Organizations that want to stay competitive in today’s market use data to guide their decision-making.
Instead of relying on gut instinct or guesswork, data gives organizations insight into what’s working and what needs to be improved. Additionally, the majority of business leaders say that collecting and analyzing data leads to faster, more effective decision-making.
Customer data helps them better understand their audiences to create personalized offers and experiences. Gathering data from across the organization and the industry allows for better optimization of processes and efforts. Technologies like AI can also create more accurate forecasting for the business.
When it comes to marketing, who is managing and analyzing all that data so that an organization can improve its marketing efforts, intelligently spend its budgets, and better target its audiences? A marketing analyst.
If you’re looking at beginning a career as a marketing analyst here’s how to get started.
What Does a Marketing Analyst Do?
A marketing analyst, or a marketing research analyst, is an individual who analyzes an organization’s marketing data to uncover insights that improve marketing efforts.
The analyst identifies ideal audiences for an organization’s products or services, key channels through which to target them, which products customers are buying, and the messaging that best resonates with their audience.
With increased competition among companies, vying for customer attention, marketing departments can no longer rely on generalized messaging efforts.
They must rely on data to target the right customer, at the right time, in the right channel, with the right message. And companies that use data to drive 50% or more of their marketing decisions say they more clearly see the value of their marketing efforts.
A marketing analyst helps bring that value to their organization in the following ways.
Conduct Market Research and Gather Data
A marketing analyst needs data to make recommendations. This can come from a variety of sources, including:
- Data collected from the organization’s marketing efforts, like:
- How many people clicked on a display ad over a given campaign length.
- How many customers signed up for a loyalty program that was driven by a promotion.
- Other marketing campaign metrics.
- Customer data, collected:
- Directly from the customer (zero- or first-party data).
- Gathered from other companies or aggregate sites (second- and third-party data).
- General market research data, like industry reports, which can include:
- Data about the market as a whole.
- Overall purchasing behaviors.
- Customer buying trends.
Analyze and Interpret Data
A marketing analyst will analyze and interpret that data to answer questions, looking for patterns or connections that show whether or not one action impacted another, e.g identifying if an ad resulted in a purchase, including all the specific conditions impacting that causality.
Today, marketing analysts have a number of tools available to them, from basic in-platform analytics as on Google or Facebook, to native analytics in customer relationship management tools such as Salesforce or HubSpot, to higher-level statistical tools such as R or Tableau.
These tools run data sets and generate data visualizations charts and graphs to show correlations and connections in the data, providing insights for the marketing analyst.
Communicate Results and Identify Opportunities for Growth
With the data analyzed and its insights extrapolated, the analyst will communicate key insights to the greater marketing department and leadership team.
The ideal reports tell a story about the data, such as which marketing efforts were successful or not, and provide meaningful visualizations generated by the tools.
Putting It All Together
A footwear company rolls out a two-week paid advertising campaign across search and social, with the goal for customers to purchase a new sneaker. At the end of the campaign, their marketing analyst gathers the data collected on customer actions.
The marketing analyst runs the data sets through their analysis tools, and learns the following:
- More people clicked on the social media ad than the search display ads.
- Of the people who saw the social media ad, half clicked on it.
- Of those who clicked on the ad and were brought to the website, half purchased the product.
After collecting the data and gathering the insights from that data, the marketing analyst develops a set of recommendations for the company’s next campaign. For example:
- With social media ads being more effective than display, future marketing budgets should invest a higher percent in social.
- However, to increase the click rate on social media ads, the marketing department should research tighter targeting of customers.
- In addition, because only half of those who made it to the website purchased, leadership should investigate what led to the audience drop-off — confusing wording, price point, difficult navigation, or something else that might impact the sale.
Now, the footwear company is ready to create a revised, better targeted campaign based on what they learned. They know how to spend their budget more efficiently, how to more accurately target their customers, and what actions to take to increase their sales — all based on the market analyst’s efforts.
Marketing Analyst Job Outlook
As data analytics and business insights become a key component of organizational strategy, marketing analysts roles will be in high demand.
As of 2023, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that marketing analyst roles are growing at 19%, a faster rate than the average occupation’s growth. Glassdoor estimates that the annual salary of a marketing analyst is $65,109, and could be upwards of $107,000 (average). Marketing analyst roles can be found in nearly every industry.
Typically, a bachelor’s degree is required for a marketing analyst career in a subject like statistics, math, marketing, or business administration. However, those interested in marketing analytics can also expand their knowledge through courses and experience.
What Skills Are Needed to Become a Great Marketing Analyst?
A marketing analyst must possess a number of skills to be successful, including hard and soft skills and creativity. Here are just a few of the skills a marketing analyst should have to position themselves for success.
Data Analytics Skills
Fundamentally, a marketing analyst needs to know how to analyze data, the basics of statistical analysis, how to use analytics tools, attribution modeling, and forecasting.
The role is numbers-heavy, so this role will be best for someone who loves analyzing data, finding patterns, and extracting stories from that data.
Marketing analysts are inherently curious; they want to know what insights and answers they can find in the data. They also possess a curiosity around finding ways to improve marketing efforts.
Foundational Marketing Knowledge
A marketing analyst must know about marketing principles and practices, like how to promote a product or service, which channels to use, how to run campaigns, how to segment audiences, and more.
Gathering Research and Data
A marketing analyst must know how to conduct industry research, including customer buying habits and competitor tactics. They also need to know the methods in which to gather data on their audiences, including how to track behaviors, preferences, and actions.
Effective Communication and Storytelling
A marketing analyst must possess great communication skills to articulate their findings to others through both written reports and verbal communications, and how to tell the story around the data to help others understand their findings.
Getting Started as a Marketing Analyst
A marketing analyst is an in-demand, growing career — and a great fit for those who enjoy working with data and statistics. If you’re looking to grow your career as a marketing analyst, start with the following:
Take a Marketing Analytics Course or Program
While it’s not necessarily required, many marketing analysts have a degree or certification in marketing or data analysis.
If you desire to grow your skill set, look for courses not only in marketing analytics, but in how to use specific tools you’ll need as a marketing analyst, like Tableau.
You also have the opportunity to learn more in Harvard DCE Professional & Executive Development’s “Marketing Analytics Online Course: Strategies for Driving Business Results.”
Gain Real-World Experience
You can also gain experience on the job. Data analysis isn’t just confined to the marketing department, and many different roles across different organizations may have a data analysis component to it where you can learn the basics of analysis and interpretation. Or build your experience by taking on freelance projects that can grow your skills as well.
Learn How to Use Marketing Tools and Stay Up-to-Date with Trends
Marketing analysts have an incredibly timely job, responding to customer behaviors and industry trends that are constantly changing, as well as forecasting the future of the industry.
Evolving technology provides marketing analysts with new tools and approaches to help them better analyze and interpret data for useful application. Grow your skills and knowledge by keeping up with technology and trends, and how they can be applied to your efforts.
Next Steps: “Marketing Analytics Online Course: Strategies for Driving Business Results”
If you’re interested in learning more about marketing analytics and gaining hands-on experience in how to do it, Harvard DCE Professional & Exectuive Development’s “Marketing Analytics Online Course: Strategies for Driving Business Results” can help you.
Designed for business leaders who want to understand more about how to use data to drive their decision-making, this online course will give you a comprehensive understanding of marketing analytics and how it applies to your business.
It will also give you exposure to analysis technologies, how to collect data, how to look at various marketing metrics, and how to tell a story around the data you find.