The Marketing Research Profession Needs Certification

William D. Neal
SDR, Inc.

The certification of marketing researchers has been hotly debated in this country for the last 20 years. Several fact-based articles have been published on the subject along with several notable opinion articles. The two major quantitative studies on the subject (AMA – 1990 and McDaniel and Solano-Mendez, JAR, 1993) show very consistent results – over 60% of marketing researchers support certification. Younger and less experienced researchers support certification to a greater degree then their older colleagues.

Certification is a voluntary process whereby individuals receive a document recognizing that they have fulfilled the requirements of and may practice in the field. Most certification program requirements include passing an objective knowledge test, some basic level of experience, an agreement to abide by a code of professional practices, and a commitment to engage in ongoing professional development.