Sep 7, 2021

Marketing Analyst Career Guide

Looking to have a career as a marketing analyst? Here's everything you need to know.

Shanif Dhanani

If you find pleasure in analyzing data to solve marketing problems, the role of marketing analyst may be a great fit for you. 

Getting on track to pursue a marketing analyst role doesn’t have to be a major challenge. This guide will help you understand what a marketing analyst does, what helps a marketing analyst succeed and what steps to take to find a marketing analyst role.

What is a Marketing Analyst?

A marketing analyst, or market research analyst, applies marketing principles to the data collected by companies to help them make strategic decisions about their products, distribution and pricing.

What Does a Marketing Analyst Do?

A marketing analyst’s responsibilities will vary from day to day, but their overall role includes the following tasks:

  • Investigating industry trends by understanding customers, distributors, major data resources and competitors
  • Forecasting and measuring effectiveness of marketing campaigns
  • Reporting on volumes, feedback and competitive analysis on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, annually, for example)
  • Forecasting trends, sales and outlook for relevant industries
  • Identifying and monitoring markets and competitors
  • Segmenting audiences 
  • Making recommendations to marketing leaders based on the research and calculations performed above

Sometimes marketing analysts are niched down even further to a title like “SEO Marketing Analyst” if there are hyper-focus areas in the business. 

Similar Roles to Marketing Analyst

Marketing analysts possess similar skill sets and perform similar tasks to a handful of other roles in a given industry, but there are noted differences between each.

  • Business analysts or data analysts use similar tools as marketing analysts, but business analysts focus on broader strategies to help management make decisions about overall business processes. Marketing analysts, on the other hand, center their work around marketing strategies and reporting.
  • Marketing managers often have basic knowledge of marketing analytics but the marketing manager role requires a broad skill set that includes content management, paid advertising, and more. Marketing analysts will report their findings to marketing managers to assist in strategic decision making, and the marketing analyst role is a helpful step into becoming a marketing manager.
  • Marketing strategists share some responsibilities as marketing analysts, but strategists are purely future-focused, while analysts work to understand cause-and-effect relationships in the marketing process. In many cases, the work that a marketing analyst does is applied by marketing strategists, or some marketing analysts may also take on tasks performed by a strategist.

What’s the Difference Between a Marketing Analyst and a Data Scientist?

Another role that is frequently compared to marketing analyst is data scientist. Like the aforementioned roles, there is overlap in skills and tasks performed by each, but there are important differences that are worth noting if you are considering choosing either as a career goal.

As the name suggests, marketing analysts focus specifically on marketing research and processes in their work. Understanding marketing principles and consumer behavior is necessary for a marketing analyst. Data scientists work more broadly in their understanding of business processes.

The level of experience required in programming also differs between marketing analysts and data scientists. While marketing analysts should be proficient in relevant programming languages, data scientists require advanced quantitative analysis skills like statistics, machine learning, and advanced math skills.

The overall goals of data scientists and marketing analysts vary between the two roles. Data scientists take raw data, build and operationalize AI models, and help upper management visualize and understand that data, while marketing analysts prepare and use marketing data to answer questions. Marketing analysts work with specific project goals, while data scientists work with broad constraints and will formulate questions about the data as well as answers to those questions.

Marketing Analyst Skills

The marketing analyst role requires more technical skills than other roles in marketing because of the technology and analytical tools involved. To succeed as a marketing analyst, you will need the following technical skills:

  • Proficiency with statistical analysis software (SAS), like SPSS or Minitab
  • Understanding of SQL databases and queries
  • Tableau knowledge 
  • Microsoft office suite including advanced Excel skills
  • Ability to create, distribute and analyze surveys
  • Proficiency with web analytics and social media analytics platforms like Google analytics
  • Understanding of industry and consumer behavior
  • Understanding of market trends
  • Ability to examine, mine and visualize big data

More and more, there are no code analytics tools available out there that simplifies a marketing analyst’s job. Overall, a marketing analyst’s job is to figure out how marketing can create a better customer experience.

In addition to technical skills, here are some translatable soft skills that are also important in the marketing analyst role:

  • Critical thinking: As a marketing analyst, you will be tasked with understanding and presenting solutions to complex marketing problems.
  • Organization and time management: Keeping yourself organized as you juggle multiple projects is imperative. This applies especially to marketing analysts who work in an agency or other client-focused setting.
  • Attention to detail: Every piece of data counts. Neglecting to consider the details in your work as a marketing analyst could keep you from providing your manager or client important insight.
  • Communication skills: As a marketing analyst, you are often tasked with translating the technical into the practical. Knowing how to share your findings in a way your partners understand is key to your company’s bottom line.

