Building Your Marketing Measurement Dream Team

. September 5, 2018

Using data to drive marketing strategy and connect with consumers is a top CMO priority. But it’s not an easy rodeo. Even though companies aren’t suffering from a lack of data, they are often missing the talent required to lasso it.

Just 1.9% of marketing leaders say their companies have the right people in place to leverage marketing analytics, according a recent CMO Survey.

This is troublesome – and not only because more than half of CMOs say they can’t make a direct connection between marketing activities and company performance. A sophisticated measurement and analytics program can add considerable horsepower to your marketing, from delivering better customer experiences to creating a competitive advantage.

But if the team doesn’t have the skills or the time to harness insights to drive strategy and decision making, it won’t be able to deliver on marketing priorities. More importantly, the company runs the risk of falling behind more astute and agile competitors.

Why Talent Must Align With Strategy

One problem is that there’s sometimes misalignment between what the CMO wants to accomplish and the ability of analytics team members to meet that vision. There are several potential reasons for such a disconnect.

One is that companies fail to hire the right talent because they have a hard time determining the right combination of technical skills and data expertise they need.

Another is that they hire talented analytics professionals, only to underutilize them. Many data scientists with advanced skills find they spend more time wrangling data than analyzing for insights.

To fix the problem, CMOs may have to reimagine the structure of their marketing analytics team. A crucial first step is to define your marketing goals and strategy and build a framework that supports it.

For example, in reorganizing its global marketing team, SAS defined a “go-to-market” framework and aligned it with corporate initiatives. This changed the way the company viewed team roles. Rather than expect marketers to be experts in everything, marketing executives at SAS recognized they needed a mix of “go-to-market leaders” and specialists. The leaders act like orchestra conductors. They coordinate activities, maintain a big picture view of the organization and connect the dots.

The Ideal Marketing Analytics Team

Every organization is unique, so the exact composition, size, scope and responsibilities of the marketing measurement team will vary. SAS, for its part, has defined four job categories to drive analytical marketing in its organization. They include digital marketer, content marketer, customer experience expert and marketing scientist. The latter includes two types of roles: data visualization analyst and segment analyst.

To perform to the highest standards, though, every marketing measurement team should look to fill the following positions with the best talent they can find.

ROLE: Director of Data Science and Analytics

Strategic, curious and creative, this role is responsible for leading the team, and as such, must be capable of pulling together disparate threads and asking the questions that can lead to unique insights. In addition to tracking the team’s performance, they use their communications skills to ensure the analysts are delivering timely, accurate insights that decision makers need, when they need them.

Their key responsibilities include:

  • Driving strategic business decisions
  • Setting KPIs, and
  • Acting as liaison with the C-suite and department leaders across the business.

Thus, it’s crucial for them to be capable of working with a wide range of personalities and functions. This is a role that touches every aspect of the business, from operations and warehousing to marketing and sales.

In hiring, look for candidates with a background in data science, an analytics mindset and who are entrepreneurial in nature. As technology changes quickly, they also must be willing to stay hands on. Otherwise, there’s a risk they won’t keep up with new developments, which would inhibit their ability to drive results.

This role is particularly important to startup and growth-stage companies that need to build both a measurement infrastructure and a data pipeline. In hiring someone with both a data science and a technical background, hybrid talent is an economical choice.

In fact, people hired for this role often have experience running their own company. Since they already know how to build organizations from scratch, they’re more likely to be successful in getting analytics platforms up and running.

ROLE: Data Translator or Story-Teller

With a deep knowledge of the business, data translators collaborate with segment leaders and product experts. Their domain expertise enables them to translate data into the language of these decision makers, using their storytelling and data visualization skills.

Depending upon the organization, the data translator may be known as the business intelligence specialist or the analytics strategy manager. No matter what the title, key responsibilities include acting as the liaison to other departments and building reports and dashboards based on decision maker requirements.

Although detailed technical skills aren’t usually required for this role, recruiters are seeing a higher demand for candidates who also have the ability to manipulate data. That’s because data translators may sometimes need to pull data themselves to meet quick turnaround times.

Translators, then, should have expertise in programming and statistical software such as SQL, SAS, R or Python. It’s also helpful if they have an agency background. The experience of working with multiple clients and executives at once is invaluable because candidates learn how to pivot quickly and produce quality work at the same time.

ROLE: Data Scientist

Most marketing measurement teams will benefit from hiring a mix of data scientists. Senior members of the team with advanced skills will focus on analysis and communicating insights, while junior members will spend more time on cleaning data.

Marketing data scientist is an emerging title for this role, which is responsible for developing predictive models, gathering marketing and competitor intelligence, and measuring campaign effectiveness, including customer growth, churn and retention.

When hiring for senior positions, look for candidates with strong technical backgrounds and experience developing data models. Their experience will include roles as a junior analyst, in which they gathered data and created reports.

New graduates are great for entry-level positions in digital marketing and web analytics. They’ll build skills and expertise in a range of data types, including online and offline, TV, radio, social media and web traffic. They’ll also spend a lot of time in search marketing, which helps them understand consumer patterns and behaviors. As they gain experience and get additional education – for example, a certification in programming and analytics – they’ll move into roles of increasing responsibility for developing models.

ROLE: Market Researcher

Market research data is valuable to the analytics team because it adds an important perspective: why customers act as they do. By tapping into this source of knowledge, analytics teams are likely to identify valuable new opportunities, says Bill Franks, Chief Analytics Officer for the International Institute of Analytics.

Though they focus on different things, the marketing research and marketing analytics functions go hand in hand. The market researcher will look at macro developments such as economic and industry trends, as well as what the organization’s competitors are doing.

They’ll develop and analyze the results of social media monitoring and brand equity studies. The core responsibility of this role is to dive deep into consumer insights and help the company’s executives and marketing teams understand consumer behavior.

Smaller companies and startups typically don’t have a need to fill this position at the outset. But it’s a common role within large organizations.

Look to hire candidates who have spent time at agencies, where they are able to gain a broad view of many different markets. Once onboard in large companies, they work as an internal consultant and act as a liaison across the organization’s multiple brands.

ROLE: Systems Integrator

As marketing teams become more dependent on data and marketing technology, they will benefit from having a full-time systems integrator who can ensure smooth implementation and higher data quality. Also called a data engineer, this is a crucial – and hard to fill – position that is responsible for bringing in new technology tools and ensuring they are implemented properly.

Successful candidates will have both a technical background and data science experience. Since they are expected to work very closely with DevOps and software developers, they must be able to speak the language of both.

Keep in mind, though, that there is growing demand for candidates with this kind of hybrid background. And they are such a rare find that recruiters label them unicorns.

These five core roles form the backbone of your team, and they’ll ensure you’re taking advantage of every data-driven opportunity. With vision and talent now aligned, you can increase the impact of marketing – and prove it too.

Diane S. Thieke is a freelance writer covering the intersection of marketing, data and technology. She previously led marketing and public relations teams at Dow Jones, where she was responsible for promoting the company’s business information, media analytics, and sales and marketing products.

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Category: Articles, Basics, CMO Briefings, People, Strategy

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