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Marketing firms are in a difficult position. The amount of data generated from automated collection must be processed by highly skilled data analysts. Yet, there are few talented individuals capable of meeting these demands. As a result, marketing firms have turned to outsourced data analysts. Out-sourced data analysis has its own set of problems that range from conflicts of interest to lack of industry-specific knowledge.

If you are interested in taking advantage of the current lack of talent in the data science arena, then consider the following.

Become a Data Driven Strategist

As pointed out by Nicole Perrin, a marketing analyst with eMarketer, automated data collection does not produce immediate results. Data only makes a positive difference when it is used strategically. A data analyst is capable of making inferences and offering data-driven solutions. To really stand out as top talent, data analysts must think strategically. Employing a data strategy prior to analysis provides a high level of control and sets realistic expectations.

Break Down Complexity

Some of the factors that contribute to the need for data analysts also contribute to the reasons why data analysts are absent from marketing departments. A survey of marketing firms and departments found that organizations do not value data analysis. Forty-five percent of U.S.-based survey respondents found data science and analysis cost prohibitive.

Decision-makers are not able to interpret dashboards or gain insight from raw data. As a result, they have no data that supports the importance of data analysis and its return on investment.

Sounds like a conundrum. Fortunately, it is a conundrum with a relatively simple solution. Data analysts must become conversant in data models and not just with other data analysts. They must become capable of explaining data models in simple and applicable terms. Data analysts must understand business goals and offer relevant insights. Doing so will prove their value to an organization.

Prepare for the Next Few Years

Despite digital agency’s reservations regarding the costs of data analysis, marketing firms expect to hire individuals with technical skills in data science. Research shows the demand for these skills are high, with hiring expecting to increase over the next two years.

Marketers who are interested in increasing their relevance should consider learning data science skills now. Marketing firms must stay competitive. In a few short years decision-makers will recognize the cost benefits of in-house data science talent.