Market Research and Development

Market researchers work to understand what drives people to buy Cheerios, Chevrolets, and chimichangas. Market researchers are applied consumer behaviourists, combining quantitative data with their understanding of how markets work to better promote a product or idea. Market researchers use tools such as statistical analysis packages, surveys, mystery shopping, focus groups and new product tests to help achieve success for a product. Market research jobs are both interesting and potentially lucrative. The field is booming and with ever-improving data from places such as supermarket scanners, social media, and mobile apps, there is no doubt that this field will continue to grow.

Key tasks in market research involve collection and analysis of market information, identification of market trends, and market segmentation.

Jobs in marketing research are increasingly global and call for both a grasp of culture, markets, and quantitative methods.

  • Quantitative Marketing Research
    Research used to statistically estimate the viewpoints of a population providing estimates of percentages or averages. This research usually employs large samples and takes small amounts of a respondent’s time. Telephone, mail, intercept, door-to-door, Internet or Web surveys, central location tests, mystery shopping and in-home use studies are all used in quantitative research.

  • Qualitative Marketing Research
    Research that yields an in-depth understanding about an issue. Qualitative research typically focuses on a small number of people. Since these people are interviewed in-depth, interviews tend to be longer and are often unstructured. An outline of discussion points, rather than a questionnaire is often used. This type of research also tends to be conducted in person, either in focus groups or one-on-one interviews, although the Internet is a growing medium.


The tasks required of market research analysts include: Establishing research methods and designing formats for data gathering and analysis; collecting data on products or services and consumers' needs and tastes, purchasing power, and buying habits; checking consumer reaction to new or improved products or services; developing and implementing procedures for identifying advertising needs; measuring the effectiveness of advertising and other promotional techniques; gathering data on competitors' products, services, and locations and analyzing their marketing methods and strategies. (competitive intelligence).

There are a variety of settings for a market research career including:

  • Practice inside a corporation
  • Consulting practice as a solo practitioner (surprisingly common)
  • Consulting practice while teaching in academia
  • Consulting practice inside a large firm
  • Practice inside an ad agency (very common)


Resources and Job Boards


Professional Organizations