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So You Need a Marketing Dashboard—Now What? by BECKON

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How to choose the right partner for data management and reporting.

In this data-driven, omnichannel age, marketing dashboards and scorecards—tools for data-based marketing management—are now a top priority.

It’s the right instinct and very timely, but getting meaningful insight from raw marketing data is much more involved than just booting up some new software. There’s a whole process involved, and either your tool, your team, or your software partner needs to handle each step.

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So You Need a Marketing Dashboard—Now What? by BECKON

  1. 1. HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PARTNER FOR DATA MANAGEMENT AND REPORTING SO YOU NEED A MARKETING DASHBOARD—NOW WHAT?
  2. 2. 2 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 3 A COOL, REFRESHING ANALOGY 4 MAKING DATA SAFE FOR MARKETERS 5 PARTNERS FOR DATA MANAGEMENT AND REPORTING 8 CHOOSING THE RIGHT PARTNER 13 40 QUESTIONS TO ASK PROSPECTIVE PARTNERS 15
  3. 3. 3 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM INTRODUCTION It’s time—you’ve decided you need a marketing dashboard. You want to be able to see all your omnichannel data in one place. You want to track how well you’re hitting your targets. You want your entire team to have access to a repository of marketing intelligence so they can make decisions based on the data. You want an easy way to communicate how well you’re performing against marketing and business goals. You’re not alone. As marketers race to boost their data analytics capabilities, they’re making dashboards and scorecards—tools for data-based marketing management—a top priority. It’s the right instinct and very timely. But getting insight from raw marketing data takes much more than just booting up some data visualization software. To understand why, let’s begin with an analogy that offers illuminating parallels: the public water system. 69% Sixty-nine percent of marketers anticipate stepping up their use of data-driven marketing over the next three years. Source: Forbes Insights
  4. 4. 4 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM A COOL, REFRESHING ANALOGY Clearly, installing a new faucet isn’t what makes the water flow. Delivering water fit for human use depends on a series of steps that happen long before you turn on the tap. We can break it down into five stages. HOW DRINKING WATER GETS TO YOUR TAP 1. COLLECTION. First we have to gather up all the water in its natural state. At this stage, we’re taking the water in whatever form it comes—dirty, muddy and potentially full of pollutants. 2. FILTRATION AND DISINFECTION. Using various straining techniques, we filter and cleanse the water. 3. AUGMENTATION. We then add things to our water that enhance its value for human consumption—fluoride, for instance. 4. STORAGE. Next, we set aside the clean, safe water in a repository, ready to flow. 5. DISPENSATION. Finally, having done all this preparatory work, we can pipe the water directly to end users. They can do the dishes, take a shower, wash the dog—any task that requires clean, safe water. 1 1. COLLECTION Capture all the water we can. Muddy, dirty, things floating in it—just take it all. 2. FILTRATION AND DISINFECTION Get rid of all the junk. 3. AUGMENTATION Add fluoride and other enhancements. 4. STORAGE Put the clean, safe water in a repository, ready to flow. 5. DISPENSATION Pipe the water into faucets and nozzles on-demand.
