What is a Market Research Director?

Cassie L. Damewood

A market research director is the person in charge of developing and implementing research tools for clients seeking to learn more about potential customers and how to effectively sell them more goods and services. He frequently advises them on how to use proven market research techniques and approaches to their best advantage. He also often develops new methods to meet specific client needs.

A market research director often develops new methods to meet specific client needs.
A market research director often develops new methods to meet specific client needs.

When a company’s management seeks the assistance of a market research firm, the market research director usually directs his staff to confer with them to gain the most information possible to assess their accomplishments, weak points and goals. He commonly assists the staff in pinpointing the clients’ strengths and flaws and what needs to be learned from their target market to make their business more successful.

Market research directors are in charge of developing a company's brand so it will stand out.
Market research directors are in charge of developing a company's brand so it will stand out.

The market research methods presented for client review normally depend upon a variety of factors. The client’s budget is generally a primary concern. Other factors commonly include if the research is to be a one-time survey or recurring over a specified period of time and if it will be a domestic or international study. Deciding if the research is to be conducted in person, via telephone or over the Internet is also an important decision.

Market research directors factor in demographics when developing advertisement strategies.
Market research directors factor in demographics when developing advertisement strategies.

Once these factors have been determined, the research team prepares a proposal for the client. The market research manager traditionally presents the research proposal to the client for review. He explains the bases for his recommendations and addresses any questions or concerns the client may have. If refinements are required, the manager normally revamps the proposal with his staff and again presents it to the client.

A marketing research director may determine which publications to put advertisements in.
A marketing research director may determine which publications to put advertisements in.

To be successful in this position, the market research director is customarily required to be an excellent communicator. His ability to accurately interpret the needs and goals of his clients and present them with a variety of workable solutions is important. Since reports of the project results are regularly required, his written communication skills must be as good as his oral ones.

Market research directors may see what customers are saying online about industry trends.
Market research directors may see what customers are saying online about industry trends.

Many of his research recommendations may be groundbreaking or involve surveys asking questions that, to the client, may seem unrelated to the product or services at hand. In these cases, he is often required to explain to clients complicated social and psychological research approaches in simplified terms. Gracefully fielding questions regarding many varied aspects of market research approaches is a plus for a manager in this position.

A bachelor’s degree in sales, marketing, public relations or advertising is regularly required to qualify to be a market research director. Degrees in math or statistics are also acceptable. At least four years experience in the field of market research is highly desirable for a director position.

A market research director must be an excellent communicator.
A market research director must be an excellent communicator.

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