Exploring a Career As a Market Research Analyst

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates there were approximately 595,400 market research analysts employed in the U.S. as of May 2017. Of those, the top hiring industries included management, scientific, and technical consulting services (12 percent); finance and insurance (10 percent); wholesale trade (9 percent); management of companies and enterprises (8 percent); and publishing industries (3 percent). Market research analysts can also expect to find positions with research firms, government agencies, and business associations. Market research analyst employment is projected to grow by 23 percent, or 138,300 jobs, from 2016 to 2026, which is much higher than the national average for occupational growth.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the following states had the highest market research analyst employment level, as of May 2017:

State Total Employed Annual Mean Wage




New York












United States



The market research analyst annual wage in May 2017 was $63,230 with the top 10 percent earning more than $123,000 and the bottom 10 percent earning less than $35,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Glassdoor reports an annual average salary of $60,400, and Indeed currently lists 6,700 job postings. Of those, the top hiring cities include New York, NY; Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; Washington, DC; and Boston, MA.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in market research, the Drucker School of Management offers an engaging program that provides market-specific curriculum, taught by internationally renowned professors. A Master of Science in Marketing Analytics provides the competitive edge you need to land your dream job and be equipped for success.

Market research analyst job description and responsibilities

Market research analysts assess consumer preferences by developing qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, executing strategic research projects, and interpreting meaningful results. Being in this field involves interacting with stakeholders across multiple disciplines, primarily marketing and sales teams, and communicating new insights to executive management through reports and presentations. Other responsibilities include the following:

  • Identify and monitor industry trends and statistics, new sales markets, and growth opportunities;
  • Establish market research strategies, such as surveys, interviews, or opinion polls;
  • Evaluate competitor sales and marketing strategies;
  • Conduct research on consumer opinions an determine validity of marketing strategies;
  • Compile and analyze customer demographics, needs, desires, and purchasing habits to identify potential markets;
  • Determine factors affecting product demand; and,
  • Develop a compelling business case to support any recommended changes in marketing operations that result from new market insight.

Essential market research analyst knowledge and skills

Market research analysts must be analytical and intrinsically curious. Market research drives the manipulation and interpretation of large datasets, which seems insurmountable without proper motivation. Having a technical, detail-oriented background with an inquiring mind provides the drive for precise data analysis, sound methodology, and viable results.  

To establish consumer preferences, market research analysts must have excellent insight and interpersonal communication skills, as they are often required to meet directly with clients to gather information, interpret data, and present results through effective storytelling. Accordingly, individuals in this position must be able to coordinate information, assignments, and people to meet their goals. Market research analysts must have the motivation to finish projects independently, however, still maintain a team goal.

Finding success in this role involves being comfortable working with statistical packages (e.g. SPSS or SAS) and databases, and have an exemplary understanding of business objectives, allowing for the development of customer preference surveys and interpretation of results. Market research analysts have familiarity with customer relationship management tools and knowledge of warehousing, modeling, and mining.

Market research vs. market analytics

Market research and market analytics differ in terms of approach and methodology, though both seek to gain market intelligence to improve or strengthen marketing strategies. Market research aims to gather information from specific sources to gain insight on products, services, and branding. Applying a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies to competitor analysis, interviews, focus groups, and surveys, market research provides an aggregate view of consumer demands and allows for a comprehensive marketing approach. Market analytics, however, extracts relevant online data to determine customer behaviors, such as purchase and search history, giving real-time insight on consumer interests and whether a company’s marketing approach is successful or has areas of improvement.

Market analytics evaluates consumer behaviors apart from a formalized study, and therefore provides the opportunity to reveal behaviors that consumers personally overlook or don’t consider valuable enough to share. Consequently, market research is limited to the perception of those involved in the study, and may be impacted by the level of consumer self-awareness. Both approaches are necessary and useful and provide the greatest impact depending on the company’s needs. While raw behavior-descriptive data is crucial, a company may be more interested in perceptions, rather than confirmed actions. Moreover, when resources are available, market intelligence is maximized when market research and market analytics are utilized hand-in-hand. Therefore, when considering a career in market research, knowledge of analytics principles is advantageous and will give you a competitive edge within your industry.

Market research analyst education and training requirements

Market research analysts require a bachelor’s degree at a minimum. However, with the field of analytics and big data continuing to develop, a graduate program is best equipped to prepare students for developing and executing marketing strategies. Given that this field combines elements of statistics and psychology, the steps you take will be vastly unique depending your interests and goals. Depending on your preference, you may choose a role that dives into the cognitive and personality approach of evaluating consumers over an assignment that is more data-driven. Regardless of the direction you choose, a Master’s in Marketing Analytics will provide a well-rounded educational experience that will prepare you for a career in market research.

The Drucker School of Management offers an online Master of Science in Marketing Analytics (MSMA) that not only prepares you for the development and implementation of marketing strategies, but also focuses on developing students to become leaders in their chosen field and encourages them to truly make a difference. The MS in Marketing Analytics curriculum is designed for a part-time schedule of two courses per semester and prepares students to reach consumers by having a deep understanding of consumer insight. The Introduction to Marketing Management course initiates your study by providing the framework and practical tools to conceptualize the foundations of marketing discipline. The coursework provides opportunities to work in teams, further strengthening students’ interpersonal skills and ability to build and maintain positive working relationships. The program also includes a closer look at concepts driving market intelligence through the Marketing Research and Consumer Behavior courses. Provided below are additional MSMA program characteristics highlights.

Program Characteristics Online MSMA Program

Program flexibility

Full-time or part-time option with courses offered online

Admission requirements

Minimum GPA - 3.0
GMAT/GRE - Optional



Program length

Full-time - 1 to 1.5 years
Part-time - 1.5 to 3 years

Curriculum highlights

Introduction to Marketing Management
Marketing Research
Consumer Behavior

Who should apply

Working professionals and recent graduates

Student-to-faculty ratio


The Drucker School of Management strives to align your educational experience directly with your career goals, achieved by providing hands-on training in centers, labs, and institutes. The Drucker Customer Lab combines student, business, and thought-leader perspectives and facilitates an environment in which graduate students and industry partners use data, analytics and real-life experiments to implement customer-centered solutions. The Drucker School Global Family Business Institute addresses issues and opportunities for family business by providing the tools to succeed in a global business environment. The Master’s in Marketing Analytics program offers the opportunity for an applied project that will prepare you for real-world business issues. The program also promotes practice-based learning opportunities, including the support of guest speakers, informational interviews, executive shadowing, and internships.

In addition to engaging students in cross-functional curriculum, the Drucker School of Management is invested in providing the tools and information students need to succeed beyond graduation. Learn more about Claremont Graduate University’s Master’s in Marketing Analytics program.

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