What do you want to become?
Alternate Career Titles:
Market Analyst, Market Researcher
Career Overview: Surveys consumer methods of purchasing, while analyzing and formulating consumer purchasing strategies.
Career Salary Range: $25,000 to $47,000+
Become a Consumer Researcher
Consumer Researchers are typically hired by the marketing or sales departments of record companies, and their main function is to research how consumers are actually purchasing albums. This enables marketing and/or sales to develop a better understanding of what consumers might be more apt to buy in the future, based on what they purchased in the past.
Sometimes referred to as a Market Researcher, the Consumer Researcher may collect data directly from various record company departments. The type of information gathered includes the genres of records, the number of albums of each type of music that have been sold, and the actual geographic location each was sold as well.
He or she might undertake the same type of research among other record labels as well, but this is obviously much more difficult as most labels are unlikely to disclose this type of sales information to competitors. But the Researcher can talk to distributors, Rack Jobbers, and record stores to gather the data they need.
Another option for the Researcher is to put together a consumer survey, and then directly present the questionnaire to the consumers, or train others in other markets to carry out the survey process. Of course, it has also become quite popular to carry out surveying on the web. The Researcher can also use the phone to contact and interview consumers about their buying habits.
After the data has been collected, it is pretty useless until the results are tabulated and analyzed. From this, the marketing and/or sales departments can determine what types of records are selling on the market, and where they are selling, thus facilitating planning of future releases.
To do their job successfully, the Consumer Researcher must have a great working knowledge about records, markets, the recording industry, and the music business as a whole, in order to have an idea of the types of questions to actually ask of consumers in a survey.
He or she works closely with the Marketing and/or Sales Director and the department staff. It is also within the realm of the Consumer Researcher’s responsibility to recommend test marketing of a certain record in a certain area, while also maybe advising against promotion of a record in a certain area as a result of the test marketing. These recommendations are not the final word, however, and department directors can choose to either listen or ignore.
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Researcher salaries vary depending on the size of the record label and the level of experience and responsibilities of the individual. All things considered, salaries range from $25,000 to $47,000 or more per year.
Because a Researcher needs specific skills in order to be successful, those who are qualified have a decent chance of obtaining a job. This is because marketing and/or sales departments are usually always looking to hire good Researchers.
Advancement for a Consumer Researcher could come in the form of taking on bigger projects. Or, he or she might become a supervisor in the research department, and can even become a member of the marketing staff as a Marketing Coordinator or Marketing Vice President.
Education and Training
As mentioned, specific skills are required, so a bachelor’s degree is usually required for this position. A master’s degree might even be preferred. Useful college majors include marketing or business administration. Helpful courses include computer technology or data processing.
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Experience, Skills, and Personality
A Consumer Researcher must be interested in and know how to dig deep into consumer buying habits. From there, they must also have a grasp on analysis and have the ability to make data and results understandable for those receiving the reports.
To attain success in this position, a thorough knowledge of the music business and recording industry is necessary.
Unions and Associations
Consumer Researchers may belong to advertising associations, such as the American Advertising Federation (AAF) or the American Marketing Association (AMA). Both of these organizations provide information and assistance to people in this field.
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Experience in consumer research in any field is great preparation.
- Take on a position as a pollster for a new product, service, etc.
- If you can further your education, it will definitely pay off when applying for a position like this.
- These positions are highly advertised, which means they should be easy to find when searching classifieds.
- The internet is your best friend in your search for this position, as new jobs can be posted any time.