Market Analyst ó Jane Harris

Back to Careers in Geography

I always loved Geography at school. Perhaps I was lucky to have enthusiastic teachers. I knew I wanted to follow it up after Year 12, but the careers advice I received was relatively limitedóbeing a town planner or teaching seemed the most obvious options, but they did not inspire me.

I went off to university without a strong direction in terms of a likely career. I studied between La Trobe University and Monash University in Melbourne, finally moving to Monash to finish my Arts degree, because of its strong offering in Geography. Although I had an interest in the physical/environmental side of Geography, my strength was in Urban Geography. I studied subjects concerned with the geography of cities, population studies, geography in the third world; and finally I found my way into the world of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). This was where I saw my future.

I've stayed with GIS so far in my working life. Looking back, it was GIS and the statistical skills I learned to use in Geography that I've used most in my work. The research and analytical skills that I developed as a Geography student have been invaluable in my career.

After graduating in 1994, I took a further year to complete a Graduate Diploma in Land Information at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). I am now enrolled in a Masters in Geomatics.

My first job was as a Research Assistant with the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. I researched the housing sector; in particular, the benefits of home ownership versus renting. I was using mapping and statistical skills, but I wanted a greater challenge. So, after a year and a half, I moved on to a job in Brisbane where I used my GIS skills in an urban economic consultancy firm.

I worked on retail and feasibility studies for site analysis, relying heavily on statistics and GIS. Our studies utilised data from a variety of sources, such as the ABS Census for population change and projections, the Retail Census, and MapInfo for catchment building and analysis.

In mid1996, I returned to Melbourne and worked with a leading economic consultancy, Jebb Holland Dimasi, using many of the same skills to conduct retail site analysis. I had taken on a strong GIS role, but had moved away from analysis. Soon, I found myself less challenged and interested due to the technical and repetitive nature of the work.

That's when I found Pacific Marketing and my job as Market Analyst in 1998. This job has been a turning point for me, and I've progressed to become Team Leader. The job is really stimulating and diverse and, most importantly, it draws strongly from my analytical and geographical background.

We use varied and complex strategies to help our clients understand and reach their clients. We can create a customer profile that helps describe the key characteristics of our client's customers. Our services and products enable our clients to make more intelligent decisions about how to market their products. We improve customer retention and cross-selling, and teach clients how to reach new customers.

I really enjoy the variety and challenge I have found in my role as a Market Analyst and Team Leader. It uses GIS (Micromarketer) and analytical skills in a really creative environment. I work with a diverse base of clients, ranging from retailers to banks. Most importantly, it has allowed me to continue to do analytical work and retain my technical skills, which ensures I grow technically and professionally.