When companies want to learn more about their consumers or identify new potential markets for their products and services, they turn to market researchers. Market researchers use data analysis to help guide an organization’s sales and marketing strategy.

It’s an in-demand position in a world where business is increasingly data-driven. Those who earn a master’s degree position themselves as excellent candidates for the best jobs in the industry. The Master of Science in Applied Economics program at Boston College prepares students with expertise in data analysis tools and techniques that organizations use to evaluate current policies and programs, understand consumer behavior, and analyze marketing efforts.

The Role of a Market Researcher

Market researchers, particularly those with advanced data analysis skills, are increasingly central to business planning and strategy. Organizations may use some traditional tools such as surveys and focus groups, but market researchers today must understand how to employ innovative technology and data analytics tools.

Data provides a better picture of consumer behavior, determining what consumers want and how much they are willing to pay for it. Data also gives organizations a clear picture of the demographic information of their customers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists a wide range of responsibilities for market researchers. They include:

  • Tracking and forecasting marketing and sales trends
  • Measuring the results of a marketing program or strategy
  • Devising and evaluating methods for collecting data
  • Gathering data on consumers, competitors and market conditions
  • Analyzing data using statistical software
  • Converting complex data findings into easy-to-understand reports for clients and management

Salary and Demand for Market Researchers

The BLS projects a 23% increase nationwide in the number of market researchers between 2016 and 2026. That’s more than three times the 7% rate projected by the BLS for all careers during that same time. In Massachusetts, the projected increase is 20.1%, according to the BLS-powered Projections Central.

Market research analysts made a mean annual salary of $70.960 in May 2018, according to the BLS. In Massachusetts, that number is $74,510, with the Boston metropolitan area among the top 10 metro areas with the highest number of market researchers in the country. The mean annual wage in the city as of May 2018 was $75,650. The top 25% of people in the profession – something a master’s degree can prepare graduates to attain – earned $90,590 in Massachusetts in May 2018.

What You’ll Learn in a Master’s Program

The top market researchers have a combination of insight into both data analysis and human behavior. A master’s degree program like the one from Boston College can help hone skills in both areas. Market researchers especially need training in the latest technology-driven strategies used in research and marketing. That can include location-based “geofencing,” which delivers targeted messaging to people once they enter a specific geographic area.

The potential jobs market research jobs are not limited to private businesses. Market researchers also work for nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Both are looking for ways to leverage data to improve the effectiveness of their outreach efforts.

In the Boston College Master of Science in Applied Economics program, students take courses that prepare them for leadership positions in these fields. They participate in active experimentation through partnership projects that allow them to put what they are learning into practice and focus on merging theory with the practical strategies and tools needed to solve real-world issues.

BC Applied Economics courses include macroeconomics and microeconomics, data analysis, econometrics, big data, predictive analytics, and forecasting.

Those who are ready for a career in a cutting-edge, yet stable field will benefit from the next decade of expected rapid expansion of market research both around the country and in Massachusetts.