June 2008 - Channel Crossing: Online

Finding the Right Dashboard Partner

By Alan Osetek

Marketing success lies in understanding the relationship between marketing channels. Somewhere in your media ad serving, Google reports, website tracking tools and customer transactional databases, you have all the data points you need. But how do you unlock the knowledge in this data? The answer: find the right marketing campaign dashboard partner.

Dashboards have recently seen a resurgence in the market, especially from a marketer’s perspective. As marketing strategies span channels, the abundance of data creates the need to integrate and visualize it quickly and efficiently. Dashboards provide an effective vehicle for tracking actual versus planned performance metrics.

Selecting, implementing and managing a marketing dashboard partner can seem a daunting task for even the most experienced marketer. However, when done well, it can help you get the most out of your marketing dollars. Here are some tips for picking the right dashboard partner for your organization:

  • Dashboard user interface. Is the dashboard user interface easily understood? When speaking with the vendor, ask for a demo of the product instead of screenshots or other marketing materials. Does the interface provide the end user with the capability to manipulate the data with filters? Are there drag-and-drop capabilities? Does it have the ability to provide strategic insights versus only operational data?

  • High-level product features. Does the solution have advanced features such as the ability to accomplish cookie-based attribution analysis of multiple media channels? Can you store historical media and customer data? How sophisticated are the analytics capabilities?

  • Data collection capabilities. Can the product integrate outside services such as third-party ad servers (Doubleclick), search data (Google, Yahoo) and data from traditional media efforts? Can it integrate with backend website analytics tools? What level of automation is in place? Ask the vendor for a list of all the types of digital and offline data sources they have integrated. Do they have the ability to accept e-mails, FTP-site collection, screen scrapes or other, more manually oriented data collection mechanisms? Lastly, what is the QA and exception reporting process?

  • Reporting. The ability to provide both ad-hoc and pre-formatted reports is crucial. Can you do actual vs. buy vs. plan reports? Is trending analysis possible? Can you set up e-mail alerts for reporting anomalies?

  • Professional services support. Does the vendor have a professional services group to help implement the dashboarding system, consult on best practices and provide insight over time?

While this only scratches the surface of a more comprehensive list, it is a good start to get you thinking critically about your own marketing dashboarding needs and vendor selection.

Alan Osetek is EVP of Visual IQ, a leading provider of on-demand marketing intelligence managed services based in Waltham, Mass. He can be reached at (617) 663-5719.


No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment