Dive into Data: A Career in Marketing Analytics

Next up, as part of our “Dive into Data” initiative, we aim to change the misconception about what it takes to break into and build a long-term career in the data industry. As part of this, we’d like to showcase the many avenues and routes, far beyond the perception that it’s all about being a genius in maths, engineering and science oriented qualifications and how data brilliance is also fuelled by creative and business orientated minds.

In this part of the series, we’d like to feature the background and career journey of Russell Welfare, Campaign Solutions Analyst at Nectar Loyalty – a brilliant example that shows how unconventional backgrounds can lead to dive into data as a career.

Our chat here, to feature a real life example. How to get into data and an example of how a career path within that field can unfold….

ADLIB: To summarise, what are your main responsibilities as a Campaign Solutions Analyst?

Russell Welfare: It is my job to deliver data to our eCommerce team as well as the data partners that we work with. I also work to develop new initiatives such as Digital Display and Social in-housing.

ADLIB: What’s your background, what has been your career journey so far leading you to where you are right now?

Russell Welfare: After graduating from university, I was unsure of what career direction to pursue, and any jobs relating to my Film Studies degree were incredibly hard to get into and required experience I did not yet have. I continued my university job a ASDA whilst I looked and ended up moving on to GAME after around 9 months of searching.

GAME was much closer to my interests and offered a career path that put me in contact with big and successful technology companies like Microsoft and Sony. Whilst there, I got involved in the loyalty program as well as working with Microsoft as part of their elite program. Part of this was working with data to drive loyalty and understand Microsoft’s position in console market.

Fortunately, I had a friend who was at Nectar Loyalty also working with data and knew that I was looking to move out of the retail environment and develop myself elsewhere. They put me forward for my current job role as a Campaign Solutions Analyst and I then began working with databases. This role has evolved over the past two years from simple campaign building to managing the data across 3 databases and other environments.

ADLIB: What attracted you to the data-focused part of marketing?

Russell Welfare: As above I mostly lucked into it really, if you had told me that I would work with databases 4 years ago I would never have believed you.

I guess one of the attractive things about working with data is the way it constantly evolves, especially in a post GDPR world – the way we use and handle data has become more important than ever before. Companies are always looking to find new ways of marketing and this is being driven by data, so it’s very fulfilling to be part of that decision-making process.

ADLIB: What do you see as the top 3 skills it takes to become a Campaign Solutions Analyst?

Russell Welfare:

  1. Most of all, a strong desire to learn. When I started this role, I had no previous experience in coding or handling databases so I had a lot to learn and fast, Although I had strong support to bring me up to the standard needed, it required a lot of self-teaching and working through thousands of my own mistakes.
  2. I would say secondly, having prior knowledge of the industry you are going into, and if you don’t, teach yourself. Having worked with loyalty previously, I was able to understand the KPI’s behind what drove the business and what the data I was handling meant to them.
  3. Thirdly, have strong communication skills. The role sits between two business units and you can be approached by anyone, from the campaign management team to the directors around a specific data-based question. It’s an essential part of the job being able to communicate what the data shows with people who may not have any experience of data.

ADLIB: Any soft skills that are advantageous to this role in your opinion?

Russell Welfare: People skills – as I mentioned before are probably the most helpful, as well as being truly needed for your everyday job, it gives you a real support network within the company. In my experience I have found that profile within a company is what can help push you to learn new things and get you involved in the projects that drive and excite you.

Thanks for sharing Russell!

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Head of Data

Insight & Analytics

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Alex Cosgrove