Market Researcher is one of the most sought after job descriptions in the corporate world today. Market researcher is an organized attempt to gather data about potential clients and target markets: understand them, starting from their demographics. It’s a key ingredient of corporate strategy and quite often a large part of maintaining competitive advantage. In fact, it is considered as a secret weapon of the corporate sector, which allows the corporation to “Shock and Awe” its competitors and thus maintain market share for a long time.
However, this same secret weapon can be used to create a negative perception about many market researchers work, be it in the USA or Italy. For example, I recently read an interesting article in an English language online magazine in the UK (Daily Mail). The article was about the Gym Memberships in Italy, which was apparently more popular than any other sport. This surprise led to several reactions on the internet, with some people suggesting that Italians are such nice people (kind of like Americans) and that Gym membership is kind of cool. And this is why many market researchers have problems.
Okay, so let’s talk about this for second shall we? As an entrepreneur or market researcher, what’s your take on this? Do you find that this is indeed a problem, as some people seem to suggest that these kinds of comments are sort of anti-American in nature? Well, let me tell you something; the government departments that oversee the many government agencies are not doing a bad job at all, in fact, many government departments have done amazing research, and found interesting things about how people actually work in the market place. And that is good news for the entrepreneur or market researcher that was just basing his or her conclusions on an Italian survey.
Okay, so what exactly does this mean for market researchers? It means that you need to find another way to make informed decisions rather than relying on the data collected by these surveys. You see, this goes for any type of business, whether you’re doing retail sales analysis, or are running a huge international corporation, you still need to collect the data, analyse it, and then make informed decisions from it. If you’re relying on these surveys to make an informed decision, you’re going to be sadly disappointed with the results.
The problem is that many market researchers have relied on survey data analysis to make their initial analysis. This means that they have used the information gathered from the surveys to generate their initial reports and graphs and charts and other visual display tools. And unfortunately, because many market researchers don’t use their own communication skills along with their own observations and experience, they end up generating reports that aren’t really that supportive of their own theory or argument. The result is that they get really stuck in their own interpretation of the data and then come to conclusions that don’t necessarily fit with the real world.
So, how can you make informed decisions using the information you have collected from surveys? You start off by first understanding the type of questions being asked. If your research is being done by charities, then you know that they want to gather as much information as possible from those who are likely to use their services. Charities often have an in-house communications team that communicates with survey takers on a regular basis. In many cases, a volunteer organisation might be able to provide the answers that you’re looking for, or at least the feedback that you’re looking for.
If your research is done by market research analysts, then you’ve got to make sure that you understand the type of questions that they are asking. Are they asking you about your level of experience? Or are they asking you about your postgraduate qualification? If the latter, then your communication skills are going to be absolutely essential!
Communication skills are crucial for career progression in the UK market research industry. So if you think that your communication skills could be the missing link in your career progression, then you should really take a look at getting a postgraduate qualification. With a postgraduate qualification you will be able to communicate better with the people you are trying to serve. Plus, you’ll have something more than just your ‘guts’ knowledge to offer potential clients. You’ll also be able to present and interpret findings in a way that will encourage change. In short, you can become a better market research executive and make better decisions for your clients.