Business vs Marketing Analyst – Roles, Skillsets & Career Paths
I was recently chatting with a young women who happens to be a senior at Chapman University in Southern California and is an aspiring analyst. She mentioned she had just been to New York for a school trip where she had learned a lot about financial analytics, and she asked me my thoughts on financial analytics vs web analytics. Were they two different things? Were the skills transferrable? What were the main differences?
After chatting with her about this for a good 15 minutes I thought it would useful write it all down in a blog post to share more broadly.
What are the main differences between a Business Analyst and a Marketing Analyst?
A business analyst is generally someone who sits in a business operations, finance, or marketing operations team. This person will usually be responsible for things such as:
- Partnering with finance to provide numbers for financial reporting
- Forecasting and trend prediction
- Integration of multiple data sources
- Building out data tables to link multiple data sources together
- Build dashboards and reporting on top of those tables for biz ops, marketing ops, and finance
A marketing analyst is generally someone who sits in a marketing or marketing operations team. This person will usually be responsible for things such as:
- Tracking the health and success of online campaigns using a web analytics tool
- Working closely with marketers to ensure marketing campaigns are properly tagged and tracked
- Working with product teams to ensure products go to market in a data driven manner
- Analytics implementation guidance for new websites or tools
- Building out dashboards and reports based on web analytics data
- Partnering with UX and usability to tie quantitative data to qualitative insights
- Visualizing data and storytelling
What are the main skill set differences between a Business Analyst and a Marketing Analyst?
A business analyst will generally have some or all of these skillsets/abilities:
- SQL, R, Excel, statistics
- Deep understanding of data formatting and data table structures
- Experience with tools such as Microstrategy, Business Objects, Tableau, or other dashboarding tools
- Ability to confidently communicate with finance, accounting, and operations team
A marketing analyst will generally have some or all of these skillets/abilities:
- Excel, statistics
- Experience with one or more digital analytics tools (Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Coremetrics, etc)
- Experience with data visualization tools (ex. Tableau)
- Ability to confidently communicate with marketing, sales, and developers/engineers
- For technical analytics: JS, HTML, & CSS. Deep understanding of analytics code implementation
Are the skills transferable?
Yes! But there is definitely a learning curve on each side.
Going from a marketing analyst to a business analyst will require a ramp up on data tables/structure, SQL (or similar type languages), a reliance on true, bottom line revenue numbers, and the people skills of working with finance and ops teams.
Going from a business analyst to a marketing analyst will require learning digital analytics tools, shifting mindset from bottom line numbers to top of funnel web/mobile data (which unlike a log file, only fires when the JS has rendered ;), shifting focus from marrying lots of data sets to trying to centralize data collection into a central web tool (or suite of web tools), and the people skills of working with marketing, sales, and dev/engineers.
Both types of analysts are great career paths. Choosing one now doesn’t mean you can’t switch later, and you’ll certainly gain valuable skills that will help you across fields with either route. Go with whatever seems most interesting to you now and you won’t go wrong!