A firm that cannot conduct an entire marketing research project in-house must select an external supplier for one or more phases of the project. The firm should compile a list of prospective suppliers from such sources as trade publications. professional directories, and word of mouth. When deciding on criteria for selecting an outside supplier, a firm should ask itself why it is seeking outside marketing research support. For example, a small firm that needs one project investigated may find it economically efficient to employ an outside source. A firm may not have the technical expertise to undertake certain phases of a project, or political conflict-of-interest issues may determine that a project be conducted by an outside supplier
When developing criteria for selecting an outside supplier, a firm should keep some basics in mind. What is the reputation of the supplier? Do they complete projects on schedule? Are they known for maintaining ethical standards? Are they flexible? Are their research projects of high quality? What kind and how much experience does the supplier have? Has the firm had experience with projects similar to this one? Do the supplier’s personnel have both technical and nontechnical expertise? In other words, in addition to technical skills, are the personnel assigned to the task sensitive to the client’s needs, and do they share the client’s research ideology? Do they have Professional Researcher Certification offered by the Marketing Research Association hey communicate well with the client? You can also find checklists for qualifying marketing research suppliers at the Web sites of prominent marketing research associations .
The Internet is very efficient for identifying marketing research firms that supply specific services. Using a search engine, such as Yahoo!, several research firms can be identified, and it is easy to find information on the suppliers at their Web sites. Many sites include information on company history, products, clients, and employees. For example, lists thousands of market research companies, and specific firms can be conveniently located using their search procedures. Career opportunities are available with marketing research suppliers as well as with marketing and advertising firms
Careers in Marketing Research
Promising career opportunities are available with marketing research firms (e.g., the Nielsen Co., Burke, Inc., The Kantar Group). Equally appealing are careers in business- and nonbusiness firms and agencies with in-house marketing research departments (e.g., Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, GM, the Federal Trade Commission, United States Census Bureau). Advertising agencies (e.g., BBDO International, J. Walter Thompson, Young & Rubicam) also conduct substantial marketing research and employ professionals in this field. Some of the positions available in marketin., .esearch include vice president of marketing research, research director, assistant director of n.search, project manager, statistician/data processing specialist, senior analyst, analyst,junior analyst, fieldwork director, and operational supervisor. Figure 1.5 lists job titles in marketing research and describes their accompanying responsibilities.U
As these job titles indicate, people with a variety of backgrounds and skills are needed in marketing research. Technical specialists such as statisticians obviously need strong backgrounds in statistics and data analysis. Other positions, such as research director, call for managing the work of others and require more general skills
More than half of all research firms expect to hire professionals in 2008, seeking to fill between two to four positions.
• In spite of the tough economy, the average raise for market research professionals in 2008 was expected to be 4 percent.
• Demand for entry level, project managers, and market research managers will be substantial throughout 2008.
To prepare for a career in marketing research, you should:
• Take all the marketing courses you can.
• Take courses in statistics and quantitative methods.
• Acquire Internet and computer skills. Knowledge of programming languages is an added asset.
• Take courses in psychology and consumer behavior.
• Acquire effective written and verbal communication skills.
• Think creatively. Creativity and common sense command a premium in marketing research.
Marketing researchers should be liberally educated so that they can understand the problems confronting managers and address them from a broad perspecrive P The following example shows what makes a successful marketing researcher and marketing manager