Data is fast becoming the bedrock to many of the most eye catching and effective marketing campaigns we are seeing today. The Cannes Data Lions speak for themselves. But there remains a barrier of perceptions for people who like and are skilled in understanding data and mathematics.
These pre-conceptions of types of people and the types of career people go into, leaves many young professionals not understanding the vast opportunity afforded to them by strong data skills, nor do they understand that being conversant in data is now a prerequisite to becoming a leading marketer. Faced with this new landscape, just what skills do you need to come up with innovative and award-winning, multi-channel campaigns?
Marketing is getting intrinsically smarter in the way it uses data, but being a data junkie alone does not make a good marketer. Being able to associate data with an insight or solution is as key as being able to have the skills to analyse it in the first place. Whereas data and analysis has more traditionally been applied to business planning, increasingly the creative application of data is where marketing is at – using data to reach, engage and shape customers’ journeys across all types of channels and media.
It may sound blindingly obvious but there are very few individuals that are truly able to combine the two.
Of course, your career will come to no harm by having a strong grasp of data analytics, but it’s your creative side that will make you and your work stand-out from the crowd. Nowadays, the foundation of so many award-winning campaigns is a combination of both a brilliant idea and meaningful data.
The core root of both disciplines lies in the ability to use critical thinking and scientific reasoning across different sectors and in unique ways. These skills aren’t just consigned to science-based degrees – they can be transferred from any degree that requires you to form your own opinions and apply scientific reasoning. I studied media and marketing at university, which gave me the confidence in my own ability and the skills to communicate effectively with colleagues, alongside the core skills of critical thinking, marketing theory, consumer behaviour and market forces. They might be obvious ones but I’ve found these skills abundantly useful.
There are now schools out there that specialise in offering practical courses for young people looking to pave a career in the digital industry, helping to foster the next generation of leading talent. Manchester Creative Studio, where I am a governor, is one such school, and there will hopefully be more following their lead.
So if a career in marketing is what you are after, don’t see the word data and run a mile. It’s the direction this industry is travelling and without it you won’t go very far. Equally, data won’t get you very far if you can’t see its creative potential.
Data skills are also not a homogenous capability, with skills ranging from data mining, analysis, dash boarding to planning. This is an emerging industry, with new technologies and applications of data emerging all of the time. This industry has never been more dynamic and for those that can apply critical analysis, data analysis and creativity together, life in marketing is about to get even more exciting.
Natalie Gross, board director at Amaze One