Data 'geeks' are marketing's new darlings

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Data 'geeks' are marketing's new darlings

[Blog post] Demand for analysts pushes wages upwards.

Does anyone as old as I am remember what ADMA used to stand for? It was a four letter acronym that stood for the Australian direct marketing association, a branding the organisation is endeavouring to repaint.

When ADMA was established in 1966, direct mail was (believe it or not) at the top of the hype curve but at the lower end of the adoption scale. It was the next ‘big thing’!

Fast forward to 2014 and ADMA now stands for the association for data-driven marketing and advertising. To prove that the rebranding has substance, the organisation has announced a partnership to help marketing peeps cosy up to data analysts.

At this year's ADMA forum the organisation announced an alliance with IAPA, a relationship that serves as a bellweather for the demand for data, business and forensic analysts.

IAPA is the professional organisation for the analytics industry in Australia which incorporates business analytics and data mining and seeks to support and promote analytics professionals in Australia.

“We were privileged enough to be approached with overtures of partnerships by two organisations during the past year,” Doug Campbell, chair of IAPA told iTnews, “we saw that ADMA could provide back office support, an affinity with technology and expertise.”

IAPA membership is 3500 strong across 500 organisations including Australia’s top 20 enterprises, and represents a range of industries with analytical consultants and software providers also part of the association.

“According to our annual skills and salary survey, IAPA members are largely tertiary educated in the areas of engineering, sciences, maths and stats and sit in varied roles across their organisations,” Campbell said.

Marketing peeps hooking up with data analysts is a reflection of marketing's ‘big thing’ for this decade  – big data.

“We see that marketing is changing and is becoming a lot more data driven, it’s a lot more numerate” said ADMA CEO, Jodie Sangster. “Data analysis is now a vital part of marketing so this is strategic positioning for us.”

Marketers are looking to use analytics to personalise content or to channel resources to focus on high value customers and make better use of limited marketing resources.

The competition for data analysts is fierce. They are in demand for everything from crunching data to identify fraud or for providing the green light for credit in the financial services industry; optimising supply chains and networks for logistics and distribution companies and for helping retailers identify where the next store should be located, Campbell said.

According to the IAPA's annual skills and salary report, increased demand for analytics professionals is pushing salaries upwards.

The 2014 Hays salary guide noted "solid demand for analysts with specific functional or industry expertise" in all sectors, especially those skilled in data warehousing, business intelligence and open source technologies.

The Robert Walters annual salary survey noted "plenty of opportunities" in data analytics for the financial services sector.

Bridging the gap

One of the first cabs off the rank for the IAPA /ADMA alliance will be the delivery of education courses that will help to bridge the communications gap between analysts and marketers.

“There’s currently a lack of understanding between the marketers and analysts," Campbell said.

"They don’t have a common nomenclature. We believe that we can increase collaboration by helping marketing understand how to approach a project scientifically. Analysts will see the effect of their work and become more engaged."

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Penny Wolf
A 20+ year veteran of the industry Penny has worked in marketing roles for vendors including Oracle, Infor and SAP. Penny began her career in the '80s with Australian Consolidated Press as a reporter.
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