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The Agency Market Researcher, Written by Joanne Lewis from DJS Research Ltd
An Agency Researcher would be an employee of a Market Research Agency. The role undertaken would be of a purely market research basis as opposed to being an operation team member or performing a support staff role.
A Market Research Agency is a specialist organisation that undertakes market research projects on behalf of private and public sector companies. Companies often commission research agencies to carry out their research requirements. It is generally accepted that research conducted by an independent agency carries more credibility as it absolves the company sponsoring the research from any suspicion of collusion or attempt to bias the results. It is also possible to utilise the greater level of competence and experience available from time served researchers.
Full Service Market Research agencies tend to have a concentration of expertise and special facilities such as Executive teams (i.e. pure researchers), Field Departments, Telephone Units, Sampling Departments and Data Preparation/Processing Departments.
Individuals or graduates wishing to pursue a career in market research can generally begin their employment in an agency at Junior Research Executive level or on an equivalent status within one of the specialist teams with the later potential for a sideways move into a research role.
Activities of an agency researcher would generally include:-
· Occasionally attending client briefing meetings along with senior colleagues
· Project management responsibilities and client liaison throughout the lifecycle of the project
· Applying research techniques such as questionnaire design, conducting depth interviews and moderating group discussions
· Liaising and briefing internal specialist teams to ensure the project runs to time & budget
· Analysing qualitative interviews (depths or groups)/checking and analysing data tables (quantitative)
· Compilation of written reports or client presentations
· Attending and delivering client presentations
Obviously, junior researchers would be expected to perform a supporting role in the above areas in the initial induction period, typically assisting:-
· Research Execs/Senior Research Execs
· Research Managers
· Associate Directors
Executives may be expected to specialise in Business research for example Engineering related research or on Consumer based e.g. high street retailers or perhaps with some smaller agencies your role may be expected to encompass both. In any case, you can expect a wide variety of research commissions which will certainly prevent you from becoming stale. Very large agencies may encourage further specialisation into specific markets for example teams dedicated to Mail Order, Retail, Utilities, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare, Financial Services etc.
Also depending on the agency size, larger agencies may have specialist Exec teams dedicated to particular research types e.g. Employee Research, Customer Satisfaction, Mystery Shopping etc.
The scope of projects could span the following:-
· New product or service development
· Customer satisfaction
· Employee satisfaction
· Awareness and Usage
· Mystery Shopping
The list is not exhaustive and every individual organisation may have ad-hoc projects in addition to these.