  5. 5. 5 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM MAKING DATA SAFE FOR MARKETERS Turning raw marketing data into true marketing insight follows a process very similar to how drinking water gets to our taps. Here, though, we have six stages instead of five. HOW MARKETING INTELLIGENCE GETS TO YOUR TEAM 1. Data intake. This is the collection stage, where we gather up all our raw data in its natural form. Like the first stage of water management, the data we gather is “dirty”. Nothing goes together. It’s a hodgepodge of likes, clicks and TV gross ratings points. It’s spend, survey and sales data. Some data is in rows. Some is in columns. And it’s scattered across dozens of tabs. The campaign names and IDs are all different. Some stuff is measured in days and other stuff in weeks or quarters. And it’s in five different currencies. 1 0 101100 1. DATA INTAKE Capture all the data we can. Scattered, messy, in different formats— just take it all. 2. DATA CLEANSING AND NORMALIZATION Filter out all the junk and make the data consistent. 3. DATA ENRICHMENT Add tagging and other enhancements. 4. DATA STORAGE Put the clean, safe data in a repository, ready to flow. 5. REPORT DESIGN Decide the marketing questions dashboards and scorecards should answer. 6. DATA VISUALIZATION Pipe the data into dashboards and scorecards on-demand. 2
  6. 6. 6 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM 2. Data cleansing and normalization. Next we filter the junk out of our raw data as well as make it all consistent. This includes de-duping, applying uniform naming conventions and campaign IDs, and normalization of the data so that disparate units (days vs. weeks, dollars vs. euros, ZIP codes vs. DMAs) are coherent. 3. Data enrichment. Similar to adding fluoride to water, we can enrich and transform our data to make it more useful. For example, tagging metrics as awareness, engagement or outcome lets us readily assess the health of the purchase funnel. 4. Data storage. After we’ve cleansed, normalized and enriched our data, we store it in a robust and secure repository as an on-demand asset. 5. Report design. This stage doesn’t have a precise parallel in our water analogy, but think of it as being where we choose our faucet design. However, instead of choosing between chrome or nickel finish and a wide or narrow spray, we ask ourselves what marketing questions we want our dashboards and scorecards to answer. 6. Data visualization. Now we turn on the tap and clean, treated data flows into our marketing dashboards and scorecards. It’s the last stage of the process, where end users can log in, explore datasets and see the charts that deliver the real-time marketing intelligence needed to guide decisions. How is the campaign performing versus plan? Let’s create a line chart showing plan versus actual by week. Which content should we put the most paid dollars against? Let’s stack-rank all our content pieces by engagement rate. What are the most cost-effective tactics to employ? Let’s render a table that lists cost per lead by marketing channel. And dashboards offer more than just decision support for marketing teams. They’re a simple and elegant way to report marketing performance to the extended team and across the wider organization. We can see that these processes fall into two broad categories. The first four represent data management, which takes place behind the scenes. The last two represent data visualization and reporting, which is up front and visible. If we want dashboards (the data visualization layer) to give us intelligence we can trust and defend, then we must have good data management practices in place.
  7. 7. 7 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM NAIL DATA MANAGEMENT TO GET MEANINGFUL DATA VIZ Now that we have a deeper understanding of data management and data visualization—and what it takes to achieve both—we can turn to the obvious next question: What do the various marketing dashboard partners actually do? STAGE PROCESS DESCRIPTION DATAMANAGEMENT 1 DATA INTAKE Bring all marketing’s data sources together in one place. 2 DATA CLEANSING AND NORMALIZATION Filter out the junk—get rid of duplicate metrics and irrelevant data. Align disparate data by applying consistent naming conventions and a marketing-specific taxonomy. 3 DATA ENRICHMENT Apply enhanced metadata, or tagging, to further categorize data for analysis. 4 DATA STORAGE Add the cleaned, normalized, enriched data to a secure repository as an on-demand asset. DATA VISUALIZATION ANDREPORTING 5 REPORT DESIGN Determine which marketing questions dashboards and scorecards must answer. 6 DATA VISUALIZATION Render charts, dashboards and reports to share with the team and the wider organization. Just one in eight organizations have a current capability to work with big data or unstructured data in the context of their integrated marketing efforts. Source: eConsultancy
  8. 8. 8 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM PARTNERS FOR DATA MANAGEMENT AND REPORTING Dashboard partners generally fall into one of four categories, based on their functionality and scope. SPREADSHEETS EXAMPLES: MICROSOFT EXCEL, GOOGLE DOCS It’s a little odd to call a spreadsheet a partner, but we start here because despite all the technological advances over the past 10 years, simple, straightforward Excel is still the most commonly used data analysis and reporting tool. PROS: Spreadsheets are inexpensive, ubiquitous and have a number of basic formulas and chart types already built in. Designed for ultimate flexibility, they allow marketers to slice and dice data for custom views. So, many marketers limp along with spreadsheets as a default solution. CONS: Spreadsheets are terrible data-storage mechanisms. Across all channels, marketing has a lot of spend and performance data. Spreadsheet files, used for storage, get large fast. And every spreadsheet user knows that when they get big, they get brittle—they’re slow to open, formulas and macros start to break, they can’t be emailed, and truly giant spreadsheets can actually crash people’s laptops. Not what you want in a storage system. Spreadsheets are also pretty awful collaboration tools. If everyone is feeding data into a spreadsheet, there are sure to be saving errors, version control issues and all the rest. And while the formulas and macros may have been perfectly clear to the person who created them a couple years ago, for somebody new stepping into that spreadsheet it’s like trying to decipher some bizarre code. For all these reasons, spreadsheets are a poor choice for creating a trusted source of data storage, reporting and collaboration. 3
