Consumer researchers are often beacons for companies, as they determine when consumer demands or tastes change. This enables companies to alter marketing strategies to meet consumers' needs. They hold titles such as marketing research analyst or manager, project director or consumer insights director. As a consumer researcher, you have several key duties in the marketing department.
Most consumer researchers create questionnaires for marketing research surveys. They may first speak with several department managers or directors to determine information they want to obtain from consumers. For example, in this role, you may help the product manager estimate the trial percentage for a new product in the marketplace. To accomplish this you would devise a question that asks consumers directly if they tried the product. Consumer researchers use a series of closed- and open-ended questions in questionnaires. Closed-ended questions are multiple choice in nature. Open-ended questions allow consumers to provide more detailed responses.
Conducting Field Work
A consumer researcher fields the survey after writing the questionnaire. Field work can include phone, Internet, direct mail or personal interviews. As a consumer researcher, you might hire a marketing research agency to conduct phone or direct mail surveys -- and you would oversee their work -- or a moderator to run a focus group. Focus groups are interviews conducted with consumers behind one-way mirrors so companies can listen to consumers' responses to questions. You may conduct personal interviews on your own, including mall intercept studies where you ask customers questions as they make purchases. Most research conducted by market research analysts, or consumer researchers, is used to identify customer preferences, buying habits and demographics, according to "U.S. News & World Report."
Analyzing Data and Writing Reports
Once fielding is completed, consumer researchers analyze data from surveys and write reports. As a consumer researcher, you analyze how people responded to questions, noting both exceptional and poor results. For example, consumers may have rated your company's products high on quality but low on customer service. You then note important finds and include them in your report. Consumer research reports usually include sections for results, methods used for acquiring data and a summary page.
Recommending Marketing Strategies
Survey results from consumer researchers are important to company managers. Therefore, you may be standing at a podium one Friday afternoon discussing key results from a recent project; recommending marketing strategies such as price changes, new product features and new markets for your company's products. One of the most satisfying aspects of consumer research is seeing strategies you recommend produce positive results for your company: Increases in sales and market share.
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