In recent years, marketers have seen a significant emphasis on data-driven decision making. Additionally, there is an increased need to understand customer behavior and key metrics such as ROI or average order value (AOV). With an endless number of data sources (social media, email marketing, ERP systems, etc.) and a rapidly growing amount of data, both executives and analysts struggle to make sense of all the available information and respond in a timely manner.
A well-developed marketing dashboard helps companies overcome these challenges by organizing data into digestible metrics and reports that update automatically. Dashboards provide intuitive visuals that unlock the business value within your data quickly and without the manual effort of getting pieces of information from multiple places. Below, we have outlined four ways that dashboards benefit the entire marketing team, from the executives to the analysts.
1. Dashboards centralize all of your key information in one place.
Dashboards combine all of the essential information that would typically be found across various reports from disparate systems such as your CRM, ERP, or even third party reports. Questions such as “how does our average order value compare to this time last year?”, “which marketing channels are driving the most new customers?” or “what is our Marketing ROI” can be quickly, consistently, and reliably answered without waiting on IT to put the information together or spending your department’s working day on going to each software to download a new report and then marry them together. Instead, you can simply refer to a dashboard that highlights key statistics.
2. Dashboards automate manual processes and ensure reliable and consistent reports.
Marketing analysts often spend more time wrangling, cleaning, and validating data for a report than they do gleaning insights from it. Even after these reports are created, it is difficult to ensure that the metrics will remain consistent each time they are delivered to executives. Dashboards are typically built using one source of data that has predefined metrics and inputs, to ensure that the reports remain consistent. They can automatically refresh data on a set schedule or surface it as it is collected. Not only does this create more time for marketing analysts to focus on creating campaigns and incentives based on these insights, but it also ensures that executives are able to make decisions using accurate and consistent data points.
This dashboard highlights the trend in a selected metric, including its predicted future value, allowing marketers to quickly pivot when current campaign ROI is trending downward. It also allows the marketing department to demonstrate ROI to the company as a whole, which often leads to an increase in marketing budget.
This dashboard highlights the order activity associated with experimental products to allow the merchandising team to pivot quickly when a new product is not working or it can allow the marketing team to increase advertising dollars if a new product is not getting enough attention.
3. Quick and reliable understanding of customer behavior paves the way to a stronger customer relationship.
Dashboards consolidate and visualize the story your data is telling. This often reflects the reality of how customers interact with your brand and clearly points out new trends. For example: creating a picture that combines key pieces of information across systems, such as how many orders a customer placed and the value of those orders from your ERP with click analytics for that customer from your email marketing platform, allows you to identify like-customers who may respond to similar incentives. These customer profiles can then grow and change over time as you gather more data, leading to insights that allow you to more efficiently target the audiences who are more likely to convert based on that incentive. It also cuts down on the number of incentives or touchpoints you put in front of a customer who is not interested in that particular part of your business. Less spam for your customers, and more conversions for you.
This dashboard quickly highlighted which customer segment was more engaged when the brand pushed social/email/web content, giving the marketing department the perfect focus group on which they could test new ideas.
This dashboard provides an executive-level overview of marketing performance.
This dashboard shows the comparison in purchase behavior across loyalty and non-loyalty customers. Our clients use dashboards like these to inform when they should incentivize customers to participate in a loyalty program or jump to the next tier and when the loyalty program is actually costing them more money than it is yielding.
This dashboard highlights the time between orders across your customer base. Say, for example, you have a set of customers who place an order every 6 weeks but they have not returned for 10. Our clients automate the discovery of these customers and send that email list to their email service provider (ESP) to automatically re-engage that customer base.
4. Dashboards are a gateway to advanced customer analytics.
With your analysts no longer consumed by manually building out reports, you are on your way to identifying strong use cases for machine learning (ML) and predictive analytics. This form of advanced customer analytics covers a wide variety of use cases. A common marketing use case for ML is predicting customer lifetime value (CLV/LTV) prior to investing marketing dollars on acquisition by matching a potential customer to the profile of existing customers that either yield high net profit or end up costing your business money instead. Another great marketing use case for data science is predicting the probability of conversion for a specific campaign or promotion based on this customer or customer segment’s previous behavior with like-campaigns. Your branding and merchandising teams may want to focus on identifying products that would yield a higher profit or increase in orders as a bundle instead of being sold individually. Regardless of the use case, your dashboards will put you in a strong position to have a more targeted and therefore effective data science use case.
This is an example of a marketing dashboard that helps better understand customer demographics.
This dashboard gives marketers a place to test theories on customer demographics that would yield the highest LTV for a specific campaign.
Implementing a strategic, goal-oriented dashboard significantly improves your marketing efforts at all levels. It provides analysts with the ability to spend their time acting on information rather than searching for and cleaning up data. More importantly, they enable executives to make informed decisions that ultimately increase ROI and ensure marketing budget is spent on impactful efforts.
Aptitive has a vast array of experience helping marketers create dashboards that unlock valuable insights. Contact us or check out our Marketing Analytics Starter Pack to quickly gain the benefits listed above with a marketing dashboard specialized for your company.
Rachel Stewart is a Data Management and Analytics Consultant at Aptitive. In her role, Rachel enables companies to discover insights and access the information held by their data.