Data analytics: the sought-after skill in marketing 


By Jessica Houston, School of Marketing Ambassador

Data analytics: the sought-after skill in marketing 


Data analytics has been a hot topic for businesses over the last ten years. Still, it isn’t until recently that brands have felt the squeeze of not having the right people and talent in place to capitalise on their data sources most effectively. This is particularly prevalent in marketing - marketers can use big data to predict consumer behaviour and understand marketing performance and ROI, helping businesses to make the right decisions at the right time to maximise the value of their efforts. This is why data analytics is a sought-after skill in today’s industry, and brands compete for the best individuals to join their teams. 


Data and analytics careers in marketing - the facts 


Traditionally marketing has been viewed as a more creative discipline; however, being analytical has fast become a top skill for all marketers today and has even evolved into its specialist area. Marketing Week’s 2022 Career and Salary Survey revealed that the demand for data talent exposed skills gap many businesses are looking to fill. A third (33.4%) of the 4463 respondents reported that data and analytics is the leading talent issue in their business. 


Demand for data specialists is at an all-time high, providing ample opportunities for individuals in marketing to move into these sought-after roles. The data showed that brands are twice as likely to bring in external talent to bolster their workforce (40.1%) than to train existing staff (21.3%). I think this is because businesses are looking for individuals with the necessary skills to fill the gap quickly where training can take some time. 


Ultimately I think businesses need to look at both options of recruiting - yes, bring in external talent if immediate needs require specialist skills. Still, it also makes sense to train existing staff to not only retain individuals and provide them with training for the future but also to ensure that the business isn’t reliant on one or two individuals who could leave later down the line.


The benefits of data and analytics in marketing 


Let’s face it - marketers can’t do their jobs today without data. Data forms the foundation of any strategy and assists the planning process through execution and measurement. Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed. So, let’s look at some of the ways data and analytics supports the process: 


  • Data is used to gather customer insights and research - the most crucial step of any strategy 

  • It is used to make critical decisions around audience targeting and acquisition 

  • Data supports digital marketing decisions 

  • It is fundamental to understand what is and isn’t working throughout and following a campaign (which is essential to making improvements) 

  • More and more, we are seeing data used to make personalisation decisions

  • Big data is growing and being used to make predictions and more accurately serve customers what they want when they want it. 


Ultimately, data leads to better insights, targeting and performance, which positively impacts the revenue. 


How to develop your data and analytics skills 


Reading this, you may be thinking, how do I develop my data analytics skills or even my teams? How do we create space for learning and development? There are many different routes to building skills in this area, including formal training and boot camps to get you up to  speed. 


At the School of Marketing, we’ve prioritised data as a critical skill of the future. So say hello, to our new Data Analyst Level 4 Apprenticeship Programme.