Upgrading Your Data Skills: The Relationship Between Data Analytics and Digital Marketing

By BrainStation January 4, 2017

As we’ve written about, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every single day. We’re being inundated by data, in other words, which is making data science one of the fastest growing, most in-demand fields. In fact, the number of available data jobs in the US is expected to increase by 364,000 to 2.7 million in the next two years.

This increase isn’t just related to the abundance of data now available; it’s also because companies have understood just how valuable data analysis can be. According to researchers from MIT, “companies in the top third of their industry in the use of data-driven decision making were, on average, 5 percent more productive and 6 percent more profitable than their competitors.”

But how does analytics help marketers in their day-to-day duties? Let’s take a closer look at the specifics of the two roles, and examine how they can combine to help a brand’s bottom line.

What is Data Analytics?

The pros who work in data analytics dig through mountains of information to help make sense of it and create actionable insights for companies.

A Data Scientist’s specific tasks can vary depending on the industry they’re in, and the company they work for. Generally speaking, though, he or she can expect some or all of the following daily tasks and responsibilities:

  • Researching to identify opportunities for growth and efficiency improvements
  • Defining, extracting, and cleaning relevant data sets
  • Creating algorithms to implement automation tools
  • Analyzing data to identity patterns and trends.
  • Creating visualizations or dashboards for other members of the organization
  • Presenting findings to colleagues

Generally, these tasks can be broken into four fundamental components:

  • Understanding data
  • Analyzing data
  • Building and managing databases
  • Communicating data

Data Analysts sift through large amounts of data, collect it, and assemble key sets based around the goals or desired metrics for an organization. Analysts will often transform those key data sets into dashboards for different departments in the organization, which can then be used to inform activities and decision-making.

An example includes tracking conversions for content marketing efforts. With this data, a digital marketer can follow a customer from a blog post or other landing page all the way through signing up for your service or product. This helps the marketer understand what’s working with the content, why it’s working, and figure out how to replicate that success.

What is Digital Marketing?

On its most fundamental level, digital marketing is the act of promoting of a brand or product  via digital media. They build, launch, manage, and track campaigns promoting brand initiatives on these digital mediums. An example might include a digital marketer setting up an email marketing campaign to send out to inactive users of an app to engage them with the brand.

Digital marketers must wear many hats, and must master many skills and tools to keep up with the proliferation of these digital channels. Some of the tools and skills they need to absorb include:

  • Social media marketing: Creating organic and paid posts to promote your product and/or brand on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others.
  • Inbound marketing: Drawing customers to your brand’s site with thought leadership pieces and content that delights prospective customers.
  • Email marketing: Sending updates, information, and nurturing past, present, and potential customers through campaigns sent directly to their email inboxes.
  • Public relations: Digital marketers also often have to help out with getting coverage from online publications (think blogs, online magazines and newspapers, podcasts, etc.) in an effort to help raise brand awareness.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) ads: Getting more potential customer eyeballs on your brand or website by paying a publisher or platform a fee for every time someone clicks on your ad.

While these are just a few of the digital channels you may need to juggle on a regular basis, this isn’t an all-inclusive list. Being adaptable is one of the most important skills a digital marketer must possess, as new digital channels emerge on a regular basis and must be considered for inclusion in your brand’s overall marketing strategy.

Data Analytics and Digital Marketing: Bringing it All Together

While the two roles might seem divergent, the skill-sets can work as complements to truly help a brand’s bottom line. Data is revolutionizing marketing and sales, and a data analyst who has an understanding of marketing can bring it all together.

Take the content marketing example mentioned above. A digital marketer can draw on the insights from customer data to understand what types of content will resonate most at different points in the customer buying journey and more easily guide them down the marketing funnel. And if customers have pain points when using a company’s product or service, then data can provide some context so that marketers can address that friction with the appropriate content or campaigns.

According to a recent report from Forbes, Big Data is also being used to optimize other marketing processes, including:

  • Greater customer responsiveness. According to one Forrester study, business-to-consumer businesses are already using data to improve communications with customers. Almost half (44%) use big data and analytics to bolster responsiveness, and another 36% use data mining to glean customer insights to plan more relationship-driven strategies.
  • Reducing customer churn and boosting lifetime value. A recent study by DataMeer found that marketing departments already use data to acquire more customers and keep them longer to decrease churn. This thereby increases revenue per customer and helps improve existing products.
  • Building more successful relationships. The same Forrester research shows that companies are using data to go deeper than looking at basic marketing campaign analytics — they’re using analytics to create a strong foundation for a better relationship. Data is helping marketers increase the likelihood that customers will be more loyal and will keep coming back for more.

The same principles apply in reverse. Data analysts with some knowledge of digital marketing techniques better understand what data is needed to inform campaign strategies and marketing initiatives. They can offer suggestions to marketers on tracking, analytics, and how to map the customer journey in a way that offers them the deepest insights possible.

Either way, more informed marketers and analysts can work together to create a more cohesive, cross-departmental strategy to grow their sales, signups, or organization overall.

How to Get Started in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics Today

Prepare for a career as a digital marketer in just 10 weeks with BrainStation’s part-time Digital Marketing course. Keep your 9-to-5 gig while you absorb all the latest tips and tricks over 30 hours of classroom learning. Classes cover topics like how to run digital campaigns, tracking analytics, social media marketing, email marketing, and brand building for your own brand or for a technology company.

And those with a specific interest in data can take the part-time, 10-week Data Analytics course that helps students upgrade their digital skills. Learn the fundamentals of data,  data visualization, database queries, SQL, database design, and much more.

BrainStation also offers evening and weekend workshops for students to get an introduction to specific skills like search engine optimization, social media marketing, and many others in a short period of time.

Considering a new career? Submit your application today.