Market research is a dynamic field that demands analytical minds to question data to understand what motivates and excites today’s audiences and consumers.

“Cultural trends are always shifting. There are megatrends and fads and it’s critical to stay abreast of each in order to be at the forefront in our work,” says Ally Aleman, Senior Vice President of qualitative research at Insight Strategy Group. Aleman, who started out in clinical psychology, speaks of her interest of decoding consumer behavior, specifically with brands.

The trend hunters

“So much of what we do is about understanding the ‘why,’” says Rachel Krauss, Senior Vice President at MarketCast. “It’s not about just reporting data, it’s about unraveling a story and anticipating trends in changing conditions.”

Trends happen fast and the way in which consumers make decisions is constantly changing. It’s up to today’s researchers to both identify and quantify such trends for their clients.

More and more young women are finding their way into market research because of its fast pace and requirement for both hard and soft skills. Aleman explains: “I’ve been seeing more of a hybrid skillset, where the same women that are developing the instruments and analyzing the data are also the ones facilitating the focus groups.”

A field for go-getters

Jen Handley, who started her career in advertising, made the unexpected leap to market research when she saw no one was harnessing the data points coming from social media. She has since co-founded Fizziology, a global audience insights company that works alongside clients to provide actionable business insights. “I saw there was an opportunity and grew a company around it,” says Handley.

This is a field that moves at a rapid pace and there are many paths for women to build an impressive and continually evolving career. Researchers can travel the globe facilitating focus group moderation or spend their time studying new research methodologies that uncover human sentiment analysis. “You can make it whatever you want,” Krauss adds.

Aleman, Krauss and Handley are all members of the Women in Research network, a great resource for young women looking for peer support and mentorship in their field.