6 Essential Data and Analytical Skills for the Modern Marketer

by Matt Anstett, Director, Consulting Services – Digital Lead, CGI

As the mix of art and science involved in making marketing decision continues to shift, marketers need more well-rounded skills in the areas of data, analytics and overall insights. No longer can marketers, or business professional in general, depend on left-brained or right- brained centric skill sets only. For modern marketers this will become increasingly important with data scientists and analysts in short supply. Therefore, marketers will continue to be relied on to do the quantitative heavy lifting themselves in order to develop industry-leading strategy, campaigns and programs. New data and analytics technology are providing tools to help make it easier for marketers to be savvy in analytical skills, which is of crucial importance for marketers to grow their careers and excel in today’s landscape.

Skill # 1:  Analytical Thinking

Thinking analytically to solve problems has always been an important skill for marketers, but today it is a non-negotiable cost of entry. With mountains of data available at most companies, the ability to analyze efficiently and effectively helps to avoid information paralysis. Generating insights is easier with more data, but using analytical thinking to narrow down to the key actionable items is more important than ever.

Skill # 2:  Data Visualization and Storytelling

We’ve established that it can be easy to get lost in vast amounts of data, including reporting results within an organization. It is especially difficult if the story is not framed correctly or is not easy to understand. One of the most important benefits of visualization is that it allows us visual access to huge amounts of data in easily digestible visuals. Well-designed data graphics are usually the simplest and at the same time, the most powerful.  In the same way, effective communication, or storytelling of the of insights will drive a deeper understanding not only of the insight but of the implications and paths forward. 

Skill # 3:  Ability to Quickly Learn New Technologies and Tools

There has been a boom in business intelligence, customer management and ‘self-serve’ analytics tools. In order to stay on or ahead of the curve, marketers need to flatten their learning curve and quickly adapt to better target and understand their customers. Data democratization , or the ability for a broad range of people with diverse expertise to easily access data, is only beneficial when the data is used for actionable insights and related strategic changes. 

Skill # 4: The Fundamentals of Data Structures

Data infrastructure and architecture is ultimately in the domain of a CTO or CDO, but marketers need to be in the conversation. This does not mean understanding all the details, but a general understanding of the differences between various data concepts and database structures (e.g. structured, unstructured, streaming, etc.) is important.

Skill #5:  High Level Statistical Concepts

As with data fundamentals, modern marketers need to understand and be able to speak to the core concepts around statistical analysis (e.g. regression, multi-variant analysis, etc.). More and more test-and-learn strategies, lifecycle models and targeting engines rely on an understanding of these concepts. To get ahead of the curve, high level concepts related to machine learning and neural networks are great topics for bedside reading.

Skill # 6:  A Growth Mindset

Marketers need to be continuously learning and cannot shy away from new concepts. A growth mindset in this space means that marketers shouldn’t shy away from a wall of data and say “sorry, I’m not a data person.” Instead they should be always upgrading their skills, embracing new technologies and learning from other groups within the organization.

Tell Us What You Think
  1. If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by CMA before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry.
    Thanks for waiting. View CMA's Blogging Policy.