What Is a Market Research Analyst? 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Market research analysts pore over trending keywords, survey responses, social media mentions, and more to understand markets, customers, and competitors. Learn more about this high-demand role.

[Featured Image] Two market research analysts converse as they study data on a computer screen in an office.

Market research analysts—sometimes called market researchers—help companies develop or maintain a competitive edge by finding and delivering data-backed insights into potential markets, competitors, and even customer behaviour. They’re an integral part of a company’s overall marketing strategy and are in demand across multiple industries.

Learn more about what market research analysts do, the different types of research, the skills you need to succeed in this role, and more.

What does a market research analyst do? 

Market research analysts pore over trending keywords, survey responses, social media mentions, and other data to find answers. Essentially, they transform information into actionable insights to help companies develop everything from competitive product launches to effective marketing campaigns.   

Each company’s needs differ, but your responsibilities as a market research analyst may include: 

  • Developing data collection tools and techniques 

  • Using data modelling tools

  • Analyzing data sets and communicating findings 

  • Contributing data-backed insights to marketing strategy 

  • Conducting product testing and brand research 

What type of research does a market research analyst conduct? 

A market research analyst conducts qualitative and quantitative research. They gather statistical data and solicit responses about people’s beliefs, opinions, and experiences.

An analyst’s research can span multiple areas, including: 


Primary and secondary customer research—everything from demographics to opinions—helps a company develop more targeted marketing and align its products and services with customers’ differing needs. Market research analysts may also identify how companies find, acquire, and retain customers while avoiding churn or customer loss. 

Primary vs. secondary research: What's the difference?

Primary research is research you conduct yourself, building original tools or techniques to help you collect new information. Secondary research is published research someone else has done, like a government agency or research think tank.



As a company develops new offerings—like products, services, or ideas—market research about competitors, similar products, and potential sales can help successfully position each launch. Market research analysts investigate new and existing markets, learning as much as possible so they can deliver precise suggestions. 


New and established companies rely on brand research to strengthen their market position. Conducting a competitive analysis to see how a company’s brand fares against competitors and researching customers’ brand awareness and perception helps them remain competitive. Those findings can also yield insights into customer acquisition, retention, and loyalty. 


Understanding how a company’s customers feel about advertising at all phases of a marketing campaign can produce specific messaging and more impactful campaigns. While this type of research typically falls under a marketing analyst role, market research analysts at smaller companies may sometimes analyze a company’s marketing strategy.   

Market research analyst job description


Market research analyst jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree in commerce, business administration, economics, or public administration. More senior-level market research analyst jobs may require a master’s degree.

Majors that can prepare you for a job as a market research analyst include: 

  • Business administration 

  • Economics 

  • Marketing

  • Psychology

  • Sociology  

  • Statistics

Market research analyst technical skills

Data collection tools: Market research analysts gather data from an array of sources, including surveys, social media platforms, keyword trends, and audience insights. Market research analysts use Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, Typeform, Google Trends, and SEMrush, among many other tools, to learn more about customers, markets, and competitors.

Statistical analysis: Because market research involves working with quantitative data, it’s important to understand how to apply statistical techniques to group your data into relevant, actionable findings. While many programs offer a statistical analysis feature, they shouldn’t replace more foundational knowledge.  

Data visualization: Once a market research analyst has collected relevant data, they must structure their findings comprehensively. Knowing how to use data dashboards or data analytics suites can help convey important findings to other teams. Market research analysts use data visualization tools like Tableau, Qlikview, and Plotly.  

Programming languages: Although not always necessary, some companies require market research analysts to know a programming language, such as R, SQL, SAS, or SPSS, which feeds into their data gathering and data interpretation efforts. Always read over job descriptions to learn which language, if any, a company prefers. 

A course like IBM’s Introduction to R Language on Coursera can help you learn more about one of the most popular programming languages used today for data analysis. 

Market research workplace skills 

Interpretation: Parsing data is critical to a market research analyst’s role. After gathering the necessary data, you must interpret those findings in light of a company’s product and marketing needs.  

Critical thinking: Conducting market research means knowing how to ask the right questions to find the best data, extracting meaning from collected data, and then applying those insights to a company’s marketing strategy.    

Communication: Translating insights into recommendations other teams can act upon will help in a marketing research analyst's line of work. A strong ability to speak and write clearly and constructively is an asset. 

Interviewing: Many market research analysts rely on digital surveys to glean customer responses, but the role can also involve conducting customer interviews or focus groups. Being comfortable speaking with strangers and getting them to open up about their experiences is a key skill.  

What are the benefits of being a market research analyst? 

Job prospects

As companies need insight into customer behaviour to keep their competitive edge, market research analysts will serve an integral role. The Canadian government anticipates market research analysts to have moderate job opportunities within most provinces over the next three years [1].

Market research analyst salary

The median salary for a market research analyst in Canada is $68,250 or $35 per hour, according to Talent.com, though salary can differ depending on the industry [2]. This is higher than the average hourly wage of $31.37 for all employees within the country [3].

Market research analyst vs. similar roles

Market research analysts have a lot in common with roles that also parse data and deliver strategic insights. 

Marketing analyst

Although market research analysts are sometimes confused—and even called—marketing analysts, the roles differ slightly. Marketing analysts focus internally on a company’s marketing efforts rather than externally on markets, but both use data to inform their recommendations. 

Business analyst

Another data-reliant role, a business analyst analyzes large data sets to make recommendations to strengthen a business’ processes and help it run more efficiently. 

Data analyst

A much broader role than the three previously described, a data analyst typically works with large, raw data sets that must first be cleaned to yield important insights. Data analysts apply their findings to an array of organizational and business needs.  

How to become a market research analyst 

1. Look for a related entry-level role.

While some entry-level market research analyst roles exist, many employers prefer some prior experience. If you’re interested in becoming a market research analyst, consider a related role to help you gain experience and grow more competitive. Working as a marketing assistant or data analyst can provide you with the experience necessary to move into market research analysis.  

2. Brush up on related technical skills.

Knowing that market research analysts use specific tools to gather and assess data about customers, markets, and competitors, it’s a good idea to research the most popular programs and refine your knowledge of them. Watch tutorials, use free trials, and familiarise yourself with the tools of the trade.

Develop your technical skills with one of these Guided Projects, designed to be completed in two hours or less:

3. Take a course. 

Taking courses that expose you to key strategies of market research can help introduce you to the work of a market research analyst. This Market Research Specialization from UC Davis, available on Coursera, might be a good place to start. Not only will you learn about what it takes to do market research and decide if it’s a good career option for you, but you’ll begin learning the necessary techniques to succeed in the field.

You could consider deepening your knowledge with a skill-specific series of classes, like Data Visualization with Tableau Specialization.

A credential, like the Meta Marketing Analytics Professional Certificate, is designed for beginners with no prior market research experience. Get up to speed on the key tools and techniques used in the profession while learning from industry experts at Meta.

4. Get a degree.

A bachelor's degree is generally required to qualify for a position as a market research analyst in Canada. Consider getting a degree in a qualifying topic, such as economics, business administration, commerce, or public administration.

Start your market research analyst career with Coursera

Prepare for your career by taking a course or pursuing your degree. A great place to start if you are new to the field or want to decide if this career is right for you is the Market Research Specialization from UC Davis on Coursera. You can also conveniently earn your degree online, such as a Bachelor of Science in General Business, a BSc Business Administration, or a Master of Business Administration (iMBA)

Article sources


Job Bank. "Analyst - Market Research in Canada, https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/outlook-occupation/3869/ca." Accessed January 26, 2023.

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