Three Paths to a Great Career in Digital Analytics

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Stéphane Hamel

Last updated December 6, 2016


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empowered digital marketing

First, there’s Business

Any marketing goal should start with a business objective in mind. How are your marketing activities going to contribute to “the greater goals” of increased revenue, lowering costs, and growing customers and stakeholders’ satisfaction? How will you leverage your innovative and creative ideas, and which technologies will lead to the best outcomes?

Contributing to greater goals

For some people, a sound marketing strategy is like a battle plan – well thought out tactics to conquer new territories using the right weapons in an arsenal of technologies. Of course, there are always unforeseen challenges and the battlefield is ever changing.

The ultimate goal of analytics is to inform decisions. There’s no better ways to understand your audience, their motivations and how those are aligned with your business strategy and goals than through the power of analytics. There is little value in doing analytics if it isn't to bring actionable insights - otherwise it should be called "reporting". Your brilliant vision of marketing needs to be communicated as requirements and constraints stated as clearly defined objectives.

Today’s marketers and managers leverage digital analytics in many aspects of their decision and management processes. In a perfectly mature organization, requirements and objectives would come directly from the business stakeholders. The reality is, most often, you need an analyst to "translate" and bridge the gap between business considerations and something those who will actually make it possible and execute on your tactics can work with. Profiles fitting this dimension? Marketing people, of course, but also business analysts and managers in general.

Enablers make it real

We include under “enabling capabilities” anyone who can bring your dream to life. In order to unroll your master plan, you need smart people who understand the capabilities and the constraints of the digital technology landscape, the various channels and mediums, how data is collected and interoperate with the back office and such things as information architecture and page naming taxonomies will impact SEO and data collection. You need people skilled at properly instrumenting the website and mobile apps for whichever tools you are using and how the data is stored and can be leveraged. This is where data scientists excel at turning raw data into sophisticated models… and a ton of other things!

As you can imagine, this in itself is a critical aspect and can quickly become very complex. Ultimately, the goal is to provide the means, the tools and the data to the 3rd aspect of the model. Who fits this profile? Web developers, technical digital analysts (aka “taggers”), business intelligence and data scientists, and of course, IT people.

Analysts craft data into insight

People with an investigative mind, problem-solving approach and abilities to synthesize complex information to their most effective communicational forms are essential. This is where statistics get involved, where the analytical mindset is put to work in order to identify patterns, trends, and understand correlations.

The outcome is clear and simple: provide actionable insight and recommendations back to the Business. Typical profiles include statisticians, business analysts, and marketers - especially those with a marketing analytics background.

Prioritizing your career and take control

As you have guessed by now - and if you do an honest introspection - you probably have what we could call a “major” in one aspect, a “minor” in another, and an area that just doesn’t fit the bill for you. That’s why digitally mature organizations rely on a mixed set of skilled people who, as a group, can tackle all angles. Throughout the years I have encountered people who graduated in all kinds of disciplines – from English literature to psychology, art, music, even one who studied mycology and others in what seems totally unrelated fields – and occasionally a few people who actually graduated in marketing, stats, computer science and such. The point is simple: very few people were destined to do what they do today. In this ever growing and evolving field, there’s room for anyone who is interested and excited about understand business context, leveraging data and creativity to solve and improve businesses.

Smart organizations recognize the importance of a wide array of expertise, be it business acumen, marketing prowess, statistics mastery, development wizardry – they recognize climbing the digital marketing and analytics maturity ladder can only be achieved through teamwork and equally important expertise.

Find what drives you in the morning, what gets you excited, and seek ways to uniquely combine business, enabling technologies, and analysis abilities to craft your own unique job; become a leader.

About the Author

Stéphane Hamel is a seasoned independent consultant, distinguished thought leader in the field of digital analytics and Faculty Chair, Digital Analytics for Simplilearn. Recognized as a Google Product Strategy Expert (2016) and considered one the Most Influential Industry Contributor by the Digital Analytics Association (2012), he has made significant contributions to the industry, including creating the Digital Analytics Maturity Model, authoring the Radical Analytics Manifesto and the Web Analytics Solution Profiler (WASP) quality assurance tool, as well as other tools and concepts throughout the years.


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