Though stigmatized as number-crunchers, market researchers position themselves as data-fluent and future leaders
Marketing is an exciting field with many well-paying jobs, such as brand strategist, content specialist and SEO manager. Only occasionally, though, is market research aspired to or sought after. Part of the reason is that the Internet of Things, SEO and search engine marketing have diffused traditional market research roles throughout organizations and renamed them as they relate to digital marketing or the customer/user experience, for example.
Marketing research jobs have always carried a bit of a stigma as number-crunching, dead-end staff positions that do not afford a path to profit/loss experience and the vaunted corner office. The time has come to dispel that stereotype.
I graduated from college (in 1971) with what seemed like an unemployable degree: a bachelor’s in general studies. I was fortunate to stumble into a marketing research analyst position working for a fellow named C.R. Johnston, who had recently mentored J.D. Power, before his name became synonymous with customer satisfaction ratings. My initial responsibilities were not glamorous and included managing part-time field interviewers (who canvassed door-to-door in those days) and conducting shelf audits for beer brands. (Bar coding didn’t take off until the 1980s.) But by the time I went to graduate school four years later, I had co-authored the marketing plan for the Buick division of General Motors and run car clinics leading to the introduction of several new models. That job experience served as the foundation for my parallel careers in academics and global marketing information.