Are we exaggerating? Only a little. After all, your marketing analyst is the person who will spend the most time interacting with your organization’s marketing performance data.
A marketing analyst collects and studies data, determines how it reflects marketing performance and then translates those findings into reports that nontechnical audiences (like your C-suite leadership or your clients) can easily understand and act on.
In an analytics practice that’s operating at peak efficiency, you’ll usually find people acting in six key roles: marketing analyst, data engineer, influencer, marketing strategist, solution designer and data scientist.
Each role is important and necessary. But the marketing analyst is the only person you must have in order to produce reporting and insights.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What a marketing analyst does
- Why analysts are so important to a marketing team
- What kinds of skills a marketing analyst needs to succeed
What Does a Marketing Analyst Do? And Why Is That Important?
If your business is spending money on marketing, you need to know what that investment is buying you, whether that’s increased sales, engagement or awareness.
So the marketing analyst’s first job is to say “we did X, and then Y happened.” (Or didn’t happen, if you employed the wrong tactics or channels.) That knowledge empowers your business to make smarter decisions not just about marketing, but overall strategy.
The analyst has to collect data for all the marketing channels and platforms your organization is using. That job has become both easier and harder with the advent of digital marketing.
Online channels like social, display, search and email can provide a wealth of data in precise detail. But there’s so much data that collecting it all can be difficult, especially if you aren’t using a tool that can automate data aggregation. (Our ChannelMix platform can help!)
Once the analyst has all the data, they need the ability to compile everything in a report, summarize the most important findings and share them with the right audiences. For a brand, that might be your C-suite executives or your media-buying team. For an agency, it’s your clients.
This is the most basic outline of the marketing analyst’s job. But ideally, your analyst will go beyond telling you what happened. They should also find patterns in the data and insights that help you decide what to do next. Their recommendations should help you sort customers into more accurate segments, optimize your marketing spend, guide ad creative and uncover larger trends affecting your competitors or industry.
That’s why so many people enjoy the role of marketing analyst. It’s a perfect way to put their creative, problem-solving muscles to work.
How Do I Become a Marketing Analyst?
Numbers are a big part of the job, so a solid grounding in mathematics and statistics is critical. A bachelor’s degree, if not a master’s, is necessary in most cases. Marketing analysts should at least know their way around a spreadsheet.
Analysts also need some familiarity with marketing as a business — how marketers operate, what they need to measure, and how performance data impacts and reflects real-world results.
But understanding is only half the battle. A marketing analyst needs the ability to clearly communicate results to nontechnical audiences like their bosses, their coworkers or their clients. The ability to write and speak clearly and confidently is essential.
We’d argue that good communication extends to visualization, leveraging solutions like Tableau, Looker, Google Data Studio or Yellowfin to create marketing dashboards that illustrate performance with charts and graphs. Can you get by with shoving your data into a spreadsheet? Yes, if you hate your users and have a trust fund healthy enough to support you once you get fired or run out of business.
All of the above are the essential skills. But the best analysts usually have built a bigger toolbox. They may have picked up SQL so they can devise complex database queries. They know enough about their industry and marketing that they can ask deeper, more challenging questions, which in turn leads to more complex, more valuable insights.
Time is usually the limiting factor for marketing analysts. At smaller agencies and brands, it’s not uncommon for the analytics “team” to be one person. They’re so busy gathering data and constructing reports that no time is left to develop deeper insights.
That’s why, if you’re looking to evolve your marketing analytics, one of the first steps should be creating bandwidth for your analyst. Invest in tools or additional team members to give your analyst the time necessary to, you know, analyze.
Building a successful analytics practice means building a successful analytics team — one that features a skilled, empowered marketing analyst.
Ready to Build a Better Marketing Analytics Practice?
Take your insights and reporting to the next level. Download the Buyers Guide for Marketing Analytics, a free report from Alight Analytics. The guide will:
- Give you an easy-to-implement strategy for finding the right solution for your unique marketing analytics needs, including building the right team.
- Highlight the most common types of solutions on the market — including their pros, cons and capabilities.
- Show you the most important questions to ask when considering a new platform, so you can get the greatest value for your money.