When most people think of what a marketing team looks like, they probably imagine what amounts to an “arts & crafts” department.
After all, the marketing department is where the creatives are supposed to live. They produce stellar writing, cool infographics, engaging videos, websites, emails, social media posts, and all the other assets that make a digital marketing campaign tick.
But marketing has changed. Sure, there’s nothing quite like a witty ad campaign, but most businesses can’t afford to risk their marketing budget on traditional media ads, nor do they have the capital to waste on untargeted digital marketing campaigns.
Today, data dictates everything, from a company’s internal operations to their next marketing strategy. And most businesses are struggling with it.
According to a report by Forrester, 74% of businesses want to be “data-driven” but only 29% say they are successful at drawing actionable insights from their data.
To solve this problem, more and more businesses are searching for a different kind of individual to add to their teams — someone with the critical mind of a data scientist and the insights of a marketer.
Here’s what you need to know about Marketing Analysts.
What is a Marketing Analyst, Really?
Put simply, the Marketing Analyst’s job is to help the business make decisions regarding their target markets. They inform leaders whether it’s a good idea to go after specific vertical and they help the marketing department determine how to outflank their competitors.
They need a very specific set of skills, including:
- Knowledge of statistics and mathematics
- Experience with data analysis and reporting software (Excel, SPSS)
- Marketing expertise
- Strong written and oral communication skills
- Critical thinking skills
Most Analysts will have an education in Business Administration, Marketing, Data Science, or a combination thereof.
And if you do hire a Marketing Analyst, it isn’t just their skillset you should pay attention to.
When it comes to performance, your Marketing Analyst needs to deliver consistently on the five key priorities detailed below:
1. Documenting Research Findings
Marketing Analysts should gather data and general information about your customers, your verticals, and any markets you’re interested in penetrating. Many researchers accomplish this by doing primary research, which often involves running surveys of customers. However, there are several ways researchers can obtain data, including:
- Customer surveys, comments, and reviews
- Employee surveys
- Customer data collection
- In-house analytics
- Focus groups
- Third-party research and data
- Platform/Web Property Audits
They then analyze this data to determine customer needs and pain points, and to look for trends in the marketplace.
Most importantly, your Marketing Analyst should be documenting their research. They’ll need this documentation to present that research to stakeholders later.
*NOTE: Research/analysis should be well organized, easily searchable when needed, and structured in a way that is easy for decision-makers to digest.
2. Presenting Insights & Reports Based on the Interpretation of Data
Most CEOs don’t have the time to sift through data and listen to lengthy reports. But market research, growth opportunities, and key performance insights are the type of information they need to be privy to. This is where the Marketing Analyst comes in.
After documenting their research, auditing the business, and analyzing their data – the Analyst will compile their insights into impactful reports. The key here is “impactful”. Reports need to be intelligible, not overly complex, and immediately useful.
Your Marketing Analyst must have the skills to not only create comprehensible reporting but also to deliver that reporting in a way that you can understand — experience in data visualization techniques and storytelling is a huge benefit, and it helps if they have public speaking skills.
They should be able to identify the most significant information and lead with that information using visual aids, digital aids, and other tools to communicate.
Finally, Marketing Analysts should provide actionable insights and suggestions based on their analysis.
3. Contributing to Important Business Decisions
Marketing analysis shouldn’t be a frivolous pursuit, and the work of a Marketing Analyst doesn’t just relate to the marketing department. Their insights should help leadership make key business decisions.
For example, by constructing and acquiring answers to key research questions, an Analyst can help your marketing, sales, and customer experience teams understand which strategies are worth investing in further and which are not working.
Ultimately, the Analyst’s research will determine not just how the next strategy will take form, but also where resources, including funding, will be allocated.
4. Providing Competitive Analyses
Marketing Analysts should also do research into competitors. They’ll identify your competitor’s position in the market, their pricing, and their marketing strategies, then use this information to inform your own strategy.
Some companies have a specific role for this, called the “Competitive Analyst.”
Regardless, your Analyst should monitor competitors’ websites and other resources to track pricing information, marketing strategy, and data about specific products. They should also work to understand your competitors’ market share, provide competitive information to your sales team, and stay appraised of competitor actions that could threaten your business.
A good example of this is a SWOT analysis:
All competitor data should be compiled into a database for transparency.
^Ladder sees the 2nd most traffic out of this competitor set, though very below what GrowthHackers sees… which makes sense since GrowthHackers core product is a community forum.
^Ladder has the strongest channel diversity
5. Developing a Market Strategy
Lastly, your Analyst should prioritize developing your marketing strategy based on their research findings. Often, the Analyst will work directly with marketing directors or CMOs to accomplish this.
Included in this responsibility is the development of segmentation, prospecting, lead generation, pricing, and research strategies.
In this regard, your Analyst will wear a lot of hats. They need to be able to speak to executives, develop strategies, collaborate with your marketing and sales team, and do analytical work.
*Consider Leveraging an Automated Marketing Analyst
A Marketing Analyst can be crucial to your company’s growth and reducing wasted resource.
If you’re thinking about hiring a Marketing Analyst, you might first consider Spotlight – a tool we built to serve as an automated marketing analyst.
For a fraction of the cost of a salaried employee, Spotlight can fully automate the analysis of your marketing data across any channel, bring the most significant insights to top via generated executive summaries, and leverage real data-science to detect anomalies within any metric and even predict how increasing spend will impact your cost-per-conversion.