Is Professional Development Relevant to Market Researchers?

classroom of executives

Is professional development relevant to market researchers? In a study of nearly 450 marketing research professionals, the answer is yes, as three in four respondents plan to continue with some form of continuing education.

This question is especially relevant because our field has been under increasing pressure to perform more with less. In fact. according to a report by Forrester Research, “the mandate for market insights is to become a more capable and valuable organization that can meet the business’ needs, or be seen as a cost center to be overloaded, offshored or outsourced.” It was comments and concerns such as this that led InsightsCentral to explore how marketing researchers are being developed to meet today’s challenges.

Thus, to gain a better understanding of the state of marketing research professional development, we sponsored and conducted a study in the spring of 2014 among research professionals. Topics included:

  • Types of educational / training programs attended in past year
  • Frequency of attending and amount spent
  • Satisfaction levels with educational programs
  • Future participation in professional development programs
  • Attitudes about training and the marketing research profession

The nearly 450 insights professionals that participated in the study represented a variety of corporate researchers (CPG, pharma, financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, telecommunications and retail), research suppliers and marketing consultants.  We’ve summarized the key findings in an easy-to- read infographic. For instance, we found that 47% of researchers had attended paid training in the prior year, and 60% of these trainees were satisfied with the quality of that training.

We are planning to explore best practices in marketing research talent development to present at a conference in 2015. Want to help inform the scope? Do you have a best practice to share? We’d love to hear from you. Email me at

Carol Shea is the president of InsightsCentral, which provides marketing research training that emphasizes skill-building and consumer insights leadership. You can follow her on Twitter @InsightsCentral.


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