Market research jobs vary from entry-level positions that entail conducting surveys over the phone to positions that require a high-level of intensive data collection and analysis. Market research jobs can be found within research firms that collect data from a broad range of industries for resale, as well as firms that hire individual market researchers to help develop their organization’s marketing plan. Smaller organizations are more likely to hire the latter in a freelance capacity when they’re undergoing a period of transition, such as expansion into other markets.
Organizations frequently require statistics and market overviews to support their business plans, marketing plans, grant applications and investor proposals. Research firms that collect and sell this data to organizations need market researchers to source the data and then aggregate it in a way that suits the client’s needs. For example, a marketing research firm might receive a request from a client to create a comparative analysis of its competitors. In this instance, a market researcher employed with the firm might be tasked with sourcing such data as the competition’s pricing, market share and affiliations. Once the researcher has compiled the data into a chart or other format that’s easy for the client to comprehend, the client is then in the best position to make major decisions, such as whether to acquire the competition.
If an organization requires a high volume of market information, it may have market research jobs available within its marketing department. As most small or start-up organizations can’t afford to keep a full-time market researcher on staff, they may add market research to the job responsibilities of another position, such as marketing coordinator or marketing manager. Another solution may be to hire a market researcher on a freelance basis for a very specific function. For example, an organization might outsource an international market researcher to conduct a feasibility study on the organization’s potential for expanding into international markets. A company also might hire a marketing researcher to gather and aggregate data that will specifically help it build strategic partnerships, support proposals for funding or determine the purchasing patterns and demographics of its target consumer.
The requisite qualifications for market research jobs often vary, depending on the organization and the type of market research they require. Entry-level market research jobs, such as survey taking, don’t usually require an academic or professional background in marketing. Market researchers who offer their consultant services within a freelance capacity generally require a high level of academic experience, such as a master's degree in business administration, commerce or library and information science.