Marketing Analyst Salary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for marketing analysts in 2019 was $63,790 per year with projected growth of 18% between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than average. The average base pay for a marketing analyst role, according to Glassdoor, is $54,155. 

Entry level marketing analysts can expect to earn less depending on market conditions. However, if you’re transitioning from another marketing role, your previous work experience should count towards your professional development and you should be paid above the base pay. 

Most marketing analyst jobs tend to be in big cities like San Francisco, New York, Austin, and Atlanta. 

How to Become a Marketing Analyst

Bachelor’s Degree

As with many technically-focused business roles, becoming a marketing analyst nearly always requires a bachelor’s degree. Early exposure to the mathematical side of the role is helpful, so a major in statistics, computer science or economics is preferable, but studying marketing and communications or business administration is helpful too.

While options are limited, there are a handful of schools like New York University that offer undergraduate programs or certificates in marketing analytics.

Master’s Degree and Certificates

If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in a different field or you want additional education to take your career to the next level, pursuing a master’s degree or graduate certificate can help you succeed as a marketing analyst.

Since the marketing analyst role is in growing demand, it is becoming an increasingly competitive field to break into. Making sure you have top-notch technical skills can help you become a desirable candidate for the role.

Pursuing a certificate in marketing analytics, data analysis or web analytics is a great option to sharpen your skills because the programs typically only take a few months and they are relatively inexpensive. Additionally, schools also tend to accept credits earned in certificate programs if you decide to pursue a master’s degree.

When it comes to master’s programs, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in marketing analytics or research is a great option to set you apart from other candidates for marketing analyst roles. Some schools also have advanced degrees specific to marketing analytics or marketing with concentrations in research and analytics. Be aware that these programs may require you to take the GRE or GMAT to apply.

Marketing Analyst Job Description

A marketing analyst applies marketing principles and interprets data collected by companies to help them make strategic marketing decisions about their products, distribution and pricing. The marketing analyst role typically requires a bachelor’s degree and a successful candidate will have intermediate programming experience, proficiency with data analysis and an understanding of marketing principles including consumer behavior.

5 Marketing Analyst Jobs to Consider

Marketing Associate Analyst at PepsiCo

PepsiCo is seeking a Marketing Associate Analyst to support data-driven marketing efforts to increase sales and brand equity specifically for PepsiCo’s non-carbonated brands. The best candidate will work with survey distribution and consumer engagement and will work closely with other teams like Budget Management and Asset Tracking.

Marketing Growth Analyst at Moo

Moo is a custom print and design firm that is seeking a Marketing Growth Analyst to work closely in their analytics team to evaluate marketing practices and find opportunities for business growth and optimization. This role focuses on pay-per-click advertising, marketing automation optimization and seeking new ways to apply data to enhance Moo’s marketing tactics.

Online Marketing Analyst at System1

System1 is a technology-focused marketing agency that is looking for an Online Marketing Analyst to take an analytical approach to digital marketing for their clients. The role focuses on data visualization and reporting analytical findings so that marketing managers can make the best strategic decisions.

Senior Analyst, Marketing Effectiveness at Sephora

Sephora is seeking an experienced analyst to provide actionable insights to improve the company’s marketing processes and overall performance. This role requires in-depth research capabilities and the utilization of complex data analysis to ensure that Sephora’s marketing efforts are geared to meet business goals.

Marketing Analyst, Destination Ontario

Destination Ontario, Ontario’s official tourism bureau, is hiring a Marketing Analyst to measure and report on the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, perform research on potential audiences and competitors, and help the organization’s marketing team implement effective strategies as they implement new campaigns and tactics.

Are You Ready to Become a Marketing Analyst?

If you enjoy combining the technical with the creative, being a marketing analyst might just be the career choice of your dreams. Now that you understand what it takes to be a marketing analyst, you can choose what steps you take next. 

About the author
Shanif Dhanani
Co-Founder and CEO, Apteo

Shanif Dhanani is the co-founder & CEO of Apteo. Prior to Apteo, Shanif was a data scientist and software engineer at Twitter, and prior to that he was the lead engineer and head of analytics at TapCommerce, a NYC-based ad tech startup acquired by Twitter. He has a passion for all things data and analytics, loves adventure traveling, and generally loves living in New York City.