A market research manager assists a company in the process of accessing its customer base. Market research refers to the process of determining how a company's customers, and how any potential customers in the market as a whole, respond to both the company's product and the company's marketing efforts. A market research manager will facilitate the study of the market's response so a company can determine what areas of improvement exist.
The job of a market research manager differs depending on the size of the industry, the type of industry and the nature of products advertised and sold. For example, a manager of market research for a very large company may put together focus groups to test the company's national television ad. In this case, the manager might be responsible for assembling a large cross section of the population who can watch the ad to determine whether it conveys a good message about the brand or to determine whether it entices them to purchase the product.
A market research manager who works for a television network may also assemble focus groups to determine whether a pilot show receives laughs and good reviews or whether the market as a whole will respond poorly to it. Alternatively, in such a situation, the manager may primarily be responsible for assessing the reaction of the audience through other means, such as studying the television network ratings from different stations. In either case, the particular manager may be responsible for assembling the data on the market response, for interpreting the data, or for both.
Market research exists for many other types of products as well. For example, customers could be invited to try a new product and then submit comments or suggestions for change. A market research manager could coordinate those efforts, determining which customers to ask to try the product, how to collect data on the comments, and how to analyze the data.
Doing market research is generally an expensive proposition, although the Internet has made it less costly, as many companies can now use simple and inexpensive online survey tools to collect information from a target market. As a result, a manager who specializes in market research often works in a larger company who can devote more money toward conducting extensive research of a target market. Still, some smaller companies may employ a manager who is responsible for interacting with and studying a potential customer base.