Businesses are swamped in marketing data, but they don’t always know how to use data and truly glean insights from it.
This is where marketing analysts come in. The role of a marketing analyst is to act as an “analytics translator” and help companies make sense of their marketing data to drive impact. The insights they generate help companies determine which products to sell, how to optimize their marketing mix, and how to refine ad campaigns.
For many, marketing analytics roles are the first step into data science, as the job requires a range of skills relevant to the data science field, including analytics, SQL, statistics, and modeling. For those interested in becoming marketing analysts, we took a closer look at this fast-growing role to help you understand what the role consists of, key job responsibilities, job outlook and salary expectations, and what credentials you need.
Marketing analysts are responsible for providing data-driven insights to help solve marketing challenges for companies. People in this role often specialize in either marketing research or marketing analytics, and most work on a team that includes market researchers, analysts, and other marketing specialists.
Marketing analysts use statistics and statistical software to analyze data and identify trends. From there, they can make predictions about how the market will respond to various marketing strategies. Along with identifying trends and making projections, they also support their findings with qualitative data from customer surveys, focus groups, interviews, and other research methods.
In short, marketing analysts are responsible for:
Marketing analysts work closely with data and numbers. They often serve as analytics specialists and have the keen ability to generate insights that help companies make more informed decisions.
So what skills do marketing analysts need to be successful? In general, marketing analysts require a precise mix of soft skills and technical expertise.
Marketing analysts should possess these soft skills:
1. Communication - Marketing analysts have to be comfortable with sharing their findings with clients and colleagues, and making data accessible to non-technical stakeholders. They possess strong verbal and written communication skills in order to present information both in-person and virtually.
2. Analytical Thinking - It’s essential for those within this role to focus on thinking analytically, especially towards defining problems and using data and metrics to back up insights.
3. Industry Knowledge - Marketing analysts can be specialists – serving a particular industry like e-commerce, for instance. However, industry-specific knowledge isn’t as important as general digital marketing expertise. More specifically, you should be sure to have the process behind how marketing data is collected, analyzed, and used down pat.
4. Business Sense - Marketing analysts should have a solid foundation in how businesses function overall, and how marketing data can serve the business. Strong business and product sense is essential in marketing analyst roles.
Marketing analysts should have some kind of working experience with analytics systems, as well as statistical analysis software, and, in some cases, scripting software. Some of the most common required technical skills include:
From a broader perspective, marketing analysts are often considered part of a larger umbrella category of data analysts. While both types of analysts work with data, they tend to focus on different types of information and, as such, use different tools.
Marketing analysts utilize quantitative data to understand past, present, and future business trends. They use statistical analysis to identify factors that may have an impact on the success of a promotion or campaign, with a primary focus on marketing data and deep marketing domain expertise.
Data analysts, on the other hand, tend to focus on larger datasets and do not require specific marketing expertise.
While there’s some overlap between what marketing and data analysts do, there are several key differences in the skills and areas of expertise required for each position.
Here’s how these two roles differ from one another:
Marketing analysts focus on company sales volume and revenue, as well as how different promotional efforts affect those metrics. Data analysts tend to look at much larger datasets across multiple companies or even industries, using that information to make predictions about future trends in specific markets.
Marketing analysts focus primarily on quantitative data, especially with relation to sales volume, revenue, and profit margins. Data analysts tend to use both quantitative and qualitative data in their day-to-day analyses, but their work serves different aspects of the business, from operations to finance.
Marketing analysts typically have a bachelor’s degree in marketing or business management, with master’s degrees becoming increasingly preferred. Though everyone’s path is different, the most common steps to becoming a marketing analyst include:
Step 1: Undergraduate Studies - A bachelor’s degree is a requirement for most marketing analytics jobs. Marketing and business degrees are the most directly applicable, but concentrations in computer science, data science, and other subjects also work. If you focus on the latter, be prepared to spend more time building your business sense independently.
Step 2: Build Core Analytics Skills - Most marketing analytics jobs require intermediate-to-advanced level skills in SQL, Excel, Tableau, Python, and, in some cases, machine learning. There are several options to achieve this: You can study and learn these skills independently, minor in data science and computer science, or complete a bootcamp post-graduation to gain hands-on experience with these tools.
Step 3: Build Your Portfolio - Although a portfolio isn’t necessary to land a job, it can be a powerful tool to get your foot in the door. You can do your own marketing analytics projects, compete in a Kaggle competition, or find a data analytics organization at your university. Another option is a marketing analytics internship. Internships provide practical experience and exposure to real-life marketing analytics cases.
Step 4: Prepare for the Interview - Interviews for marketing analytics positions test technical skills and business sense. Practice data analytics interview questions, work through data analytics case studies, and practice business sense interview questions to prepare. If you need some help, see our guide: How to Prepare for an Analyst Interview.
Step 5: Continue to Develop - To be successful in your first role in marketing analytics, be prepared to ask questions, work outside your comfort zone, and make mistakes. You’ll do a lot of learning on the job, and will likely have to continue to develop your skills on your own time. You can continue to develop through professional development programs, attending marketing conferences, and working with different mentors.
Step 6: Consider Next Steps - Many senior-level marketing analytics jobs require a master’s degree. Consider a master’s in data science, analytics, or marketing to continue to build your domain expertise, gain advanced skills, and learn the latest techniques.
There is strong demand for marketing analysts across a variety of industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the role is projected to grow by 18% over the next decade, a higher average rate compared to other occupations.
According to the BLS, the average salary for market research analysts is $63,790 per year, with top earners making $122,630 a year. The best salaries for marketing analytics jobs tend to be in tech.
Here’s a breakdown of average base marketing analyst salaries by company:
Interview Query provides a range of resources to help you prepare for marketing analyst interviews, including: