Ever since marketing dashboards became popular in 2007-2008, marketers have been optimizing them to meet their needs. Rather than having the systems be dumping grounds for data, users are adding functionality from analytics to cross-departmental communication capabilities to make the systems as useful as possible.
Those who know say that the latest dashboard optimizations seem to be on the consumer intelligence end—monitoring demand in real time and geo-targeting prospects. Providing more tips and trends are:
- Rob Becker, vice president, account service group, at Richardson, Texas-based KnowledgeBase Marketing;
- John Callan, director, product marketing, at Somerville, Mass.-based enterprise analytics software provider TIBCO Spotfire; and
- Perianne Grignon, vice president, media strategy and chief marketing officer at New York-based online audience targeting technology provider XplusOne.
Taking advantage of the latest trends and best practices relating to dashboards requires:
1. Demand-side ad platforms. Marketers who bid on real-time ads through networks can pull the information into marketing dashboards to ensure that they're not, for instance, bidding against themselves through various ad networks.
"When searching for the right DSP, it is essential to find an end-to-end solution that can optimize all digital touchpoints," Grignon says, "including display, video, mobile, search and landing pages to provide a holistic view of marketing channels."
2. Geo views. "Geo-mapping has become much more actionable with the recent influx of reliable digital data," Becker says.
3. "Vision statements." Becker points out that organizations have to agree on what to have in the marketing dashboards through vision statements, which include "a core objective and key factors of success in the design, development and implementation."
For instance, when an organization recently asked Becker to design, develop and manage an enterprise-wide dashboard, "Initial requirements evolved as key stakeholders throughout the enterprise became aware of the intelligence that could be gleaned from a customer lifecycle view. Product management, Operations, Acquisition Marketing and Customer Management departments weighed in with unique views of what success looked like. [It] became important to prioritize objectives with a weighting process and develop aggregated views of the data, which allowed for reports to populate in a timely manner while providing drill-down functionality with fences. [I'm] in [the] process of creating a sharable view of key insights gleaned from various queries across the cross-functional departments."
4. A good grasp of basic metrics. Callan says marketers are using dashboards to monitor digital campaign statistics, such as email open rates and clickthroughs, so they can quickly drill down to examine anomalies and trends with easy comparisons to previous campaigns.
One of the nuggets Callan's customers discovered is that Wednesdays tend to yield the best open and response rates.
5. Platform and mental flexibility. Becker says: "Capture requirements that allow for phasing as the project evolves to a larger audience with increasing levels of data."
At the same time, keep an open mind. Make sure that marketing runs the dashboard, not the other way around. "Capture structured and unstructured data to allow for qualitative observations in the dashboard platform," Becker says.
6. Data hygiene. Don't just make this an ideal, Becker says, make it a practice. Adopt a routine of keeping the underlying data clean and managed.