Are you good with numbers and good with people? Are you an innovative problem solver with excellent research skills?
Would you like to research different markets to find out about competitors and consumers, and then advise companies based on your findings? If so, working in market research could be of interest to you!
Market research affects us all! It informs nearly all levels of economic, social and political decision making and is a buoyant industry in the UK, worth over £3 billion a year, employing close to 60,000 highly qualified people. It is a fast-moving industry, high profile and intellectually challenging, offering a variety of employment opportunities, particularly in the UK, Europe and Asia.
Market research attempts to understand why we may want, need, buy or use a particular product or service. Good market research is critical for business and government, helping them to test markets, and inform marketing strategy and policy-making. There are two key types of market research – quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research provides a statistical interpretation, whereas qualitative research attempts to analyse people’s behaviours, motivations and attitudes – the ‘whats’, ‘hows’, and ‘whys’. Primary market research relies on the collection and interpretation of reliable and valuable information/data.
Typical work activities will vary according to the employer and the nature of the role. These may include:
- Proposal writing, project design and project management
- Questionnaire design and surveying
- Briefing interviewers and researchers
- Using statistical software to manage and organise information
- Focus and group discussions and interviews
- In depth consumer understanding with collages/metaphors or in-home or shopalong in various trade channels
- Fieldwork management
- Data analysis and interpretation of findings
- Modelling and simulation
- Report writing and presentation of findings and recommendations
- Advising clients/management on how to make best use of the research findings
Where to work
Most market researchers work either in a market research agency, consultancy, or within the marketing divisions of large industrial or commercial organisations (e.g. P&G, Unilever and Tesco). Market researchers often specialise within the sector, such as in consumer or social research. The Government Statistical Service (GSS) is also known for its recruitment of market researchers into a range of divisions, such as finance, public health and housing, to manage and tabulate statistics. See the Office for National Statistics Jobs pages for more details.
A number of larger advertising agencies also include market research and econometrics divisions within their group structure e.g. Kantar Operations (part of WPP Group).