Marketing Data versus Information: My Challenge to You.

This Marketer’s Looking For Answers. Can You Help?

(This post was first published on Linked in, February 2016)

As a marketer, I’ve spent countless hours wrestling with Data to provide my stakeholders with Information. It’s a challenge that will never go away, for anyone who works in a role where things are routinely measured. Can you honestly say that you don’t face this challenge yourself? If not, you’re lucky and you can move on with your day. Don’t let me keep you!

Marketing Data versus Information - Phill Connell

Marketing Data versus Information – Phill Connell

Combining Multiple Data Sources Into One Report

When showing useful information about Marketing KPIs or performance to people who are interested, single Data sources are usually ok. On-board reporting tools from CRM systems like Salesforce (or another) are powerful and incredibly useful. Email delivery systems; webinar platforms; even social media tools all possess good on-board reporting. But what about combining these into one Marketing Dashboard which shows your true Marketing-to-Lead-to-Order supply chain?

Excel, the dreaded Reporting Tool Of Last Resort, can be a wonderful thing. But not very often. I’ve tried that. It’s just so fickle. It’s not good for delivering repeatable, structured, sustainable reporting. Solve your problems in Excel, hand them to someone else and watch them break your spreadsheet. It just doesn’t work.

Then just try to slice & dice the Data into a different view. Got a nice view by campaign? Great, someone will ask for the same Data by the date leads were received. Bah! It’s not them, it’s you – or rather it’s your half-arsed report.

So, What Should I Do?

I need to combine data from multiple marketing channels into a single Marketing Dashboard. I’ve got a combined email and landing page platform, a webinar platform, tracked shortened urls to tell the sources of traffic to my landing pages, and common campaign names across these platforms to enable me to join the data. I need to be able to slice & dice my Data into different Informative views: by date; by campaign; by geography; by Sales team…

Here’s your challenge: Just tell me what I should use. I’m leaning towards Tableau as a visualisation tool but only because I know my organisation already uses it elsewhere. As far as organising the basic Data goes, I could probably do it in Excel or Google Sheets using regular updates from my channel platforms. At least that gives me flat files to report from. Maybe in future I could move to real-time APIs, we can talk about that later. But I need the flat data sheets to combine into a repeatable, consistent, shareable format which makes sense and helps to tell our story of Marketing Excellence in a compelling way. That’s where you come in…

Can You Help?

Have you solved this conundrum in your organisation? Do you use a great Marketing Dashboard already? Did you find something off the peg or build it from the ground up?

If you’ve got a good idea, tell me about it. I’m all ears. My stakeholders will be eternally grateful, but not as grateful as I will be. Comment here or get in touch via LinkedIn, I’d love to hear from you.

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