  9. 9. 9 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM GENERAL DATA VISUALIZATION AND EXPLORATION TOOLS EXAMPLES: DOMO, TABLEAU As the name implies, general data visualization tools only address the final stage of turning raw data into intelligence: data visualization and reporting. Think of them as the faucets. PROS: Data visualization tools enable analysts to explore structured datasets in interesting ways via great visuals. They’re designed for maximum flexibility in order to meet the basic needs of any number of departments, from HR to operations. For enterprises with centralized analytics functions that serve the entire organization, data viz tools are often the partner of choice. CONS: Data viz partners assume that we’re starting with a perfectly aggregated, cleaned, tagged, structured database in neat rows and columns. For marketers—who typically work with messy, disparate datasets—using a data viz partner means having to resource and manage what these tools don’t cover: data intake, cleansing, normalization, enrichment and storage. If we don’t take care of these data management pieces up front, we’ve got a “junk in, junk out” situation. Recently, some data viz partners have added basic ETL toolkits that allow a marketing team’s in-house analysts and data engineers to clean up raw data before visualization. (ETL stands for extract, transform and load—it’s a standard IT term for moving data from one system to another while transforming it in the process.) But to take advantage of these ETL toolkits, we’d need to have said analysts and data engineers at our disposal—a rarity for marketing departments. Data visualization tools aren’t designed for data storage. They aren’t attempting to create a “source of truth” for data. Instead, they typically visualize “snapshots” of data—any number of people can upload any file and render an image based on the data it contains. If the numbers conflict across datasets, the data viz tool doesn’t notice (or care). Lastly, because data viz tools are designed to serve the widest possible audience, they don’t have marketing-specific KPIs and reports built in.
  10. 10. 10 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM FULL-SERVICE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE (BI) PLATFORMS EXAMPLES: QLIK, BUSINESSOBJECTS, MICROSTRATEGY These are platforms designed to take you on an end-to-end journey from raw data to business intelligence. PROS: BI platforms provide a toolkit for performing the full gamut of data services, from intake, ETL and storage all the way through to visualization and reporting. CONS: BI platforms are designed for database architects and IT resources to use—technical specialists with advanced data manipulation skills. Implementing the ETL toolkits and data modeling functionality involves the use of scripting languages. In short, BI platforms are heavy duty, and require heavy-duty skills to operate. Because BI platforms are designed for IT—and IT is a centralized function in most companies—they have no marketing-specific features. For marketers to get value out of a BI platform, we’d need to tell IT how to build a marketing data framework from the ground up, and then provide detailed requirements for what we’d like to see in reports. Through 2016, less than 10 percent of self-service business intelligence initiatives will be governed sufficiently to prevent inconsistencies that adversely affect the business. Source: Gartner In other words, more than 90 percent of companies out there haven’t done the data cleanup required to use BI correctly—and as a result they’re making decisions that HURT the business. 10%
  11. 11. 11 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM MARKETING INTELLIGENCE (MI) SOLUTIONS EXAMPLE: BECKON Marketing intelligence partners match BI tools in scope—providing all aspects of data management as well as data visualization and reporting—but are designed specifically to serve marketing’s unique needs. PROS: MI platforms are preconfigured to handle and clean up marketing’s data sources. By relieving marketers of the burdens of data intake, cleansing, normalization, storage and enhancement, MI systems deliver very fast time to value. Unlike full-service BI solutions, which require advanced technical teams to configure and manage them, MI platforms are built for marketers to use themselves. They offer easy ways to get data in, templates for visualization and reporting based on marketing best practices, and intuitive interfaces for asking ad hoc questions of data to gain specific insight. What’s more, they can ingest and display campaign calendars, media plans, creative briefs, images, videos and other types of content critical for telling the story of marketing’s impact on the business. Although MI platforms are marketing-specific, the data can serve more than the marketing org. Good MI partners provide APIs and full data portability, allowing marketing data to be merged with other datasets or piped into other analytics tools for cross-functional analysis and reporting. CONS: In the same way that Salesforce is designed for sales and Workday is designed for HR, MI platforms are purpose-built for the marketing function— they aren’t designed to deliver performance insights for other departments.
