Marketing dashboards have created a buzz in the direct marketing arena, but what exactly can they do and what are the benefits of using them? A marketing dashboard is a specially designed widget, configured to show vital company statistics, updated on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, depending on who the stats are for (executives, managers, statisticians, etc.). Dashboards can help marketers get a better grasp on one of their most important, and often overlooked, direct marketing tools: data. According to Devyani Sadh, CEO of Stamford, Conn.-based Data Square, a business-intelligence solutions provider, “businesses only use 7 percent of their data to make strategic marketing decisions.”
Much of a company’s time is spent collecting that valuable data, rather than analyzing it for business purposes, Sadh says. “The problem today is not lack of data,” she relates. “It’s lack of visibility of the key pieces of data. A good dashboard will allow us to do that. A good dashboard is not about the best technology in the world; it’s really about the best representation and the best culling out of data and the conversion into insights.” In this light, marketing dashboards are a way for companies to organize and highlight significant sales, marketing and enterprise data amid the myriad statistics floating around on office memos.
Marketing dashboards vary widely in terms of their structure and capabilities. Sadh explains that there are five marketing dashboard models, each more complex than the other and requiring more advanced skill sets. These approaches are:
Level one: This dashboard is basically a business-intelligence application, used for simple reports and viewing trends.
Level two: A performance-management system that allows you to look not just at what happened, but to ask: Are we on target with our goals? This model enables you to see benchmarks, scorecards and other performance-tracking metrics.