Setting a competitive price can be a challenge for most any business. You want to at least compete with your competitors, but still sell at a price that can turn a profit. To arrive at a good number, you can base it off cost, demand, what your competitors charge, or you could always hire a pricing analyst, who uses all these factors and more to arrive at an amount.
Pricing analysts -- as well as other market research analysts -- typically need at least a bachelor’s degree to land the job. Degrees vary, but the most applicable include market research, statistics, math and business administration. If you’re currently in school, consider taking classes in marketing, economics, psychology, sociology and research methods, which are all used when setting pricing structures, evaluating purchase behavior and determining promotional pricing. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, many employers seek candidates with an MBA or another graduate degree, such as market research, statistics or economics.
While stepping into the role of a pricing analyst out of college isn’t unheard of, many employers seek candidates with previous work experience in the industry. If you've held a position that collected data, analyzed data or dealt with data extraction and data manipulation, you will have the basic experience to work as a pricing analyst. An internship in market research, marketing or sales may also prove beneficial for the aspiring analyst.
As with any job, duties vary by employer, but you’ll always be involved with setting the price of products or services. How you arrive at a number is often through gathering, converting and analyzing data, whether it's consumer, competitor or brand. You’ll look at market trends, market conditions, pricing analyses, purchase behavior, consumer behavior, promotional offerings, cost analysis and market penetration, among other analytics. From there, you’ll work with a team of people from marketing to sales to finance, and recommend the best pricing structure to compete with other products on the market.
In 2011, half of all market research analysts, which include pricing analysts, earned at least $67,130 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners made $112,560 a year, while the bottom 10 percent made $33,490 annually, per the BLS.