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There are four different tasks that a product analyst does: define strategies, identify target markets, analyze results, and manage product life cycles. He or she can find employment opportunities in a wide range of industries, but they are most commonly found in manufacturing, marketing, and advertising companies. The role requires a combination of analytical and communication skills.
People who are naturally outgoing, enjoy working with numbers, and get satisfaction from seeing a process through from beginning to end report a high degree of job satisfaction as a product analyst. The analytical skills required include an affinity for numbers, the ability to spot patterns quickly, and the computation of various scenarios. Oral and written communication, presentation, and listening skills are all very valuable in this role.
Defining strategies for a product includes production and sales volume estimates and managing the timing of a product release. There are different strategies that can be used, depending on the target consumer demographic, availability of substitute products, complementary products, and price point of the unit. The strategy sets the long and short-term goals and provides a structure for all other processes.
Identifying the ideal target market for a product launch and sales is a core function of a product analyst’s job. These decisions are based on the research and analysis already completed for major cities around the world. The work behind this decision must be fact-based, logical, and defensible. There are a wide range of computer software programs designed to work with a large volume of data to assist in the decision-making process.
After a product is launched and available for sale, it is the analyst’s job to monitor and analyze the results of previous decisions. The volume of product manufactured and shipped must be compared to sales and adjusted on a regular basis to avoid inventory overstock or shortages. Continual analysis and follow-up is a daily task in this job.
The product analyst calculates the total cost to the organization for each product through all stages of the product life cycle. He or she is responsible for properly accounting for the research and development, marketing, manufacturing, and distribution costs. This data is used by the accounting department to calculate the profit margins and determine if these values are actually realized. Cost accounting principles require the complete costing information, and most companies invest the resources to ensure that profit is earned on each item sold.