What is one of the biggest problems in online marketing? Bryan Eisenberg puts it best: it's our critically high demand for skilled people.
Why? One of the root causes is the supply and demand of data. As data becomes an exceedingly cheap commodity to online marketing professionals, the sheer supply of data creates a significant problem.
We can't find enough skilled people to read, react, and respond to easy to spot risks or significant growth opportunities, and it will cost online business a lot of money this year.
The short-term solution is to take a risk and find skilled people who don't fit the mold of a typical web analyst. Take chances on individuals who may not be perfect for the role but can be mentored; those who exhibit some of the best attributes of an analyst, including:
1. Problem Solving
This is an absolute necessity. Regardless of whether a web analyst works in-house or at an agency, stakeholders hungry for insights will ask a lot of off-the-wall questions. A good web analyst can tell you whether something is possible, but a great one is confident anything is possible (and works out the details later).
2. Technical Aptitude
3. Strong Communication Skills
Above-average presentation skills are a bare minimum as an analyst, because you'll need charisma, influence, and the ability to interpret complex or technical concepts to vastly different audiences.
This trait is especially important for the very ambitious or highly technical to master. As a mentor of mine once told me, "sometimes you see A and you automatically think Z, when everyone else is stuck at B and C... you have to be able to bring people along for the ride." :-P
As a change agent, so many opportunities are going to arise from your insights that it will be difficult to surrender some of your favorites. Start with small changes that yield large impact and build your credibility slowly over time. Take calculated risks and learn from mistakes, especially the mistakes of others.
6. Business Acumen
Always start with a business problem. If you don't know what the business problems are, find out by asking different people lots of questions, especially customers.
Notice anything obvious that didn't make the list? Feel free to comment below, and I'll tell you why!
What's the Long-Term Solution?
We're not preparing for future generations by educating kids in school, getting in their face, showing them that you don't just have to be a doctor, teacher, or firefighter. We need to build more relationships in the community, reach out to universities and colleges, provide co-op opportunities, and offer job-shadowing.
It doesn't take a lot to make a difference. Want to start today? Head over to the Analysis Exchange.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!