A day in the life of a market researcher seemed like quite an easy task to write about — until I sat down to write about it and realised that a researcher’s role can be so varied from one day to the next, as well as from one research company to the next! For us at FlexMR, as we’re quite a small group of researchers, we tend to take on most of the roles involved in a research project ourselves and, depending on who is managing the project and what it is, we’ll take on different tasks within that project.
As market researchers, there is probably a list as long as your arm of things we count as “main” duties, and in this short blog I’m going to try and cover a few of the key responsibilities/activities we are involved with daily. To help visualise this, I’ve also added a real “to-do list” taken from my working week:
#1 — Liaising and building a rapport with our clients
Day to day, we are very much client-focused, and this is something that’s imperative to the success of every single one of our research projects. Liaising with our clients makes sure we are able to build a rapport, which helps us to really understand the company background, client needs and the brief in order to tailor it to their research needs and objectives.
Most often, liaising with clients involves regular meetings and email communications, making sure we are working with them at every stage — as if an extension to their team. For example, at the start of the project we will put in a call to fully understand their research needs, what they want out of the project, and generally get to know one another to build a trusting relationship so that we can work together to achieve the best research we can! Every project also comes with the day-to-day communication, which is often a mixture of video calls and emails, making sure to keep the client in the loop by updating them on any progress or milestones of the project approaching, or working with them to better understand their business to help improve the quality of our insights.
#2 — Managing the research projects
Each of our research projects is allocated a Project Manager, one of our market researchers, who is the lead for the project and is responsible for ensuring that everything runs smoothly and to time. Managing the project is a big task that requires a lot of skill in being able to keep an eye on everything going on; both from a wide overview of the whole project and from a more specific day-to-day view. Depending on how many projects we have, any market researcher in the team will have multiple projects they are running at the same time, all of which they need to ensure are running smoothly at any one time.
An example of the types of tasks managing a project involves on a day-to-day basis, is creating a project timeline, ensuring everything is being delivered and received on time, liaising with clients and any other external partners we are using to make sure everyone has the right information and will deliver on time.
#3 — Designing the research guides/questionnaires
Most of the research projects we work on at FlexMR are full-service, which means we see them through from start to end. This means that one of the key roles of our job is to design topic guides and/or questionnaires, in which we use to conduct the research and then analyse. Designing research is an important role, and something that involves us having meetings about both internally and with the client to ensure we reach a design that is both suitable to achieving the objectives and approved by the client.
#4 — Conducting fieldwork
Once the research is designed and the market researcher has set everything up, they are then also responsible for conducting the fieldwork. By fieldwork, I mean ensuring the right number of completes and sample criteria on a survey as well as cleaning the data for any incompletes or poor-quality responses, or if it’s a qualitative study then moderating and engaging participants throughout the duration, to ensure we capture their whole opinion. For example, in the to-do list above you will see that the researcher had to manage fieldwork once a survey was live, which involved having to monitor the responses, clean the data for quality, and update the client on progress; the market researcher would also have to liaise on a daily basis with the external provider so they know how many more participants to send to our survey.
#5 — Analysing, Interpreting and Presenting Findings
The final key day-to-day responsibilities of a market researcher, which I want to talk about in this blog, are the analysis, interpretation, reporting and presentation of findings. Now, if I had the space, I would have split all of these into separate tasks as they are all a huge task in their own right — I’m kind of doing an injustice to how important and key these tasks are by grouping them altogether.
Throughout the whole project, a market researcher will have these end tasks in mind, for example analysis is often carried out simultaneously with the fieldwork. For each of these tasks, researchers will have regular conversations, both with other members of the research team who have been working closely on the project, and the client, to determine what is important to them, what’s relevant, and anything that needs to be delved into in more detail.
To round things off…
In addition to the above, market researchers also have to deal with a lot of other responsibilities, which is what makes our days so varied from one to the next and requires multiple skill sets on a regular basis. We’ve created a “to-do” list in the introduction above, based off a real-life week in my role as a market researcher, to help show you how varied this job can really be!
This article was originally published on the FlexMR Insights Blog and can be accessed here.