Market research skills: definitions, examples and tips

Updated 31 July 2023

Market research, also known as marketing research, involves gathering information about a consumer group's preferences and needs. There are many skills required for a career in market research. If your chosen career path involves market research, it helps to understand what they are and how they manifest in the workplace so you may gain more experience and highlight them in your job applications. In this article, we define market research skills, share examples, offer tips on how to improve them, explain their uses in the workplace and give some advice on how to highlight them on your job applications.

What are market research skills?

Market research skills involve your ability to gather and analyse data related to potential customers, products and services. Market researchers, marketers, advertisers, media executives, business developers and business analysts primarily use these skills. They involve following the best practices to get results that help them understand market trends and interpret customer behaviour. These skills also include the ability to create surveys, use data and develop effective marketing plans. Additionally, they include the ability to understand market dynamics and use insights to create marketing plans that target the right audiences and generate sales.

Related: Industry research vs. market research: 5 key differences

Examples of market research skills

Here are a few examples of key skills in market research:

Data analysis

Data analysis is a foundational skill for market researchers. Your ability to analyse data is key to making informed and useful recommendations to clients and helps you present your findings. Understanding data also guides you towards the best approach for gathering consumer data, such as surveys or questionnaires. There are four key types of data analysis to be aware of:

  • Descriptive data analysis: This requires organisation and categorisation techniques to identify trends. This type of analysis typically quantifies the results of previous business strategies.

  • Predictive data analysis: This analysis uses existing data to make predictions and forecasts about future trends and potential outcomes. Predictive data analysis requires using complex mathematics and algorithms to extract meaningful information to contribute to predictions.

  • Prescriptive data analysis: Similar to predictive data analysis, this style forecasts outcomes from hypothetical changes that an organisation might make. Organisations may use this to determine whether introducing a new product is likely to have an impact on existing ones.

  • Diagnostic data analysis: This analysis usually compares data to identify relationships between them. This style of analysis aims to find the reasons behind patterns and links between data.

Related: How to become a market research analyst (including qualifications)

Market research awareness

Awareness of market research is a key skill for this role. You may develop this skill by keeping up to date with market research activity, including the latest news and tools. Market research is ever-increasing, meaning there are many opportunities and tools to help you conduct valuable research and carry out other primary duties. Staying up to date with the latest news and forms of market research helps you appeal to employers who want to reach wider audiences.

Related: What does a market research analyst do? (With job types)

Data collection

The ability to gather data through various channels is a key skill for market researchers. Data collection involves gathering data to inform recommendations and reports. These channels include focus groups, questionnaires, tracked advertising, interviews and polls. Candidates with experience in innovative data collection are sure to appeal to employers. Data collection skills help market researchers gather accurate information that may lead to multiple benefits for organisations looking to differentiate themselves.

Related: 14 market research companies and their services

Product development

Product development skills are valuable for helping you conduct quantitative and qualitative research. Experience and strengths in product development help you provide different departments with relevant data that they may use to inform objectives and strategies. Product development skills are also valuable for your recognition of consumer insights, as consumer insights and opinions are typically the focus of market research.

Related: Market testing vs product testing (definition and types)


Communication is a main soft skill for most roles. Market research roles require communication skills to effectively communicate data findings to stakeholders and clients who may use your findings to implement significant changes. Communication skills help you gain insight into consumers and their needs. A key responsibility of market researchers is to make informed decisions and suggestions based on their findings, and communication skills enable them to do this.

Related: Why is communication important? (And how to improve it)

Data visualisation

Data visualisation skills help you create engaging and compelling data visualisations. Most market researchers depend on data visualisations to communicate their findings to stakeholders and clients. These graphic representations of data and statistics are useful for highlighting key trends or identifying areas for improvement within strategies. These skills allow you to showcase information to other staff who may not have a background in market research.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are valuable to have across many aspects of market research. Firstly, interpersonal skills help you communicate effectively with team members and colleagues. Secondly, they're advantageous for communicating with consumers and conducting interviews that provide key insights. Interpersonal skills help you extract the information you need from consumers to make beneficial decisions and boost profits.

Reading comprehension

Market researchers regularly interpret various documents and data, making reading comprehension very beneficial. The ability to read effectively and comprehend key information helps you extract the most important aspects of data or other forms of research. Interpreting data correctly is a key responsibility of market research, making reading comprehension central to the role.

Related: 13 jobs that use Excel (with salaries and primary duties)

How to improve marketing research skills

There are some strategies to help you improve your skills in market research, including:

1. Consider skills training

One of the simplest ways to strengthen your skills is to take up further development training in market research. Consider enroling on a skills development course or participating in online opportunities. These courses and training opportunities help you develop and strengthen your communication skills by enabling you to meet like-minded experts. You may also have the opportunity to strengthen your reading comprehension and interpersonal skills with professional training.

2. Network with other market research professionals

Networking with others in your field also helps you develop your existing skills. For example, liaising with other market researchers develops your interpersonal skills and strengthens your awareness of the field in general. As communicating with clients about findings and suggestions is central to working as a market researcher, being able to communicate with others who understand your methods improves your confidence and communication skills.

3. Conduct research

Staying up to date with the latest tools and strategies of market research is one of the best ways to develop your skills. Having a strong awareness of the latest developments and activities in the field is key in this role, and regularly conducting research helps enormously. Research the latest trends in marketing to help you make projections for the future.

Marketing research skills in the workplace

These tips show you how to improve your skills in the workplace:

  • Develop a thorough understanding of the market and industry trends.

  • Use data-driven analysis and tools to identify customer needs and preferences.

  • Conduct in-depth customer research to identify potential opportunities and risks.

  • Monitor competitive activities and assess the impact on market share.

  • Analyse customer data to identify and evaluate potential new markets and segments.

  • Track and analyse consumer trends to identify areas of opportunity.

  • Develop effective strategies and tactics to capture new market shares.

  • Stay up-to-date on the latest market research techniques and tools.

Related: How to conduct market research (with types and benefits)

How to highlight marketing research skills

Being able to highlight your skills may help you secure a role in this field. If you apply for a role, memorably showcasing your skills sets you apart from other candidates. Here are a few suggestions to help you highlight your skills on your CV and during an interview:

Marketing research skills for your CV

Most CVs have a designated skills section where you may highlight your most important abilities. Make sure the skills you include are relevant to the role of a market researcher and align with those listed in the job description. Aligning your skills section with the skills mentioned in the listing helps you demonstrate your suitability for a role.

Marketing research skills for an interview

During interviews, hiring managers often ask candidates about their skills and what they might bring to the role. In this scenario, emphasise your relevant marketing skills and demonstrate how they qualify you for the role. Prepare some answers for potential questions to ensure your answers are clear, informative and delivered confidently. Provide specific examples of your skills, such as data collection and communication.

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