In today’s data-driven climate, nearly every business and departmental decision is influenced by numbers. Never before has there been this amount of data at our fingertips, and while accumulating data is important, the real value lies in extracting value from this data. An organization needs to be able to harness this extracted data to make informed decisions. As PR and communications professionals become data-driven, the role of a marketing data analyst is an important addition to any marketing, communications, or PR team looking to let numbers guide strategy.
The specific role of the data analyst, especially a marketing data analyst who specializes within the confines of the marketing department, will vary considerably from company to company. One thing that remains consistent however is that marketing data analysts help make sense of the data by digesting numbers into fuel for marketing efforts. It’s important to remember that marketing isn’t always about originality and creativity (and this belief is why marketing analysts have often been underutilized), sometimes it’s just about the statistics, the numbers, and the gritty hard facts– this is where your analyst comes into the equation.
At Meltwater, we use data to support everything and the role of the marketing data analyst is no different. The role revolves around data (I mean it is included in the position title ☺) and on any given day I’m responsible for analyzing program performance, setting managers up for success by providing relevant data, assessing the effectiveness of existing programs, and highlighting areas for growth and improvement. Whether a marketing program is performing poorly or exceeding expectations, we want to know why, and it’s my job to figure that out.
So how do these responsibilities break down on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis?
As a creature of habit, every one of my days begins with a cup of earl grey tea and a task to-do list. This keeps me organized and assures that I know what needs to happen on any given day. Our organization places importance on demand generation programs, so each day I take a look at the incoming leads and see if we are on pace for our weekly and monthly goals. I analyze the number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Accepted Leads (SALs) and which programs are generating the specific leads. This often leads to further analysis–Why is one program performing better than others? Are there any anomalies?
Something I often remind myself is that it’s important not to get caught up about one specific result–some stories need time to develop. And although you might have plenty of data telling you one thing, time often reveals the full picture.
Since the role of the marketing data analyst is inherently connected to marketing, I have weekly meetings with various team members. It’s important to touch base and assess individual needs. For example, I meet with the marketing operations team to evaluate our marketing automation tools as well as overall program effectiveness. I meet with the department director to develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that assess the effectiveness of existing programs and strategies that meet organizational directives. I meet with the content team to discuss how market trends can shape social media strategy. By analyzing trends in the marketplace, marketing data analysts can glean a clearer understanding of what works and what doesn’t in the market. There are a handful of tools that provide real-time market trends alerts, such as competitor hiring trends as well as ad spend. These insights can provide the basis for informed strategic decisions.
Additionally, I monitor our Google Analytics (GA) web traffic, as well as AdWords spend, on a weekly basis. You can even link your GA and AdWords accounts allowing you to see GA in your AdWords reports as well as target remarketing audiences. On the other hand, you will also see AdWords data in your GA reports – this helps consolidate data and provide additional insights into your AdWords performance.
Naturally, all daily and weekly efforts roll up into monthly as well. The data and analysis collected over the course of every month culminate into a monthly report for the C-Suite (Executive Directors and CEO). A typical report, illustrated through both text and data visualizations, includes metrics like overall marketing revenue, web program performance, lead generation and lead quality, social media activity and engagement, ad spend, marketing-influenced sales bookings, and many more.
And hey, sometimes we write blog posts too.