Imagine driving a car without knowing your current speed, how much fuel you have left, or how much further until you reach your destination. One can calculate by hand, regularly, how many kilometres were driven since the last tank filling to estimate the remaining mileage capacity. One can do some guesswork based on experience... but anyone who has a choice will opt for having the relevant information accessible at a glance, like on a dashboard.
In the digital world, companies have actually adopted the term "dashboard" from the automotive industry for the same reason. It was a challenge for the media and marketing industry for a long time, as sources were scattered across various publisher and harmonisation was manual. Agencies and marketers alike became experts in filling spreadsheet to keep track of budgets and results.
Being confronted with an incredible amount of diverse marketing data, a business intelligence dashboard serves as an indispensable tool to leverage information using data visualization technology. The benefits can be broken down as follows:
Two years ago already, Forbes illustrate this problem with a stunning "95% of businesses cite the need to manage unstructured data as a problem for their business." Data is arguably the most important asset, when talking to monitoring business health and predicting future results. But it requires heavy manual work to prepare and harmonised before being used when no automation is in place.
The availability of both public and business datasets increase exponentially the capacity of business to gain an edge, but company are failing to invest into the technology to support their team to perform. Not only a well-designed dashboard provides access to all important metrics without requiring special knowledge or technical skill by consolidating multiple data sets into a single, user-friendly interface; but automating updates and provisioning dramatically reduces the risk of errors carried over resources used to provide these updates.
Dashboards do not only display information, it organises it to present results and correlations in an historical trends (when historical data are available). Good visualisations present businesses with context and well as results to help draw conclusions over time.
As said dealing with a broad set of data sources in a fragmented online marketing world is overwhelmingly time- and resource-consuming. Automation offers for the team to focus on bringing to life the visualisations that will enable clear reading of market situation and makes any decision-making process more efficient.
Visualisations tools, offers filters and metric drill-downs that allows specific data to be singled out immediately.
Once data can be easily displayed and updated, all following processes are facilitated: it supports data-driven decision making process which implies to select the key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the quality of each actions and to monitor market developments over time.
Exemple of KPIs for Marketing activities.
Defining a set of KPIs prior to each activities to assess results will support further rational decision making within the business, helping to prove the efficacy of marketing activities as a support to the business growth.
Since what gets measured gets managed, relevant KPIs can be derived from strategic goals to guarantee alignment with the overarching business objectives, before being translated into Marketing proxies which correlates the success of marketing operations with business goals.
Using automated dashboards enables a better understanding of relationships within the actions and the effect on the business results using rational datasets. There is an even more important point to the automation of data visualisation: Team can make their decision based on a unique set of information - a single source of truth. This improve the capacity to build trust and understanding between different departments, not always having the same understanding of business dynamics.
Well-designed dashboards fuel this process by offering clear reading that brings correlations between business and marketing, powered by data provisioning and automation. Every team member is fed with the same dataset, avoiding distortions and misleading interpretations. Decisions can be made efficiently, set on clear goals and structured predictions.
Understanding precisely how marketing and trade activities affect your business is everyday more complex with the multiplication of platforms and channels to target potential clients - unless company invest in the right solutions to.
Automation on data connection and provisioning as well as professional dashboard creation serves as a powerful instrument that helps companies:
Having a data-driven decision process removes personal biases from the equation and leads to better results, boosting the overall success of your business.