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April 24, 2021

Data Analysts and Self-Starts Rank More Likely to Get Hired in the Marketing Field?

Rachel Nielson

So you want to get hired in the marketing field. Maybe you’ve just graduated with a degree in marketing or a related field. Maybe you’ve been marketing your own brand or company and are now looking for more. Maybe you’ve done a little bit of advertising work here and there and would like to pursue it further. Regardless of degrees, experience, or lack thereof, there are a few things you should know in order to get hired.

In 2020 Rand Fishkin, an expert in the marketing field and leader in search engine optimization and connecting with the marketing community, presented data taken from survey results from over 700 marketing professionals. His questions centered on how these individuals got started in the field and what aspects of the field they considered to be most essential.

The results to some (including myself) are surprising.

Number skills are essential to get hired in the marketing field

Two of the most prominent data sets recorded the perceived most important and essential marketing skills and tactics. Fishkin reported that 55.7% of the surveyed individuals said that “Data measurement and analysis” was the most essential skill for an aspiring marketer to have. 

The next data said gave similar results: on a 1-4 scale of important marketing tactics, “Analytics & Reporting” received the highest score, a 3.6. Perhaps surprisingly, social media advertising came in a full 20% behind, with an almost average score of 2.8. 

Those who are unfamiliar with the marketing field might find these results to be unexpected. From a consumer’s point of view, things like social media marketing or even print and television ads might seem like the primary tools of marketing agents. That’s what we see, that’s where we gain information about brands and products people are trying to promote.

So why would the majority of these 700+ professionals agree that data analysis and reporting are the most important skills to have and tactics to use? 

Data analysis is key to marketing

Let’s switch perspectives: we’re no longer on the consumer side, we’re on a marketing team. We’ve created a product, and we’re ready to begin the process of promoting it. How do we gauge its success? How will we know whom to target, and where, and how? Some of these questions have already been answered before the creation of the product began, but who answered them? The people looking at the data. 

In order to be successful at marketing, and ultimately get hired, you must be able to collect, organize, analyze, and understand data. Without first knowing the answers to the questions in the last paragraph, social media content creation is useless. Any form of paid advertisement will be futile until you know your target audience, and knowing that comes from the research and analysis part of the marketing team.

In short? Numbers are important! As much as some of us who are creative, energetic and artistic individuals might think we’re not math people, if we want to get hired in the marketing field we might want to give numbers a second chance!

You don't need a college degree to get hired in marketing

Another set of data from Fishkin’s report yielded unexpected results: the question “How did you first get started in the marketing field?”

get hired in the marketing field getting started infographic
A college degree is not needed to get hired in the marketing field. (Data credit: Porter Metrics)

The options included various training or certification, having a college degree, and being self-taught (with no formal education or even employer training). 

A total of 29% responded with some kind of training or certification (not at a university). More surprising than that, a mere 25% of these individuals reported that they began with a college degree in marketing. 

So what’s left? Those who were entirely self-taught, with no formal training. This group of individuals made up a full 40% of those surveyed. You don't need a college degree or training to be hired in marketing!

Want to start your career in marketing? You can.

The conclusion? No college degree, no problem. If you’re the type to start your own thing and gain valuable experience instead of going through college, you’ll be in good company with almost half of the top marketing professionals out there. But if you have training or a degree, great! There's a place for everyone!

For the rest of the data sets (which are a perfect example of the most valuable skill in the marketing field) and some cool charts, check out Rand Fishkin’s article on SparkToro.com

The results, while surprising, give us a couple of valuable insights to get hired in the marketing field. First, there’s a lot that goes into it, and a lot of skills needed! If you want the best chances, look into data analysis, but a number of other skills are valuable as well. There’s a place for everyone! 

Second, there’s no wrong way to do it! Well, okay, perhaps there is. But there are certainly more right ways to do it than one. College degrees are valuable, receiving training and certificates will get you hired, and even if you have no formal learning you can succeed! So get out there--the marketing field is waiting for you.

To begin your job search, check these job listings. Find your place in the marketing field! We'd love to have you on our team.

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