What Makes an Outstanding Marketing Analytics Expert?

This weekend I had the chance to attend NYU’s Digital Analytics Conference, the first ever of its kind. I was lucky to get a spot in the audience, as the event filled up very fast. After attending the first day I knew exactly why. NYU brought in wonderful speakers, all of whom were experts within the area of Marketing Analytics and were eager to share their wisdom with us budding students.

The most memorable session to me was the Panel Discussion titled Using Digital Analytics in Industry Verticals. Three professionals told us about  their perspective of the industry and shared tips and tricks they find useful in their work lives. The panelists all fulfill different roles at their respective companies:

  • Leyda Hernandez, Director of Marketing at Priori Legal, a pioneering company combining technology and legal services
  • Jessica Rifkind, Manager of Analytics and Customer Insights at L’Oréal Luxe where she oversees brands such as Lancome, Giorgio Armani, Urban Decay and Clarisonic among others
  • Robb Hecht, VP, Integrated Account Moderator at FCB Global, a worldwide integrated marketing communications agency

As an aspiring Marketing Analytics professional, I was most interested in the panelists’ opinion about what makes an outstanding analytics expert. When asked this question, they had amazing advice I feel inclined to share with my fellow classmates with hopes  of breaking into the industry.

In my opinion, out of the three panelists, Jessica is most relevant to my concentration, as her day-to-day activities include a significant amount of  work in analytics. She shared with us that an analytics expert must have the willingness to dive into data, but he or she must know when to stop. It’s all about extracting the necessary information, without getting completely lost in Excel spreadsheets. Another important part of the to-do list is constant sanity checks, which is making sure every number aligns and makes sense. Failure to do so, she says, may result in someone else finding an error in your work, which is something you never want to happen. Analytics experts must be meticulous and precise, no excuses.

Leyda described someone who works within the area of marketing analytics as follows: he or she must be a data scientist, a psychologist and a creative mind all at once. Her explanation was down to the point. One must naturally be good friends with numbers but also have high emotional intelligence to know that customers are going to be different. Everyone has varying preferences and interests, and the beauty of being a marketing analytics expert lies within the ability to “break down the walls” of the customer’s brain and successfully predict what they will want next, with the help of data of course. Last, but not least, one must also possess a creative mind that helps with obtaining a worldly view of  how the data one is working on influences the overall marketing efforts of the company.

As the perfect last piece of advice, Robb suggested that data is the new creative. His statement relied upon the simple fact that data specialists and creatives of a company make each other look good, therefore they must  be best friends and perform at their best for everybody’s good.

I hope some of you fellow students hungry to learn will find these pieces of advice just as helpful as I did!


5 thoughts on “What Makes an Outstanding Marketing Analytics Expert?

  1. Sema says:

    Thank you for the enlightening summary! I could not attend the conference, but I was able to catch-up, thanks to your post! As my background in academic research has also taught me as well, I completely agree with the point that the art of research and data mining is the ability to sort out meaningful data from the crowd. As researchers and analysts, we tend to try to use every single datum we have found probably because we know how much psychological and timewise costs we spend on finding data. We also wrongly believe that more data provides more accuracy: whereas, in reality, more data may be even senseless and useless if it is irrelevant. I think stopping such beliefs and tendencies should be one of the academic goals in marketing analytics degree programs.


  2. dardiee says:

    Thank you for sharing these insights from the conference! I’m so glad someone took the initiative to cover this event and share with the rest of us 🙂
    It’s great receiving an advice from someone within the system, and this is such great advice – sometimes people want to excel so badly, they tend to lose themselves in the process..


  3. Vassilis Kouvas says:

    That session was one of my favorites as well. And I strongly agree with what Jessica from L’Oreal said: the biggest challenge for a marketing analytics expert is to know when to stop. I won’t forget her advice! Robb is right as well, as analytics specialists and creative people should work together to optimize the results. Thanks for sharing!


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