A Deep Dive into Data Analytics
This week James Webb sat down with Andrew Orr to discuss his new role at Samsung, his career to date and how others can get into analytics if they are looking to explore it.
Andrew joins Samsung’s commercial marketing team as a commercial analyst having worked with them in the past agency side, progressing from an insight analyst to an insight manager, at a field marketing agency.
What is field marketing and what does that entail?
A brand or company will pay a field marketing company to go and promote their brand and/or their products often in stores throughout the UK, so it’s often used for grocery and fast-moving consumer goods. Andrew’s role at CPM International involved working with a team of promoters who would go to Curry’s, PC World and John Lewis stores with the aim to promote and sell Samsung products to the customer.
Often in field marketing there will be a team of merchandisers. Their job is to go to stores and ensure branded displays and products are in good condition, clean and presented well. They’ll also support with positioning and layout of products on the shop floor, determining where the higher footfall areas are and deliver 1-1 shop floor training to better equip staff to sell products in their absence.
How do you analyse the success of a field marketing team ?
Analysts will have regular access to a retailers point of sales data, so they are able to measure what stores don’t have staff in, how they are doing with sales and then measure and rank this against stores that do have staff in. A lot of this is measuring the field staff VS a controlled group of similar sized stores without that support.
You will look at things like average selling price, a conversion rate for promoters – so how many demonstrations they do to tie down a sale, the amount of training hours delivered with the merchandiser team and store staff. Not everything has a monetary value attached to it, but this means we are still able to measure the impact and success.
What do you think the main differences and challenges of working client-side VS agency?
The transition should be a lot easier if you are moving to a client that you have worked with at an agency before. Most of the time you will spend at the client’s office, so you must be careful of a disconnect at your agency!
It’s important to maintain a balance between working for your client, and keeping an eye on what’s happening with your co-workers’ clients to keep up with best practice, trends, and new methodologies, etc. Field marketing is also heavily weighted towards grocery and fast-moving consumer goods, whereas working for Samsung albeit consumer goods, they are less fast moving when working on their home appliances team!
People only buy big ticket items when their old product is broken or they’re re-doing their kitchen for example, so you have to be really specific about what you pick and learn, from other analysts working with other clients.
Are there any myths within Analytics that you can address?
You don’t need to be an expert mathematician. Simpler mathematics will often be better as it’s easier to explain to your audience and help non-technical stakeholders to understand. You’re not always going to be explaining a formula or methodology to someone with a maths background so the simpler the better. It’s the “so what” that stakeholders tend to want to know.
Do you have any advice for those that want to get into Analytics?
Make time to up-skill yourself. There are plenty of online courses available . Learning how to use one of the big three data visualisation tools (PowerBI, Qlik or Tableau) will help a lot when visualising the results, which is newer to analytics than others such as Excel spreadsheets or PowerPoint reports.
Making sure you know what your skills and goals are, so you are applying for/up-skilling yourself for the right roles. You might think you want to be an analyst but a developer or a data scientist role will better suit your skills.
Think outside the box. There are people that are great at the mathematical side of analytics – they can analyse X,Y or Z and know exactly how to put that formula in place and how to come to the right answer, but then struggle to move past that point.
You need to be able to think “where do I go next” and provide actionable insights based on the data. It’s a story telling role and will help business leaders make better decisions based on your recommendations.
You don’t have to have a maths or statistical background or degree to be a successful analyst. We are seeing more people with law, english, etc. backgrounds than ever before. What they need to be is curious and a strong communicator keen to apply themselves.
How do you see Analytics and the tools used evolving?
Companies want to move forward in their data and be better at using their data to make decisions.
This means adopting those data visualisation tools to not only help you literally visualise it but automate the process for you. This is a huge time saver which then allows you to work on other things like gathering feedback and reasons why.
A lot of companies will also develop separate data science teams, as there a huge difference to what an analyst does VS a data scientist.
Data science is more about pure mathematical learning to try and predict the future almost, to predict what’s going to come up that might be a hurdle for a company, or to pick up something that maybe they need to act quickly on. It’s likely they’ll become a more stand-alone from the analytics team, who will in the meantime be working much closer with other departments such as product and marketing.
You can watch the full interview here.
For more information, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out some of our latest roles in analytics here!