  12. 12. 12 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM CHOOSING THE RIGHT PARTNER Armed with all the information above, you’re ready to figure out the type of dashboarding partner that works best for you. Start by considering these questions. 1. What is the current state of your data? Do you already have a system in place for taking in, cleaning, normalizing, enriching, and storing your data? A single “source of truth” for all the data that matters? Or are you starting at square one? 2. How strong is your in-house data management capability? Do you have the database engineers, analysts and data scientists needed to build out your data model from scratch and use the advanced ETL functionality certain partners require? 3. Are your intelligence needs marketing-specific? Who are your end users? A team of marketers who will use the platform themselves to make insightful optimization decisions? Or an advanced analytics team that provides reporting to marketers? 4
  13. 13. 13 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM This handy decision tree maps it all out. DECISION TREE FOR CHOOSING A MARKETING DASHBOARD PARTNER STARTHERE GOOD DATA GOVERNANCE? Do you have a clean, well-structured dataset—a single “source of truth”? MARKETING- SPECIFIC NEED? Are your end users marketers? Do you want access to reports and analytics based on marketing best practices? IN-HOUSE DATA MANAGEMENT CAPABILITY? Do you have a team of database engineers and analysts able to use ETL toolkits, build out data schema and blend datasets? MARKETING- SPECIFIC NEED? Are your end users marketers? Do you want access to reports and analytics based on marketing best practices? YES NO YES NO YES NO NO YES GENERAL DATA VISUALIZATION PARTNER Examples: Domo, Tableau MARKETING INTELLIGENCE (MI) PARTNER Example: Beckon FULL-SERVICE BI PARTNER Examples: Qlik, BusinessObjects
  14. 14. 14 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM TO SUMMARIZE, YOU SHOULD CHOOSE: • A general data visualization partner if you have great data management processes in place and no need for marketing-specific analytics or reporting. • A full-service BI partner if you have a messy data situation but a strong in-house data team who can take care of the data management functions AND you have no specific marketing need on the data visualization and reporting side. • A marketing intelligence partner if you need data cleanup, want marketing- specific analytics, dashboards and scorecards, and/or have marketers as end users. We can now revisit our table of data processes for a visual of what each partner supports out of the box—and, from a marketing perspective, the gaps you’d have to fill with other tools or teams. PICK A PARTNER WHO OFFERS THE CAPABILITIES YOU NEED OUT OF THE BOX STAGE PROCESS SPREADSHEET (Excel, Google docs) DATA VIZ (Domo, Tableau) BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE (BI) (Qlik, BusinessObjects) MARKETING INTELLIGENCE (MI) (Beckon) DATAMANAGEMENT 1 DATA INTAKE  Structured data only Structured data only  2 DATA CLEANSING AND NORMALIZATION   You, using their ETL toolkit  3 DATA ENRICHMENT   You, using their ETL toolkit  4 DATA STORAGE     DATA VISUALIZATION ANDREPORTING 5 REPORT DESIGN     6 DATA VISUALIZATION    
  15. 15. 15 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM
  16. 16. 16 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM 40 QUESTIONS TO ASK PROSPECTIVE PARTNERS As you shop for a marketing dashboard, use this list of questions to vet individual vendors. By discussing these points with your candidates in detail, you’ll end up with a complete picture of what’s required from both parties to get your new dashboards launched. ASK: 1. Can you take all the data we have, or do you have a menu of APIs we need to choose from? (If they only offer API access, be sure all the tools you use have APIs available, otherwise you will have blind spots.) 2. How do we get data into the system? Can you pull from APIs? Can we publish to a secure server, which you then pull down? Can you take spreadsheets? .CSVs? Can our team email files straight into your system? 3. Do we need to upload data in neat rows and columns, fully tagged? STAGE 1: DATA INTAKE Give the vendor a list of all your data sources— online, offline, business outcomes (sales), revenue data, and brand/equity outcomes (brand tracker or survey data). Key objective: Determine whether there are any restrictions on the types of data that can be entered into the system, and how the uploading process is accomplished. 1 0 101100 5
  17. 17. 17 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM 4. How do we know if data is in or not? Is there a confirmation process? 5. What metrics do you recommend we pull in from each of our priority data sources and channels? Can you provide us with guidance? 6. What if a data source has a value that we don’t want to pull in? Can we pull in some data but not other data from a single data source? How does that work? ASK: 7. What is our role in fundamental data cleanup? What is your role? 8. Who determines what marketing metrics and KPIs to pull in? Do we need to define our complete and final data schema from scratch when we get started with your tool, or do you have a starting point for us? 9. Can you transform messy Excel files into a structured format? 10. Who is responsible for de-duping, normalizing and reconciling variations in field names, etc., before we start looking at dashboards? 11. Can you make metadata consistent? For example, if we have varying tags such as “Southern California”, “So. Cal.” and “So_Calif” how does your system know these are the same thing? 12. If you don’t make metadata consistent for us, do you have ETL tools that allow our team of data architects and analysts to perform data transformations within your application? STAGE 2: DATA CLEANSING AND NORMALIZATION Key objective: Determine who is responsible for data cleanup and normalization, and precisely what each responsible party needs to do. 1 0 101100
