Digital marketing skills and data analytics are increasingly important, and skills that were once seen as specializations are now a competitive edge in the hiring landscape. Marketers and data analysts looking to change careers or advance in their current career paths are wondering, “How does one keep pace with a rapidly changing industry? What are the best ways to develop skills and stand out as a candidate?”
Marketing and data analyst experts gathered at LinkedIn’s New York offices to answer these questions and more. Here are the three major takeaways that emerged from the panel discussion:
Master your technical skills
Data driven decision making is a core skill that marketers at all levels must master. However, the majority of practitioners are still dependent on data analysts with technical skills to write queries and surface critical insights. Josh Mortiz, an advisor to startups, notes that, “Whether you are going into the creative end of advertising or the analytical end, we are becoming consumers of data.” As a [marketer], “you need to analyze the data, figure out what it means and [decide] what you’re going to do with it.” According to Sergey Fogelson, Ph.D. and Vice President of Data Science and Modeling at Viacom, marketers should know how to write queries and analyze data firsthand. “If you can’t do some of the foundational technical work it’s going to be very hard for you to succeed,” he said. “Going forward, understanding how to work with a database is really important.” This knowledge equips marketers and data analysts with the ability to understand customer cohorts, product usage, campaign efficacy, and more.
For data analysts who already have these skills, gaining mastery gives you an advantage as you progress into senior leadership roles. The amount of data that exists within organizations only continues to grow and with it, the need for more complex analysis. Having both business acumen and technical knowledge is essential for anyone who wants to progress into a leadership role.
Become a good storyteller
While spreadsheets and data visualizations are powerful tools for marketers and data analysts on the job, quantitative insights are only valuable when they can be understood and translated into action. This is where storytelling comes into play.
“As people rise in their ranks in tech companies, almost all of them have some background in data,” according to Jessica Prue Rifkind, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Audible.
Being a good storyteller means being able to take the data you analyze and surface important insights to executive leadership or your fellow team members. “Thinking through the story of what the data is telling you and being able to communicate that in front of an executive audience is something that is very critical [along with] understanding the assumptions that go into the data that you’re presenting.”
As a hiring manager, Rifkind acknowledges that knowing the technology isn’t enough. “I need someone who is passionate about data who can tell a good story… Someone who can take it up a level and say ‘Ok, I’ve used Python, and this is what it’s telling me. Now, what am I going to do about this, and what’s the strategy that comes from that and how do I go take action?’”.
Storytelling and honing this skill set is what quickly starts to differentiate marketing and data analyst professionals as they progress in their career. It’s what can get you closer to becoming a director or executive and strengthen your voice at the leadership table.
Learn by doing
Learning by doing and finding opportunities to really hone your skills is what will give you an additional competitive advantage as a marketer. Yeshiva University Professor Jeffrey Katz, who is a data scientist and software engineer by trade, believes professionals should be in a position to show what they know. He said, “The people that are hiring for [digital marketing or data analyst] roles want to see what you can actually produce, and the best way to show that is to have done that.”
Rifkind adds that “Having a structured program helps you build that skill set and portfolio.” Students enrolled in the Katz School’s MS in Data Analytics and Visualization program or MS in Digital Marketing and Media program get the practical skills and portfolio that hiring managers like Rifkind look for. Students work with real data sets from established companies and have the opportunity to do hands-on work at companies designing data driven campaigns.
Gain skills and experience to get ahead
In an ever-evolving marketing and data analytics landscape, it’s essential for professionals to establish and cultivate their technical competency, master the skill of storytelling, and gain hands-on experience that is relevant to businesses across all industries.
Leaders of the Katz School’s MS in Data Visualization and Analytics Online and MS in Digital Marketing and Media Online programs understand that continuing to learn and perfect these skills is critical. Hiring managers are searching for skilled marketers and analysts who can sift through and interpret mass amounts of data in order to inform strategy, help guide important business decisions, and ultimately increase the bottom line.
Designed for highly motivated individuals interested in digital marketing and data analytics, both programs are offered completely online, so candidates don’t have to put life on hold. Learn from leading professionals at the Katz School and gain the skills needed to advance in a fulfilling and lucrative digital marketing or data analytics career.