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Marketing Research Industry Stable with Rising Payrolls

18 Jul, 2012 By: Doug McPherson


CHICAGO – Even amid a sluggish economic recovery, the American Marketing Association (AMA) says that U.S. marketing research firms – such as commercial marketing, advertising and public opinion research services – grew in 2011. Actually, the AMA reports that U.S. marketing research firms fared better than the nation’s overall economy last year.

These types of companies posted revenue gains for the second consecutive year, says AMA’s Marketing News magazine in its annual Marketing Research Issue, published each summer.

In 2010, research revenue grew 4.7 percent, compared to 5.1 percent in 2011 – and both years’ growth were much better than 2008 and 2009, which saw revenue declines. And this research spending dwarfs U.S. gross domestic product numbers. While marketing research spending rose 5.1 percent, the GDP rose only 1.7 percent.

Researchers surveyed top 50 firms and 154 smaller firms. The firms surveyed showed an aggregate $9.2 billion in revenue and reported 38,305 full-time employees – a 7.9-percent jump from 2010.

The Nielsen Co. (with more than $2.5 billion in U.S. research revenue in 2011) and Kantar Media (with $929.4 million) kept their top spots in the study (both groups supply Response with DR industry research). The French conglomerate Ipsos – which bought the British firm Synovate – rose from seventh last year to third this year with $624.3 million in revenue.

Executive profiles from the survey found that of the leaders of the top 50 firms:

  • 36 have a graduate degree (17 MBAs)
  • The male-to-female ratio is 43-7
  • Ages range from 37 to 71, with an average age of 53
  • Only three were new in their jobs

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