  18. 18. 18 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM 13. If multiple datasets contain the same metric name but different values, how do you determine the source of truth for the metric? 14. How do you ensure that metrics have common definitions and are well understood by all users who later access the dashboards? 15. Do you maintain a glossary of all metric definitions and properties so that metrics always mean the same thing? 16. When someone is viewing a chart, will each metric’s definition and properties be readily available to users? ASK: 17. Do you offer strategic advice on best practices for using metadata to enrich our dataset? 18. How can we create aggregates of data—for example, tag all paid media mentions as “paid” for future paid and earned media analyses? How do you support adding metadata to underlying metrics? 19. How are formulas and derived metrics supported in your platform? Can we create formulas (e.g., run rate, average, rate) based on underlying metrics and KPIs in the application? Or do we need to calculate those metrics before they go into your system? STAGE 3: DATA ENRICHMENT Key objective: Determine who is responsible for data enrichment, and the specific responsibilities each party has in the process. 1 0 101100
  19. 19. 19 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM ASK: 20. Do you warehouse the data—the structured files that we upload into your system—or do you just allow us to visualize “snapshots” of our data? 21. What happens if people upload different and conflicting datasets? 22. Can we easily export all (or subsets of) historical data from your system in order to merge it with other datasets or run analyses outside your platform? 23. Do you have an API so that we can pull data out of your tool? ASK: 24. Do you offer standard reports that reflect marketing best practices? And/ or suggestions for analyses to run based on best practices? 25. Do you offer templatized reports based on marketing best practices that we can customize? 26. How user-friendly is your chart creator/querying tool? Is it designed to be used by marketers or advanced analysts? STAGE 4: DATA STORAGE Key objective: Determine how accessible your data is and who maintains ownership and control over it. STAGE 5: REPORT DESIGN Key objective: Determine the reporting capabilities, customization and training the vendor offers.
  20. 20. 20 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM 27. Do you offer flexible permissions and roles for who can see select data in reports? 28. Will we have an account manager who provides guidance on dashboard and scorecard design and trains all our users? Does our account representative have a marketing background? 29. Is training and support included in the price or does it cost extra? ASK: 30. Are your data visualization and exploration tools designed for IT professionals, data analysts or marketers? 31. Are there many chart types available? Does the system suggest chart types based on the selected data? 32. Can we visualize omnichannel datasets—data that comes from many disparate sources? 33. Will our dashboards have the ability to show us what’s happening across the buyer’s journey in terms of awareness, engagement, purchase, advocacy, etc.? 34. Do you offer drill-in and drill-down capabilities? 35. When looking at a dashboard, can we easily slice the dataset in a different way or otherwise creatively explore our data, or are we limited to viewing canned reports? 36. Are dashboards shareable, and are there varying levels of access we can grant? 37. Can we view our dashboards on web and mobile? STAGE 6: DATA VISUALIZATION Key objective: Determine how flexible the vendor’s chart options are, along with their solutions for sharing, drilling down and exporting.
  21. 21. 21 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM 38. Are we able to easily export dashboard charts and graphs into PowerPoint for other types of reporting and analysis? 39. Do you support other visuals such as scorecards? 40. Do you offer easy benchmarking such as “vs. previous period”, “vs. last year” and “vs. a target or goal”?
  22. 22. ABOUT BECKON To grow your brand, you need integrated, unbiased data and insights you can trust. You need Beckon, The Source of Truth for Marketing™. Beckon’s rock-solid data management and real-time marketing intelligence power better, faster decisions that let you do more with every marketing dollar. LET’S TALK Want to learn more? Get in touch at hello@beckon.com—we’d love to connect.

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