psychological insights into consumer behavior. Their discoveries can have a significant effect on how companies choose to design, market and distribute their products and services.
An Interview with a Real Marketing Analyst
We caught up with Eric Bryn, Digital Marketing Analyst, consultant, and Adjunct Professor of Digital Marketing Analytics at Loyola University Chicago, about working as a marketing analyst in the real estate industry. Read on to learn about the difference between marketing analytics and data science, and the skills students will need in order to be successful.
In turn, the data scientist must understand that a marketing analyst is not a coder and that sometimes a marketing analyst must start generally with her inquiries and then incrementally get more specific and precise with her queries over time. Channeling a bit of Donald Rumsfeld, you have known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. The latter two are often the hardest to discern, and it will take a bit of back and forth collaboration to gain the insights and intel necessary to achieve desired business objectives.
Marketing Analyst Salaries
Marketing analysts work for practically anyone – manufacturers, market research firms, management consultants, advertising agencies and even the government. The best marketers are data gurus, so it makes sense to find top-paying jobs on the West Coast. According to PayScale, the most lucrative city for a marketing analyst in 2015 was Seattle, where the median pay was $62,778 (22% above the national average). In San Francisco, it was $60,295 (17% above).
Average Salary (2015): $55,742 per year
Median Salary (2015): $51,001 per year
Total Pay Range: $35,776 – $75,515
Market Research Analyst
Average Salary (2015): $49,719 per year
Median Salary (2015): $49,121 per year
Total Pay Range: $35,454 – $71,948
Median Pay (2012): $60,300 per year
Marketing Analyst Qualifications
What Kind of Degree Will I Need?
Currently, the baseline qualification for a marketing analyst is a bachelor’s degree. In a 2014 article on the marketability of market research analysts, EMSI reported that 71% of analysts hold a bachelor’s, 21% a master’s and 4% a PhD.
Statistics, math, computer science, economics and business administration are strong majors, but you’ll also find specialist degrees in communications, marketing research and consumer psychology. Whichever program you choose, be sure it includes courses that teach you strong quantitative skills.
Due to the demands of big data, employers increasingly want to see evidence of technical expertise. That means to qualify for specialist jobs or management positions you will need a master’s degree. You can explore a few of your options in our lists of Master’s in Business / Marketing Analytics Programs and MBA Programs with a concentration in market research/analytics.
What Kind of Skills Will I Need?
- Statistical analysis software (e.g. R, SAS, SPSS, or STATA)
- SQL databases and database querying languages
- Programming skills (if possible)
- Survey/query software
- Business intelligence and reporting software
- Data mining
- Data visualization
Since new data tools are being invented every day, this technical list is subject to change.
- Analytic Problem-Solving: Processing a large amount of complex data with precision and translating it into measurable results.
- Critical Thinking: Maintaining an innate curiosity about consumers; assessing all available information to make key financial decisions.
- Effective Communication: Developing strong relationships with consumers, interviewees, fellow researchers, clients and management; presenting results in a language non-technical audiences can comprehend.
- Industry Knowledge: Understanding the way your chosen industry functions and how data are collected, analyzed and utilized.
What About Certifications?
Offered by the Market Research Association (MRA), the PRC is designed to encourage high standards within the marketing research profession. It isn’t a mandatory requirement for most jobs, but it does show employers that you’re serious about your work.
The PRC is offered at practitioner and expert levels. In addition to passing the certification exam, candidates must provide proof of their education, experience and commitment to the field of market research. The PRC must be renewed every two years.
The CMRA is just one of the many certifications developed by the International Institute of Market Research and Analytics (IIMRA). The 12-week course is delivered through online learning course materials, instruction videos, online exams and a quiz.
The CMRA is an introductory credential and final year college students are welcome to apply. Coursework covers areas such as the basics of market research, designing a project, market research tools and turning data into findings.
Related qualifications include:
Jobs Similar to Marketing Analyst
Jobs related to the task of amassing and analyzing business data include:
Perhaps the most exciting opportunity for data professionals is the emergence of the role of Data Scientist. If you’re willing to school yourself in high-level stats and computer programming, you may be able to stretch yourself far beyond the bounds of conventional research.
After gaining some experience as an analyst, you could consider senior marketing positions such as:
- Marketing Manager
- Marketing Director
- Senior Marketing Manager
Marketing Analyst Job Outlook
Thanks to the surge of big data, market research is becoming an extremely exciting – and complicated – job. The BLS is predicting employment of market research analysts to grow 32% from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.
In their quest for potential markets, marketing analysts now have to deal with millions of factors that could affect product demand. Traditional, structured data has been surpassed by messy, unstructured data. Analysts must now consider in-store traffic patterns, mobile buying habits, social media data and much, much more.
Fortunately, they also have new technologies to help them in their task. Today, savvy market research analysts can process behavioral data in real-time, substitute micro-surveys and social listening analytics for cumbersome studies, and employ tools like geofencing and eye-tracking.
The upshot is that great marketing analysts are becoming more and more like data scientists. Instead of spending long hours on what has past, they’re employing predictive analytics to suggest what is coming. Instead of relying on “bread and butter” services that are being replaced by automation and DIY market research tools, they’re developing customized solutions to customer engagement and enterprise feedback management.
In short, they’re honing their technical skills and adapting to a new digital reality.