Consumer Behavior Analyst
Consumer behavior analysts are also known as market research analysts or marketing specialists. These professionals use psychology and marketing concepts to determine the needs and desires of customers for the benefit of a company or research study. They are responsible for analyzing the minds of those who buy products to determine what they buy and other purchasing habits.
Market research analysts may be employed by and work for a single company, or hold employment with a consulting agency and be hired out on a contract basis to work with different corporations. Market research analysts usually work full-time, though longer hours may be required as deadlines for projects approach. Some analysts work full-time jobs outside of conducting market research and only analyze on a part-time basis. While most analysts work in an office setting, primarily using computers to conduct their studies, some meet with the public directly.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree is standard; master's degree common for advancement or leadership and technical positions|
|Degree Field||Market research, psychology, statistics, math, or other related field|
|Certification||Voluntary certification is available|
|Experience||Related work experience is helpful; experience is required for certification|
|Key Skills||Attention to detail, as well as critical-thinking, analytical, and communication skills|
|Median Salary (2015)||$62,150 (for all market analysts)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
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Steps to Getting into this Career
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
A bachelor's degree is the minimum education one needs to become a consumer behavior analyst. Common areas of study include marketing analysis and psychology, though statistics and math are also relevant majors. Courses in related areas, such as research methods, marketing, psychology, advertising, and business can also be beneficial.
In order to get the most out of your degree, participate in an internship. Students can get positions working as research analyst interns through many different types of companies to learn new skills and gain first-hand experience in consumer behavior analysis.
Step 2: Pursue a Graduate Degree
Obtaining a graduate degree can be helpful in boosting qualifications to enhance employment opportunities, such as for career advancement or moving to a leadership role. Graduate programs may be more likely to offer consumer behavior specializations. Students may consider programs like the Master of Science in Marketing Research or Master of Business Administration with a related emphasis.
Step 3: Gain Related Experience
Professional experience can be gained through entry-level positions in related fields, such as marketing or business. In these positions, workers can learn about the industry as well as relevant tasks, such as how to gather data, measure customer satisfaction and analyze marketing trends. This experience is also necessary for pursuing certification.
It is also beneficial to join a professional organization. Organizations like the Marketing Research Association (MRA) and American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences can help with professional development, networking, and obtaining other resources.
Step 4: Become Certified
While not a requirement for employment or advancement in this field, the BLS notes that industry certification, such as the Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) credential from the MRA, can demonstrate proficiency and professionalism in the field to prospective employers. The PRC credential is offered at the expert and practitioner levels and both have eligibility requirements and a comprehensive exam on relevant topics. Pursing the PRC credential will also require having at least three years of relevant experience.
Additionally, you must keep certification current. Consumer behavior analysts are required to continue their educations if they hold PRC certification. Continuing education can be completed through webinars or conferences hosted by the MRA.
With a bachelor's degree, communication and marketing skills, and possibly certification, a consumer behavior analyst can earn about $62,000 a year to research the behavior of consumers.