Note: The Data Analytics am focusing here is fully on marketing focused thing. (like web, app user behaviour, etc)
There used to be and still there is different role for data analyst and digital marketing in companies. Big companies wanted to separate it out, small companies may not be able to afford to. Also as a person when you are starting up your career, you need to have a mix of this both things to have a holistic things of everything you do. For example, when you are running a facebook ad campaign or email marketing, you need to know how to use the analytics in any tools like google analytics. So to understand how this user are behaving when they reach their website. When you study academically(mostly in colleges) on marketing or analytics, they try to go in deeper of any of these things without a cross functional studies which gives some context.
Similarly when you are an analyst analysing the behaviour of the users, you need to understand what are all the activities or strategies marketers are using in their marketing, otherwise you both will be speaking different languages. You will be giving wrong insights of your analysis where the marketing team had different intentions.
Imagine if you could understand what he is speaking and he could understand what you are speaking, you could do great stuff together. That’s the power of T-Skill which gives context to everything and allow holistic perspectives. So when you are starting a career, I would recommend not to be specific about things, keep you mind to open and get exposure to things. I have got this recommendation while am starting my career and many get this as well “Start a pet project”. Act like you own a business and get exposure/learning on different things. You will understand it easily. When you start a pet project, and start learning how to market this pet project and analyse, you will learn more easily than just reading something for a very long time.
In a nutshell, digital marketing and data analytics are going to balance out your skills in the long term. This is what it’s needed in the coming industry. If you start as an analyst, you may learn digital marketing along the way and vice versa. That gives you the context. If you want or prefer, you could get specialized in any of this and form your T skills.
“Companies are expecting you need to be a data driven digital marketer, not just marketers. They want you to find signals, fine tune things, change route when needed.”
In practical example: (do not worry about technical words here, you will understand slowly)
- If you are a marketing automation specialist, you need to know how to use the analytics present inside the tool
- If you are a website conversion optimisation specialist, you need to know many tools analytics in different lifecycle of a user (email, web behaviour, after purchase behaviour, etc)
- If you are a performance marketer, you need to understand the metrics and analytics inside tools like Google Ads, Facebook ads, Ad networks, programmatic tools, etc
- If you are UI/UX specialist, you need to know the analytics which provide heat map, scroll, clicks, and a lot of other actions based analytics
I hope I provided enough context of digital marketing, analytics and where they fit in. Before 6 Years ago, I read this article from Avinash Kaushik which helped me to differentiate digital marketing and analytics. How you can evolve in both of this. Things have changed in recent years but still valuable guide.