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June 6, 2013

3 Things You Need in a Marketing Scientist

By Heather Clancy

The fast-evolving field of customer intelligence demands new analytical skills, something that isn’t necessarily the first priority for traditional marketing departments.

Not surprisingly, finding strong team members who can act as a translator – helping convert the “geek-speak” of many customer analytics or business analytics solutions into actionable marketing strategies – is becoming a more urgent priority for many social-savvy companies.

What should you look for in an effective marketing scientist?

A new report from Forrester (“Customer Intelligence Needs a New Breed of Marketing Scientist“) suggests that these individuals must blend functional skills in statistical analysis and business intelligence with deep knowledge of line-of-business concerns.

Here are three things that they must do really well:

Act as an interpreter for both the marketing types and the technical types. You can think of these people as akin to United Nations interpreters. They need to concentrate on two-way translation to gather relevant business requirements from stakeholders, and then help everyone prioritize accordingly. “The analytics journey starts with problem definition and ends with results delivery to the relevant audience,” writes Forrester in its report. “Mature [customer intelligence] firms take it farther and use analytics to identify new business opportunities.”

Elevate the role of customer intelligence (CI). Although it probably seems logical to anyone reading this particular post, there are still organizations for which CI isn’t necessarily a big priority. The new marketing scientist needs to be someone who can be seen as a positive, effective advocate. (Hence the importance of the aforementioned translator role.)

Put things into context. Used in the right context, analytics findings or statistics can create new business opportunities. But it’s also really easy to misuse them, especially when there’s an ulterior agenda internally.

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