The Marketing Research Profession

  1. Marketing Research & Opinion Research Industry
    -Two Basic Types of Research - Quantitative Marketing Research - Qualitative Marketing Research
    -The Research Process

  2. Companies Involved in Marketing Research & Opinion Research

  3. How to Enter the Marketing Research Industry

  4. Marketing Research Resources
    -Marketing Research Education and Training



I. Marketing Research & Opinion Research Industry

Marketing - The act or process of buying and selling in a market; or the commercial functions involved in transferring goods from producer to consumer.
Opinion - A view, judgment or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter; a generally held view; or a belief stronger than an impression and not as strong as positive knowledge.
Research - A scholarly or scientific inquiry or investigation; or to study thoroughly so as to present in a detailed and accurate manner

There are two basic types of research:

  • Quantitative Marketing Research- Research used to statistically estimate the viewpoints of a population providing estimates of percentages or averages. This research usually employs large samples and takes small amounts of a respondent's time. Telephone, mail, intercept, door-to-door, Internet or Web surveys, central location tests, mystery shopping and in-home use studies are all used in quantitative research.
  • Qualitative Marketing Research - Research that yields an in-depth understanding about an issue. Qualitative research typically focuses on a small number of people. Since these people are interviewed in-depth, interviews tend to be longer and are often unstructured. An outline of discussion points, rather than a questionnaire is often used. This type of research also tends to be conducted in person, either in focus groups or one-on-one interviews, although the Internet is a growing medium.

Marketing Research Core Body of Knowledge (MRCBOK©)

The Marketing Research Core Body of Knowledge (MRCBOK©) represents the fundamental principles and essential skills that compose the marketing research process. MRCBOK© was created in response to educational needs expressed by the marketing research community.

  • Marketing Basics and Its Interface with Research
  • Planning the Research Process
  • Research Design
  • Sampling
  • Data Collection Methods
  • Measurement Instruments
  • Data Collection Skills
  • Data Analysis
  • Communicating Research Results
  • Research Management
  • Web Survey Research and Data Delivery Methods
  • International Research

II. Companies Involved in Marketing Research & Opinion Research

The marketing and opinion research profession has many different types of companies, as well as consultants, involved in the day-to-day activities of the research process. These include:

The End User/Research Initiator/Research Buyer

The End User/research initiator are manufacturers, retailers, service providers, politicians and other private or public concerns that require information in order to make knowledgeable marketing and business decisions. Virtually every industry is a potential End User of research. Examples include: telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, food, computers, insurance, banking and government.

Sample Titles/Positions Available:

  • Director of Marketing
  • Director of Marketing Research
  • Brand Manager
  • Marketing Research Analyst
  • Research Manager Full Service Research Company

Full service research companies specialize in the design, implementation, data collection, data processing and analysis of the information and recommendations to the End User. Full service research companies can provide qualitative and/or quantitative research to their clients.

Sample Titles/Positions Available:

  • Account Executive/Director
  • Project Director/Manager
  • Research Analyst
  • Field Director/Manager
  • Sample Specialist
  • Moderator

Marketing Research Consultant

Consultants are research professionals, who with years of experience, specialize in one or more areas of expertise within the research community.

Sample Titles/Positions Available:

  • Focus Group Moderator
  • Auditor for Research Studies
  • Field Director
  • Field Manager
  • Research Analyst

Data Collection Company

Data collection companies specialize in collecting data, utilizing the methodology designed by the End User, research supplier or consultant. Data collection methods include interviewing of consumers and professionals, recruitment of respondents for focus groups or individual interviews and central location testing.

Sample Titles/Positions Available:

  • Project Director/Manager
  • Field Director/Manager
  • Telephone Supervisor
  • Field Interviewer
  • Telephone Interviewer
  • Computer Programmer

Data Processing Company

The data processing company compiles the data and puts it in a specific format that will enable analysis of the information gathered by the data collection company.

Sample Titles/Positions Available:

  • Coder
  • Data Entry Clerk
  • Data Processor/Tabulation Specialist
  • Programmer

Vendors/Service Providers

Vendors are companies that supply products and services to the marketing and opinion research industry, such as software, equipment (CADI, CAPI), sampling, and technology (videoconferencing, IVR, etc.).

Sample Titles/Positions Available:

  • Sales/Account Executives
  • Account Representatives
  • Account Service Manager

III. How to Enter the Marketing Research Industry

Visit the MRA job center

Possible Degrees

  • Marketing Research
  • Business Administration
  • Liberal Arts
  • Statistics/Math
  • Qualitative Analysis
  • Computer Science
  • Social Science
  • Communications

Helpful Marketing Research Skills

  • Previous business experience (internship)
  • Analytical, selling or interpersonal experience
  • Experience in design, math and statistics
  • Conceptual writing skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Presentation skills
  • Basic computer skills

IV. Marketing Research Resources

Marketing Research Education and Training

Academic: A list of schools offering degrees and certificates is available through MRA's Web site.

Corporate: There are several companies that offer training programs for the industry MRA's Web site.

Associations offer a wide variety of meetings, seminars, conferences and publications that benefit marketing researchers.

Industry Sponsored

  • The Principles of Marketing Research - Independent Study Program - Offered through the University of Georgia, 1-800-325-2090 FREE. Complete details at
  • MRA Conferences - MRA sponsors three conferences: the Insights & Strategies (ISC) held in the June, the Corporate Researchers Conference 9CRC) held in the fall and the CEO Summit held in February. When you attend these meetings, you will: discover the latest tools and how to apply them to your business; develop skills and expand your knowledge of marketing research; and establish a network of research professionals.
  • Chapter Meetings, Seminars and Conferences - Eleven chapters nationwide supplement your national membership and provide education, networking and problem solving at the regional level. They are the foundation for national leadership.