If you've ever wondered why consumers buy certain products or how companies could operate more efficiently, you were thinking like a research analyst. Some study customer satisfaction with respect to their companies' products and services, while others seek ways to streamline production with more automation. In either case, these professionals must have a few qualities that help them perform their jobs effectively.
Research analysts juggle many projects -- from market surveys on new products to analyses of corporate structures. Consequently, if you work in this field, you might have dozens of projects going on simultaneously -- some of which are in different stages. To keep track of project activities, you must be organized, and you will use planners and project logs to ensure that you complete projects by specified deadlines.
As the title implies, research analysts are analytical in that they identify problems, evaluate viable alternatives and implement strategies that improve sales and profits. For example, a marketing director might ask you to determine why sales are declining in a particular market. Through research, you learn that some customers want greater varieties of products -- more sizes, styles and colors. To meet consumer demand, you suggest a line of new products in the styles, colors and prices consumers can afford. Throughout this process, you use analytical skills to devise the best solution for reversing declining sales.
Communication includes listening, writing and speaking, which are all required skills of the research analyst. In this role, you must listen to what your managers and others request, as you're providing them with a service -- and you want to deliver accurate information they need. Similarly, writing skills are necessary to convey your research findings in ways that anyone can understand. Research analysts use speaking skills to provide instructions to subordinates and do group presentations to discuss findings and marketing strategies.
Research analysts are privy to lots of corporate information, including large databases full of customer information. These databases are often used for surveys and can include names, addresses, e-mails and transaction information. In this field, you must be ethical by keeping customer data confidential and not sharing it with competitors, even if someone is willing to offer you substantial sums for your knowledge. Calculating statistics accurately for clients and not fudging numbers for more favorable results is another way research analysts demonstrate high ethics.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become a Market Research Analyst
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become an Operations Research Analyst
- MyPlan.com: Market Research Analysts
- Duke University: What Does a Research Analyst Do?
- Quick MBA: Marketing Research
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