A college degree will get you into the interview, but you need to know how to tell a compelling story to land the job offer.
Like a lot of things in life, my path was "right place, right time." I studied Anthropology in undergrad, though I know a lot of people in this field who studied Marketing, Journalism, or Advertising. You want to network - even in strange places. I met a recruiter for a different job at my current company that got me through the door while working as a short order cook in a seafood restaurant. From there, you need to talk with people who seem to have really cool jobs. Build a professional portfolio, and if you don't know what that would look like, reach out to those cool people with the cool jobs. Become well versed in your elevator pitch, so it comes off naturally. And if job interviews make you nervous, put Vaseline on your teeth, so you remember to smile.
Every day is a little bit different than the last in Market Research and Insight Design. It is a project-based field where you would need to define a research road map that could answer specific business needs. Those needs could span from concrete questions like, "How do people shop for wine?" to something more fluid like, "What will the concept of Wellness look like in five years?" The easiest way to describe this job would be to say that we are futurist anthropologists studying trends as they come up now in order to create future products or experiences for people when they begin to seek them out. It's a little like, "Who came first, the chicken or the egg? The consumer or the trend?" - and the good news is that is was probably something in the middle involving a marketing researcher and a group of people willing to tell them their story.
There is a lot of creativity in this space because, at the end of the day, we're storytellers who lead with empathy. Our constant is the business question at hand, but there is a sort of freedom in having an hour long conversation with a stranger that dips and curves around whatever their constant in life may be; finances, education, or concerns for their loved ones. Because at the end of the day, it isn't just about shopping for something as common as wine. It's about what occasion you're buying it for and for whom, if it is a big event or the perfect bottle for a bubble bath - it's the story and empathy behind the Things We Purchase that makes my job interesting every day.
Travel Budget, Typically travel to major cities around the US once a month, Always get new topics to study, so it is never one thing on repeat
There is an emotional drain to this job. It takes a lot of energy to create a calm and understanding bond with a stranger for an hour and put them at enough ease to be forthright in their responses. It also isn't just a single hour a day; it is probably four or five interviews with recaps after each. This field seems to call in a bunch of extroverts for that reason, or people who are energized in groups but need to recharge alone. Travel is also something to consider. You need to be where the key audience lives, and this likely means traveling for roughly one week per month. It's enjoyable, I love it - but it would be a stress on family or animals if you didn't have a solid support channel to step in when needed.
If you have the experience and an ability to adapt constantly, you can feasibly be in the running for promotions every three to five years: the larger the company, the more ability to move.
Start building your portfolio now within the boundaries of your current career. Research trends and pitch the next idea to your boss. Develop ways to make your job engage with people more empathically - because you're not just selling an idea, you're telling the story of a real person with a real need.