Build Stronger Marketing Analytics With Cross-Training

April 11, 2018
Contributor: Chris Pemberton

Hire and develop analytics generalists with business acumen, technical chops and effective communication skills.

The excitement, hype and promise of data-driven marketing approaches mask a sobering reality: Too many marketing analytics teams don’t have the capabilities needed to perform at the level required to deliver sustainable business results.

Rebalance your marketing talent pool by adding more well-rounded, generalist marketing analytics skills.

“Analysts need business acumen, technical chops and effective communication skills to meet the needs and speed of modern marketing.”

“Analysts should be able to fulfill both the qualitative and quantitative requirements of their roles, connecting their insights to impact,” says Lizzy Foo Kune, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner for Marketers. She noted that analysts should be skilled not just at moving data around, but also at forming and testing hypotheses.

Embrace the “Fat-T” model

Few, if any, analytics specialists have the breadth of experience necessary for critical marketing tasks such as seeing the big, connected picture across multiple devices and touchpoints to best understand customers. Over the next decade, shallow skill sets must deepen and deep skill sets must broaden into new areas of expertise to become what is called the “Fat-T” marketer model.

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Cross-training is good training

Marketing analytics is fast becoming part of everyone’s job description, so all team members need to adopt the concept of cross-training. This training should occur outside of, and in addition to, areas where they have core, deep expertise. Traditionally, marketing analysts specialize in a variety of areas, such as customer experience, content management or social media. However, marketing analytics disciplines are converging. The analyst’s skill set must keep pace.

Focus on the “key three”

Analysts need business acumen, technical chops and effective communication skills to meet the needs and speed of modern marketing. They should have skill sets that encompass at least two of the three key categories:

  • Technical skills: Knowledge and experience with infrastructure and tools required for data collection, management and transformation
  • Business acumen: Understanding of the opportunities and risks for the business and the role that marketing plays in driving business outcomes
  • Analytical ability: Ability to articulate and solve problems or answer questions with data 

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