What's Next for Marketing Dashboards?

Gartner 11 Jun 2019 08:27

As a practitioner, I hated the first week of the month. It meant I had to lead my team of smart, capable marketing analysts through a neverending, difficult slog known as… REPORTING WEEK.

Ah, yes. If you’ve served marketing analytics in any capacity, you’ll know what I mean. The whole first week (or weeks) of the month were spent getting your team to organize data, jockey it into spreadsheets, do some quality control on it, deliver it to stakeholders, have your stakeholders tell you it’s missing some data and that they don’t trust your report, redoing your report, and then finally dropping it into PPT for a presentation just in time for next month’s Reporting Week to begin again.

It was terrible, miserable, and a sub-optimal use of resources.

That’s why I made marketing dashboard technology the first thing I tackled when I joined Gartner. I knew how challenging it was to organize marketing data and find a solution to help alleviate the pain of reporting. In fact, in our 2018 Marketing Data & Analytics Survey, we discovered that fifty-two percent of marketing analytics leaders said that data management activities were among the top three that consume most of their team’s time.

Marketing dashboard technology is table stakes, now more than ever. We’ve been telling clients for awhile that automating your reporting is key to achieving success, and with the availability of these solutions within integrated product suites, solving for data management and visualization issues is more accessible than ever. Still, these insights won’t take you all the way. I often find that problems uncovered my marketing analytics teams often go deeper than just being a marketing problem – they’re issues within multiple business units or the company as a whole.

Still, it remains to be seen how well these solutions will be incorporated into integrated marketing clouds, and whether marketers will be able to address foundational issues in data management. Marketers should continue to be a little bit wary of lofty promises around automating “old-school” approaches to data management and delivery. Tech will help you get there, but think about it: you’re asking tech to integrate these dashboard solutions into their product stacks effectively, solve for complex data management issues within their products (and across others in a marketers’ tech stack), automate insight generation, and provide a final-mile vehicle for executing on recommendations. It’s not that this isn’t possible, but realistically, it’s just not that good. Yet.

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