Beyond Data Visualization: Why You Need Actionable Insights

Posted by Patrick Kilgore on 1/27/16 8:54 PM

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Marketing analytics are typically used as a measure of campaign performance – something to show your bosses to let them know what you’ve accomplished. That’s nice, but what if you could use your marketing analytics to help you figure out what to do next?

Data Visualization is An Important First Step

How do you view your marketing analytics now? Many marketing professionals see pretty much everything they’ve collected in a number of spreadsheets that get sent back and forth between individuals and departments in email attachments. It’s not uncommon for CMOs only have access to the marketing analytics that show them how their departments are performing in a flat, hard-to-read format.

Making sure you have the most up-to-date data for each department is a constant challenge. You don’t want everyone looking at different information. Even looking at the same thing, being able to fully understand the information you’re looking at when it’s the form of numbers in spreadsheet cells isn’t easy for most.

A CMO dashboard with good data visualization can make a huge difference in how well you understand the analytics you’re looking at. Just imagine the difference between seeing a series of numbers and a graph that clearly shows how everything relates. Which one does your brain process more effectively? For the vast majority of people, when you can visualize the data, it immediately makes more sense.

But if you only use the data visualization feature of your marketing dashboard to tell you how things have worked so far, you’re still missing the mark.

Marketing Intelligence Shouldn’t Just Be About the Past

A powerful, comprehensive CMO dashboard can do much more than show you past performance. To start, it can show you how campaign performance compares to he goals you set out in advance. Seeing your campaign performance is useful, but seeing how well it’s achieving what you need it to in order to meet your department goals is much more useful. 

In addition, a powerful dashboard will enable you to see the comparison between results and goals not only at the level of specific campaigns, but also at the level of your larger teams and departments, and for your marketing organization overall.

With that information, you can start to see specifically where your marketing activities are falling short. You gain a clear picture of what needs to change now, which brings your marketing team out of the past and into the present. 

How to Figure Out What’s Next

Once you know exactly where you are now in terms of how your current results relate to your projected goals, it’s time to move forward.

First, analyze all the campaigns, programs, and tactics that are falling short. In some cases, the disappointing campaign performance could be due to factors outside your control like seasonal issues or a sudden economic downturn, rather than due to a failure of your marketing activities. In many cases though, with the help of data visualization, you’ll be able to identify a specific tactic or activity that’s underperforming.

Remember to look at other, related marketing analytics to see if they can help point you toward the reason something’s not working. Is it reaching the wrong audience? Can you see performance and results by vendor and segment? Do you need to refine the keywords you’re targeting? Are you covering a topic in your content that your customers aren’t interested in? When you can specifically pinpoint what’s not working, you’ll have a better idea of what questions to ask to figure out why.

Being able to see results in real-time, from data across silos, gives you the ability to take action before it’s too late, and to redirect funds to better-performing campaigns.

The benefits of a CMO dashboard that finally allows you to see all the indicators of campaign and budget performance and how they all relate only increase with time. Each round of new marketing analytics provides you with more useful information to refine the campaigns you have and improve them for the next round. 

When it comes to reviewing marketing analytics, many marketing organizations are stuck in the past. With the right marketing performance solution, your data can become more than your view into past performance; it can become your roadmap to connecting marketing to revenue.

Topics: Marketing Maturity, Hive9, Marketing Stream

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