Introduction

Strategic marketing is all about understanding customers and competitors and that comes partially from marketing research. The successful use of marketing research leads to superior financial results and market positions (e.g., Clancy & Krieg, 2000; Vriens, 2012). Schlee & Harich (2010) found that marketing research was the second most important area that students should have conceptual knowledge in, second only to consumer behavior, but more essential than promotion and advertising, sales, and pricing. This held true for entry-level jobs, mid-level jobs, and upper management-level jobs. Hence, an introduction in business research methods is often a mandatory module in a core college of business curriculum (e.g., Achenreiner, 2001; Nunan & Di Domenico, 2018); and marketing research is a mandatory class in most undergraduate marketing major programs.

As an industry, marketing research has enjoyed decades of almost continuous year-over-year growth. Between 2006 and 2016, for example, the revenue of the top 50 US marketing research firms grew from $ 7.7 billion to $ 11.6 billion.1 Globally, in 2016 the market was an estimated $ 44.6 billion. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015) projects a 19% increase in market research analysts' positions over a 10-year time span (compared with 7% for other occupations). More recently, growth was further fueled by the Big Data and analytics trends (e.g., Davenport & Harris, 2007; Davenport & Patil, 2012; Houghton, Schertzer, & Beck, 2018; Lilien, Roberts, & Shankar, 2012; Sieben, 2016) and scarcity of such skills is already felt by recruiters (e.g., LaSonde, 2016). According to Linkedln's data, "statistical and data mining" is the second most sought-after hard skill by recruiters as of January 2018.2