The technological resources that have been available to marketers are now requiring more human resources. But is this a gig for the marketing coordinator, or a full-time operation?
I’m guessing you’ve seen it – the one or two job postings for “marketing analyst” mixed in among “marketing specialist” and “marketing manager”. If you get weekly notifications from LinkedIn, American Marketing Association, or local professional groups, you’ll get one a week perhaps. But I’m sure it also depends on your geographic location.
But from where I sit, I see the postings enough to know they’re on the rise.
About two years ago I saw someone “seeking to find” an analyst about once a quarter. Now, the multitude of changes in the marketing landscape have finally created the need for an extra pair of hands to sort it all out, and tell us what it all means.
Here’s my theory.
In the 2000’s, marketing was given a set of shiny new toys. We ran pay-per-click ads, retargeted, tweeted and made responsive websites. Web 2.0 became Web 3.0, and we hit a glass wall when just configuring digital outlets wasn’t enough. We needed to customize. And create.
In our line of work at Smartbridge, we get first-hand experience witnessing marketing departments request – and drive – a good majority of IT projects. In fact, Gartner had predicted that in 2017, CMO’s spend for technology will be greater than that of the CIO.
So with all that re-tooling of marketing tactics, all that investment, and redirecting of IT staff to focus on marketing projects, we are at the point where we have to prove all of that is worth the time, money… and sometimes, blood.
Measuring and reporting on marketing initiatives, plans and campaigns requires just as much of an investment – perhaps more – as what it took to customize, create and build ways to target the audiences.
So our creative brains had to re-adjust to the weekly and monthly routine of sitting in front of spreadsheets and basically comparing notes. If you’re lucky, you have a few tools to help you out. But the pressure is on.
According to an infographic from Fifth Ring’s Ed Davis, 85% of B2B marketing executives say that marketing is more challenging than ever.
The CMO of American Express has even been quoted as saying that the pressure on marketing departments has increased because “there is an expectation that it’s more measurable, more targeted and therefore more effective.”
So the Marketing Analyst role came along to meet some of those expectations by measuring what was once never measured, finding targets, and proving their effectiveness.
The marketing analyst role, I believe, is an attempt to keep the analytical, data-driven thinker encased within the creative shell. Sure, you need to understand numbers, statistics, be able to find trends and patterns… but you also have to be able to tell stories.
Whether the analyst is digging into a set of outside data, or reporting on results from your own, the ability to find the story behind the data is the most critical part of the role. They tie the story up in a nice little bow (i.e. the reports or dashboards) and offer it up to the team or clients for their viewing pleasure.
This allows the marketing department to provide a valuable platform to launch or refine their experiments. That’s what marketing is its core, right? A series of experiments that are based on creative and critical thinking.
So do you need a marketing analyst of your own? Or do you find ways to build this role organically into your existing team?
Here are a few factors I would consider in answering that question:
1. Marketing Analyst positions seem to be most present in Fortune 500 organizations. Small to mid-size companies are still not seemingly feeling the pressure yet. Marketing agencies typically rely on the account reps and specialists to perform these activities.
2. This is best suited for organizations that spend significant dollars on intricate integrated marketing campaigns. A good amount of analysis time should really be spent on how your own tactics compare to each other. Is your budget being properly allocated?
3. Are you in a competitive market? Analyzing competitors, prices, markets and industries are a significant responsibility of this role.
4. Are you really seeking a marketing analyst, or just a dang-good analytical tool? If your focus is primarily on marketing campaign ROI, you probably just need to invest in the right technology. Such is the case for SmartMPM users, who just want to focus on their own efforts while minimizing the time it takes to build the reports so they can spend more time comprehending the “data stories”.
If you want an analyst but you know it is wishful thinking, consider training your team. The truth is, they all will be much more fierce marketers for learning how to be analytical – and they probably all know it’s good for them anyway.
With a little guidance, there’s a little marketing analyst in each one of us begging to be freed. Learning how and where to get the data is the hardest part, but telling the story is easy – it’s in our bones.
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