What Is a Marketing Analyst? And How to Become One

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Marketing analysts break down data to help guide a company's marketing decisions.

[featured image] Marketing manager gives a presentation to her business team on her findings

A marketing analyst is a professional that analyzes data to support a company’s marketing efforts. The marketing analyst might use the insights they find to help a company make better business decisions—like increasing revenue or optimizing marketing campaigns.

What does a marketing analyst do?

A marketing analyst works with data to unearth new marketing insights for a company. But what does this actually mean?

Analyze marketing data

A large part of being a marketing analyst includes cleaning, sorting, and interpreting data. More specifically this can mean:

  • Gathering, cleaning, and sorting data through methods like surveys or website analysis 

  • Reviewing marketing campaign results (like revenue increase, reach, or engagement) to improve campaigns

  • Using tools to understand current customers and find new ones

  • Researching competitors

Make recommendations

By synthesizing findings, marketing analysts can recommend how a business should proceed with its marketing efforts. This can entail putting together reports, presentations, and other materials.

Marketing analyst vs. other roles

Marketing analysts have much in common with other types of analysts—namely, they all deal with analyzing and understanding data. Here’s a look at what other similar roles do:

  • Market research analyst: Though sometimes used interchangeably with marketing analyst, many companies consider market research analyst a distinct role. Market research analysts have a more narrow focus than marketing analysts, concentrating specifically (and perhaps unsurprisingly) on market research. This might mean understanding trends in specific markets, or predicting prices, wages, and other economic indicators. Market research analysts can support marketing teams, product teams, and other business-oriented teams.

  • Data analyst: Data analysts have a broader focus than marketing analysts, and can work in many fields outside of marketing. They might work in finance, manufacturing, science, government, and many other fields. The exact content of what they analyze will depend on the field and position. Because data analysts are less specialized than marketing analysts, data analyst positions often require less experience.

  • Business analyst: Business analysts use data to evaluate an organization’s business and IT processes. They can make recommendations to reduce inefficiencies and costs, and identify ways to improve the business structure. They generally don’t work exclusively with marketing data, as marketing analysts may do.

Learn more about different types of careers in marketing and marketing analytics from Anke Audenaert, a marketing professional at Meta.

Learn more about the types of roles you will see marketing analysts take on.

How to become a marketing analyst

1. Develop the skills you need

Here are the three main categories of skills you’ll need to have to become a marketing analyst.

Data analysis: Data analysis likely means using SQL—a common programming language used to communicate with database systems. You might also be asked to learn languages like Python or R. Make sure to know the basics of cleaning, sorting, and visualizing data as well.

Marketing: Marketing is a broad subject that can include pricing strategy, social media management, sales analysis, and economic analysis. Knowing your way around marketing strategies will be beneficial.

Project management: Marketing analysts can be tasked with leading complex efforts to work with data, sometimes across different teams. You won’t need to know the ins and outs of project management, but some experience with starting and leading projects can be helpful.

2. Gain related experience

You can gain experience in a variety of different ways.

  • Find an entry-level position. Many marketing analyst positions request that you have several years of experience. Though you won’t always have to meet these “requirements” exactly to get an interview, working in a related position can certainly help. Try looking for entry-level data analysis or marketing positions that will help you learn more of the skills you need to become a marketing analyst. Titles might include data analyst, marketing associate, sales associate, or social media associate.

  • Incorporate the skills you need in your current position. There’s a chance you can fold in opportunities to learn new skills—and gain experience—in the job you’re currently in. Whether you’re working in retail or at a tech company, look for opportunities to use data or learn about marketing. If it makes sense to do so, you can inform your manager that you’re interested in learning new skills to see if they can connect you to relevant tasks.

  • Take coursework or earn a professional certificate. Completing coursework or professional certificates in skills you might need can show employers that you know how to do certain aspects of the job. Try to take courses that will give you the opportunity to complete hands-on projects, so you have something to point to in your resume or interview.

Need a place to start? Here are some projects you can complete in two hours or less:

3. Get your degree

Many marketing analyst positions ask that you have at least a bachelor’s degree, and may prefer candidates with master’s degrees. Though some companies are willing to waive degree requirements if you have enough relevant experience, a degree can boost your competitiveness in the job market. Plus, getting a degree can give you the chance to learn data analysis and other important skills for the job. Consider the following fields for a degree:

  • Mathematics

  • Data analytics

  • Marketing

  • Computer science

  • Psychology

  • Business 

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Getting started in marketing analysis

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