The Community Blog for Business Analysts

Limor Wainstein
Limor Wainstein

A Day in the Life of a Business Analyst / Marketing Analyst - Differences, Roles, and Tools

Business analysts typically gather and interpret data from many areas within an organization, finding solutions to business problems and improving business processes with all that data. A business analyst may measure and improve on such disparate things as warehouse efficiency and cloud software implementation.

A marketing analyst, on the other hand, studies quantitative data gathered specifically from a company’s marketing activities, such as customer behavior and social media signals, in order to better optimize marketing strategies.

With the swathes of data collected by Big Data systems and marketing tools at companies of all sizes, marketing analytics is expected to explode. One popular annual marketing study—the 2017 CMO Survey—forecasts a 229 percent increase in marketing analytics spending over the next three years.

In this article, you’ll find out about the differences between a marketing analyst versus a business analyst. You’ll also get informed on the roles and responsibilities, and the types of marketing tools, business intelligence tools, and other software that each must use in their respective jobs.


Let’s take a look at the common responsibilities and skillsets for these two roles separately.

Business Analyst

Business analysts have much more varied roles than their counterparts in marketing. More specifically, such people are usually responsible for or required to be skilled in different things than marketing analysts for their daily work, including:

  • Business analysts typically require knowledge of statistics and statistical software such as R. Companies also look for SQL knowledge in their business analysts.

  • Business analysts can work in projects with accounting, finance, IT, and marketing teams.

  • Business analysts are responsible for high-level reporting on entire business processes/domains involving multiple data sources.

  • Business analysts design solutions to problems for the business as a whole, and thus must effectively be able to communicate with many business areas.

Marketing Analyst

Marketing analysts frequently have the following specific skillsets and responsibilities:

  • Marketing analysts should be good with Excel and understand statistics. They also require excellent knowledge of all marketing tools the business uses.

  • Marketing analysts work closely with other marketing staff, making sure that all campaigns are tagged and tracked properly.

  • Marketing analysts build dashboards and reports based on web analytics and other marketing metrics.

  • Marketing analysts mostly communicate with marketing staff, sales staff, and developers.


Both marketing analysts and business analysts extensively use a slew of different software platforms in their respective jobs.

Business Analysts

As mentioned, SQL knowledge is much sought-after for business analysts. SQL is a language for managing data held in relational database systems. Business analysts would not require the same level of SQL knowledge as, say, an actuarial analyst, but a fundamental understanding of its capabilities and basic functions is vital.

Additionally, business analysts often use data visualization and business intelligence tools, such as Tableau or SAP BusinessObjects.

Marketing Analysts

Marketing analysts must understand fully all the different marketing tools deployed by the company they work for. This means knowledge of marketing automation and email marketing tools. This source extensively overviews the main marketing tools companies use. Marketers will work with web analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Kissmetrics to get insight into the behavior of prospects. See this wiki providing an overview of the types of marketing tools these professionals use every day.


Some aspects of both roles lend them well to transferability—marketing analysts are well-placed to become business analysts and vice versa. However, there are important differences that will require a learning curve, including:

  • Both roles require a good grasp of statistics but the data sources and uses will change. Both roles differ in terms of interpreting what the numbers mean—marketing analysts need to understand numbers in the context of improving marketing strategies while business analysts need to think of streamlining entire business processes from a stakeholder’s perspective.

  • Marketing analysts will require additional communication skills because a business analyst must communicate with many departments, meaning solely speaking in marketing terms will not suffice.

  • Business analysts focus on “bottom-line” metrics and KPIs while marketing analysts emphasize metrics indicative of successful marketing strategies and campaigns.

  • Business analysts are concerned with improving IT architectures as a whole, but marketing analysts just want good marketing tools that work together.

Closing Thoughts

Both roles offer diverse career paths, good salaries, and plenty of opportunities for work. It’s imperative to note that choosing one or the other doesn’t mean you are stuck doing that job forever—working at either of these roles provides valuable skills that you can use if you want to change between them.

This entry was published on Jan 07, 2018 / Limor Wainstein. Posted in Business Analysis Planning (BABOK KA). Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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