What It Means To Work As A Digital Marketing Analyst

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If you work in marketing, you may have heard the oft-repeated mantra that MarTech — the collection of new software tools with applications in marketing — is “the future”. Yet what does this mean in practice?

In this article, we would like to illustrate the above statement by means of one particular example — that of a professional with a specialism in Marketing Analytics, an emergent and increasingly relevant subfield of MarTech.

To make this even more concrete, let’s imagine a real-world scenario: a Marketing Analyst has just been hired by a start-up to help them get their business model off the ground. What can they do, that a traditional marketer could not?

The answer is — well, quite a lot, actually. But as we promised to be precise, we will narrow it down to three specific, sequential steps.

Remember that none of this is abstract talk, or reserved for a small minority of tech wizards. Skills like Marketing Analytics are out there, and it’s possible to learn them and transform your career in a surprisingly short span of time.

Step 1: Set Up A Tracking System For Online Traffic

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Marketing differs from advertising in that it involves, among other things, a much more intimate understanding of one’s customer base (i.e. one’s market). One thing that a Digital Marketer newly hired by a start-up should do, then, is to start tracking what users are doing on the web pages of their new employers.

A traditional marketer would rely on already established tools to do that. Digital Marketing Analysts can set up those tools themselves — but how?

Let’s explore this in practice.

The first thing a Marketing Analyst would do is to select a tech management system. We’ll imagine that they go with Google products — not because these are the only ones, but because they are mostly quite well-known, which will make this article easier to follow! This means our Analyst would first of all set up a company account on Google Tag Manager.

This will give them access to something called a Google Tag Manager snippet, which is code written in JavaScript that can be implemented on the website of the start-up. Note that the Analyst won’t necessarily know how to program in JavaScript, but they will know what JavaScript is and the rudiments of reading and working with it.

What does this JavaScript code do? In technical terms, it acts as a container for yet more code; in layman’s terms, it lets you integrate a whole host of other tools that you as a Marketing Analyst will also know how to use: Google Analytics, Google Ads, Consent Manager, specific tracking pixels such as LinkedIn’s. These enable detailed tracking of the traffic on your website (and in fact much, much more — but let us not digress).

Once the Tag Manager is set up and the appropriate tracking tools are implemented, the Digital Marketing Analyst can start gathering data. This leads to the logical next step, which is…

Step 2: Set Up AB Testing

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Now that you’re able to track traffic on your website, you notice something odd. It seems that even though you as a marketer have written excellent copy to promote your product, most visitors to your web page only read less than half of your product description, and then move on. Why could this be?

Investigating questions like these leads us to a world that every Marketing Analyst must know about — that of AB testing.

AB testing is the practise of creating two versions (A and B) of something that your users will see or interact with (like a web page or an ad), running both of them online, and then comparing their performances to select the one that does better. It is possible to test any number of variants at the same time, but typically analysts stick to just two, as that makes interpreting the subsequent comparison much easier.

The first part of setting up AB Testing doesn’t require any technical expertise, only intelligence and intuition: you have to come up with an assumption as to why your users aren’t reading your product description.

For example, you may assume that your web page being in dark mode makes the text harder to read. You can then test that assumption, by re-creating the same webpage in light mode and comparing its performance against that of its dark mode counterpart.

Adobe Stock / Imajinajib

Now the technical know-how of the marketing analyst comes into play. Not in designing the alternative version of your website (that will be up to your start-up’s designer and/or web developer), but in first choosing and then implementing the optimal tool for this AB test. You will want to ask yourself questions like whether a given tool is within the budget of your startup, whether it is simple to use, and whether the test you have in mind is a one-off or something you should repeat cyclically.

In the example above you have set up Google Tag Manager for tracking, which makes your life easier — Google Optimize runs with that Tag Manager, and lets you run experiments like AB Testing. This means implementation is fairly straightforward.

If you’re ok with using that tool, there will then be a bit of fine-tuning to do — choosing your parameters versus letting the Machine Learning algorithm do that for you, and deciding how long the test should run. In the end, finally, you can press the Go button!

And with the results of the test in hand, you may move on to the third step on this list, namely…

Step 3: Visualise and Take Action

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The final step in this article (which is by no means the final step in the work of Marketing Analysis!) requires you to know two tools in particular.

Firstly, the results of your test will come in the form of data, which can often be difficult to read (if not for yourself, for the colleagues you work with) — so you’ll need a tool that lets you display this data clearly and flexibly, in the form of graphs, tables, and anything else you like.

You may think we’ll recommend another Google tool since that’s what we’ve been using so far in our case study, but this time implementation is not so sensitive to which Tag Manager you are using. So you may freely choose to use, say, Tableau instead of Google’s Looker Studio.

Assuming that management are convinced by your reports, you would need the rest of the team to implement the desirable changes based on your test results. For this you may use the second tool that we’ll discuss as part of our Step 3, namely Jira.

Jira is a software management tool, and this time it’s not something you would be expected to set up for your team. A modern tech startup is likely to already have it, and make use of it for a whole bunch of other purposes.

But you do have to know how to use it. For the software team to know what to do based on your findings, you would have to write your feature request on Jira. The request is then seamlessly integrated into the agile methodology used by your startup and inserted in a global schedule according to its priority level.

This is an important thing to understand about marketers with a fluency in MarTech disciplines: they are not only marketers, and they are certainly not only tech peeps — instead, they are the ones who bridge the gap between these fields. And this, to go back to the incipit of our article, is what makes them the future of the industry.

Conclusion: Get A Head Start

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Often, when we discuss the onset of MarTech and its family of technologies, people in the industry respond with… apprehension, to put it mildly.

Don’t be one of those who reacts that way. This article should not be read as a list of things that you cannot do, but as a list of things that you can learn.

Best of all, it is something that you are in time to learn before everyone else in the industry catches up. The increasing preeminence of MarTech is not a warning sign that your knowledge and skills are becoming obsolete, but an incredible opportunity to get a head start.

Nobody in the world can predict the future of the marketing industry. But now you have the chance to create it. Don’t let that slip.

Your Next Step(s)

Looking for more information on how to take your career in Marketing to the next level? Check out these resources to open the doors of the tech world:

  1. Browse through our free articles to learn more about careers in tech.
  2. Get your questions answered in our FREE live online Marketing Analytics Q&A event with industry specialists.
  3. Apply to our next Marketing Analytics bootcamp and discuss your career change and most suitable funding options in a personal 1 on 1 call.

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