Level three: A marketing-intelligence dashboard that allows you to see not only what happened, but also to discern why it happened. “You require a lot of research and analysis to produce this type of dashboard,” says Sadh. “In this third level, you require a skill set that would be referred to an analytic practitioner, the analyst or the statistician that has the ability to take data, to analyze results. It is no longer just a reporting tool.”
Level four: This more advanced dashboard allows you to forecast sales and marketing performance based on “what-if” scenarios. “You can actually develop scenarios/simulations and allow executives to engage in decisions that are forward-thinking, that can actually foresee the future and avert unpleasant outcomes,” explains Sadh.
Level five: This is the most sophisticated level of dashboards. It “utilizes event-based intelligence to change what is predicted to happen in the future,” Sadh says. Basically, the level-five dashboard takes the level-four dashboard a step further by using event-based intelligence to futher improve sales and marketing forecasts.
However, marketers must keep in mind that the dashboard simply is a visualization of the stats, a presentation layer. “What you see is actually simple, but the mechanics behind it are anything but,” Sadh asserts.
Choosing the metrics to include in the dashboard is a time-consuming, but worthwhile data-mapping exercise, says Ram Krishnamurthy, director, Quaero Corp., a marketing and technology services provider based in Charlotte, N.C. “You have to have executive, senior-level leadership backing to understand what it is that [you’re] trying to see or measure and then get that data or that metric to start to float, or bubble up, to the surface. And then you start building all the things that you need to [for the dashboard] around it.”
There are many benefits to implementing a dashboard, say Krishnamurthy and Sadh. The aspect of visualization is “the thing that really, absolutely makes the value proposition from a return investment on a marketing dashboard,” says Krishnamurthy. “The ability for people, executives especially, to look at their dashboard and say, ‘What marketing campaigns are doing well? What’s our brand recognition today?’”