Marketing Research for NPD

Need meets Demand and Product meets the Needs – Products and concepts of innovative nature are difficult to be researched, owing to their intangibility. An experienced Researcher can help with this by bridging the gap between the new product development opportunities and the unmet needs of the buyer or the potential users by educating the Target audience and planting the seed for it.

Marketing research may be regarded as an experiment that can be unsuccessful if not conducted under the right and suitable conditions. Bottom-up approach of Needs Assessment and Concept Screening is more successful that the top-down approach of trying to fit and create acceptance of a new product or concept into the current market.

Concept Development to Product Launch – Market Research can be a part of the Product development at various stages from Egg implantation into the mother’s womb to the final Delivery of the baby.

Time is Money – Timely market research with high budgets can sometime prove much productive than a long-term but well-budgeted qualitative market research, because of an early launch and the first mover advantage.

Customer is the King – Retaining the existing market share and the users is very important and critical to an organisations health and wellbeing. Research helps in listening to consumer demands, invest in product development, innovation and improvement; and thus, make the customer feel important by being heard; which in turn rewards you with customer loyalty and an increased customer base.

Penetrating New MarketsQualitative Market Research helps find new markets for some old products or helps develop strategies for brand re-positioning or, rejuvenates the product life cycle by helping study the underlying needs of consumers.

Elimination of Ideas with no potential Returns – Research can help reduce the risks of potential hefty investments in future at a very nascent stage, by identifying the market and bouncing it off the identified target audience and focus groups. Thus, it can be a very strong reason to choose the right Market research organisation today… to avoid wrong turns and unseen accidents.

A Research Analyst is at the core of market research and has to use self-analysis, expertise and judgement; in addition to other qualitative research tools available for planning a successful launch of a New Product. These analysts act as moderators of an idea, rather than be a part of it at every step. They help testify, verify and put your beliefs on the right track.

Market Research Jobs – An Overview

The main focus when working in market research is to help companies understand what types of products people want, determine who will buy them and at what price. Key to the roles is gathering statistical data on competitors and examining prices, sales, and methods of marketing and distribution, and then analyse the data on past sales to predict future sales. For many roles you need to be quite savvy with Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint, whereby the first is used for analysing the data and the second for producing reports and presentations.

In some cases the job involves devising methods and procedures for obtaining the data that is needed by designing surveys to assess consumer preferences. While a majority of surveys are conducted through the Internet and telephone, other methods may include focus group discussions, mail responses, or setting up booths in public places, such as shopping malls, for example.

Often names can be quite confusing with the market research world. In one company a Research Analyst can be bottom of the career path whilst in others this is seen as a quite advanced role. The below list is therefore a generalisation of most common roles within market research (excluding data processing and field roles). Based on firsthand experience, a rule of thumb can be is that progressing from one role to the next takes between 1.5 to 3 years, depending on the company, training & education and drive of a person.

Junior Research Executive / Trainee / Analyst

Most common for graduates & student placements. The role is mainly focussed on reporting, data control and administration. Most likely in this role you will have support from a manager and depending on the team a director and / or more experienced executives. If you work for an agency it is most likely that you will start visiting clients after several months in the job, under guidance of the manager or director. Some areas of tasks are Design/Methodology, Data Management, Data Analysis and Report Writing.

(Senior) Research Executive

Many day to day tasks are similar to the junior or trainee role. The difference is that you will have ownership of reporting / project and become more self reliant. You will be giving the responsibility of projects from start to finish including taking briefs, questionnaire design, reporting and delivering of insight.

When working for an agency it is possible that you will be starting giving parts of presentations or get the responsibility of training / workshops for the client. Other areas that will develop during this time is supporting the manager in sales targets and writing proposals. In some cases you might get the responsibility for generating revenue or extending client contracts.

As you now have experience working in market research, you will be expected to “think outside the box” and use your established experience to break through the boundaries.

Research / Insight Manager

Although this is quite similar to account manager role, the focus of an insight / research manager is on the actual analysis and management of data / projects.

Vital job requirements include direct experience in the area of work (quantitative / qualitative / continuous data etc), an ability to generate insights and the management of multiple, multi-disciplinary projects at once with a strong sense of time management.

Associate Director / Consultant

This role involves providing direction and assist with the development of the team, designing and managing projects with a high level of autonomy and responsibility.

Key aspects of the role are taking projects from kick off to completion, managing a small team to coach them to help them achieve their potential, account management of several clients, and contributing to business development.

How to Get a Job Doing Qualitative Marketing Research

Qualitative market research is an important tool used by businesses to identify customer needs and people’s perception of a product with the goal of meeting those needs. This can be done by improving product lines, distribution, sales strategies and all the other things that will increase its sales and generate more profit.

Educational Attainment and Skills Employers Look For

Even entry level jobs in this field favor a bachelor’s degree holder and most companies require a master’s degree for higher level positions. Although any baccalaureate degree is acceptable, there is a bachelor’s degree course that focuses on market research. Other preferred courses are degrees in statistics, mathematics or computer science. A background in economics, business administration or the social sciences adds to a more impressive resume.

The Marketing Research Association, a non-profit trade organization composed of member companies, offers professional research certifications that attest to professional competency and increases your advantage over other applicants in job-seeking. There are certain criteria to be met in experience and knowledge before one can be certified. Internships and sales job experiences are helpful for a marketing career. So are exposures to work doing data analysis, writing reports and making surveys.

To land a job doing qualitative research for sales, employers look for specific skills and competencies. Computer proficiency is a must since the newer methodologies in conducting market statistical studies makes extensive use of computer software. Analytical thinking skills are necessary to understand and scrutinize massive quantities of data. Communication skills involve conversing with people to gather information, interpret them and present them to clients. Other valuable capabilities are critical thinking competency and detail orientation because the work entails precise data analysis and assessment of information gathered to determine the action plans.

Duties of a Qualitative Marketing Researcher

Traditional qualitative market research uses two methodologies for data gathering: focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. The former makes use of a small group of eight to ten respondents in a discussion during which their behaviors, perceptions and attitudes toward a certain topic are solicited and explored. The latter is a one-on-one interview by phone or in person for more complex issues.

Modern methodologies are carried out with the use of computers. These include webcam groups, online bulletin boards, video diaries, mobile research, email surveys and other techniques that are constantly being tested. Hence, these occupations call for working, usually alone, on the computer – amassing data and assessing them and making reports. Depending on needs, longer hours of work may be required.

Typical Duties of a Qualitative Marketing Researcher

The qualitative market analyst usually works on small groups to collect large amounts of information. They communicate with respondents through the internet, by phone or in person to gain insights into their behaviors and opinions, research a topic, analyze and interpret data, and prepare reports, graphs and tables and present them to management. Their tasks include monitoring and forecasting of sales trends, measuring the effectiveness of marketing strategies, formulating plans and proposals.

Most of these tasks are done using specialized statistical software, so a market specialist must have computer knowledge and learn how to use these specific programs.

A market research job is challenging and mentally stimulating. It draws out a person’s creativity by discovering new ways to do things. According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for market research analysts as of May 2011 is $67,130, with the lowest ten percent being $33, 490 and the highest ten percent at $112,560.