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Marketing Analytics vs. Business Analytics: Which to Choose?

26 Oct
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If you’re interested in furthering your prospects and are researching different career paths, you might not be clear on the differences between the fields of marketing analytics and business analytics.

When comparing marketing analytics versus business analytics, it’s clear both careers require specific business skills and involve analysis for actionable insights, but they focus on different areas.1 How do they differ, what hard and soft skills do they require and what are the career opportunities?

Keep reading to discover whether being a marketing analyst or business analyst would be the best fit for your interests and career goals and learn how you can attain the necessary skills to pursue the career of your choice.

How Do Marketing Analytics and Business Analytics Differ?

Now let’s discuss marketing analytics versus business analytics further.

A marketing analyst manages and studies marketing data to determine a company’s return on investment (ROI) for its marketing activities. With an understanding of what the metrics tell them, they will identify areas that need improvement.

Marketing analytics can be used to gauge the success of marketing efforts like thought leadership pieces and blog posts, calls to action (CTAs), and channel performance (email, texting, web, etc.).2 They might determine if the department’s ad budget is being used effectively, what keywords the company should be targeting and why consumers aren’t responding to pay-per-click (PPC) ads.3

Market research analysts study business conditions and consumer behavior, in addition to other factors that affect the sales of products or services.4 They provide actionable insights into the market and its customers. This requires skills in marketing research, statistics, and analytics. They must also be well organized, have attention to detail, and be strong communicators.5

A business analyst solves business challenges using various technologies and disciplines such as statistical models and data analysis. Business analytics is an in-depth exploration of a company’s data that encompasses all business areas.

Their primary responsibility is statistical analysis, which provides insights that can be effectively used in decision-making.6 A business analyst determines the goal, selects a methodology for their analysis, and collects business data to make this analysis by drawing from various sources. They will then combine the data and perform their analysis, revealing relationships and patterns.

When assessing marketing analytics versus business analytics, please note that the field of
business analysis is an extremely important process that helps companies to make informed strategic decisions.6

A business analyst:

  • Examines and evaluates current business procedures.
  • Identifies areas that need improvement.
  • Researches and reviews business processes and ways in which to update them.
  • Presents findings and recommendations.
  • Trains and coaches staff.
  • Creates company initiatives.
  • Develops projects and monitors performance.
  • Works closely with senior management, clients, partners, and technicians7

A business analyst must have a wide range of technical abilities in research, technology, big data and statistical analysis, financial planning, organization, and documentation. Personal skills are also needed, such as decision-making, problem-solving, negotiation, managerial, and communication skills.8 The analyst must also understand all business departments and processes.7

The main difference between marketing analysis and business analysis is scope. While marketing analysts focus on the marketing of products and services to customers, business analysts look at the entire organization and how the company functions. This requires close collaboration with, and data from, all departments, not just marketing.1

Marketing Analytics vs. Business Analytics – Career Opportunities

Both marketing analytics and business analytics are high-growth fields with many opportunities to advance your career. However, since business analysts must focus on the entire organization with an in-depth knowledge of all business processes (and not just marketing), salaries tend to be significantly higher. These roles require a graduate-level knowledge base and next-level skills taught in highly-ranked MSBA programs.

Market research analysts have an annual median salary of $63,920, while a senior business analyst with a master’s degree can earn an average of $93,676 per year.4,9

The Importance of Business Analytics and Business Analysts Today

When diving deeper into our comparison of marketing analytics versus business analytics, we see today's business landscape is more complex and competitive than ever before. To succeed, companies must make data-driven decisions that optimize resources and maximize performance. This is where business analysts come in. Business analysts are experts in business analytics, the process of identifying business opportunities and designing solutions to help organizations achieve their objectives. In other words, they help companies make better decisions by turning data into insights.

Due to their unique skill set, business analysts are in high demand. Companies are increasingly realizing the importance of data-driven decision-making, and business analysts are uniquely positioned to provide the insights that organizations need to succeed. As a result, careers in business analytics are on the rise. If you're interested in a career in business analytics, now is the time to get started.

Now let’s take an in-depth look at the career and skills of the modern business analyst.

The Four Areas of Business Analytics and Three Principles of Modeling

Because of its ability to help entire organizations perform better, business analysts have a unique role that makes them especially valuable to today’s data-driven companies.

Today’s advanced field of business analytics focuses on four areas and three modeling principles. Information technology has transformed businesses, and data is acquired from web applications, databases, supply chain management, customer relationship management (CRM), and other sources like social media applications, blogs, mobile applications, and email messages.10

The four types of analytics are:

  • Discovery/Wisdom – The identification of new products, markets and strategies through "knowledge about knowledge" and wisdom. 10
  • Descriptive – The most common form, used to understand current and past business decisions. Data is categorized, characterized, aggregated, and classified to make fact-based decisions. Incorporates query and drill down, routine and as-needed reporting, dashboard layouts, and charting or visualization. 10
  • Predictive – Future business performance is predicted by using historical data or by recognizing patterns or relationships in the data and extrapolating for an informed forecast. Simulations are also used.10
  • Prescriptive – When there are too many choices, this form of analysis can be used. It relies not just on information and data, but also on business knowledge. In this way, the optimal outcome is determined along with recommended actions. This involves optimization, decision-making during uncertainty, and impact analysis.10

The three principles of analytics that are used for business modeling are the visualization of data, statistical modeling, and data-driven machine learning.10

Business Analytics Methodologies – A Brief Glossary of Terms

If you’re exploring the complex and exciting field of business analytics, here are some of the tools and methods you will be using in your work.11

Data Aggregation

Data aggregation, an important part of data warehousing, collects and presents the information in a summarized way so that statistical analysis can be performed.12

Data Mining

Analysts use data mining to explore and analyze large volumes of information to extract meaningful trends and patterns. It starts with data collection, warehousing of the data, and computer processing. Data mining uses machine learning, in addition to databases and statistics.13

Data Visualization

Data visualization is used to represent data graphically so that patterns and trends can be quickly seen and understood. It may use line, bar, and pie charts; graphs, scatter plots, geographic maps, heat maps, and other types of graphics.14


Forecasting uses historical information to make predictive estimates of future trends. Companies may use forecasting to plan for expenses, allocate budgets, and predict demand for their goods or services.15


After trends are noted and predictions are made, organizations can use simulation techniques for testing various scenarios. Through this method, they can optimize their operations.11

Statistical Analysis

To perform a statistical analysis is to collect, explore, and present large volumes of data to detect underlying trends and patterns.16

Get the Skills You Need for a Leadership Role in Business Analytics

The Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business Online Master of Science in Business Analytics will help you finely hone your business analytic skills while developing the analytical mindset needed to stand out from the competition and face any business challenges. The core curriculum includes data science and machine learning, data analytics with Python, database management systems, prescriptive analytics, and more. It also includes electives in such specialized areas as natural language processing, data visualization, and big data modeling and analytics.

Santa Clara University's Online MSBA program offers unique connections to Silicon Valley and prepares you to thrive in today’s most innovative organizations. Learn more about networking events and career resources that can propel you into your next opportunity.

For more information, schedule a call with an SCU admissions advisor.