How to clean up with the right dashboard strategy: Turning marketing data into business insights

Mike Dickerson is the chief executive officer of ClickDimensions, a leading marketing automation solution for Microsoft Dynamics 365. Mike joined ClickDimensions from PGi, a global provider of web conferencing software and collaboration technology, where he served as executive vice president of strategy and business development. In that role, he developed partnerships with some of the biggest players in the technology industry, including Microsoft. Prior to that, he started PGi’s Global Collaboration Services division, growing it from $86 million to $240 million in revenue and serving as a trusted advisor to some of the most recognised brands around the globe.

Data and analytics are designed to drive revenue and provide the insights necessary to grow an organisation’s bottom line – guiding key decisions, identifying new customers and determining what is working and what is not. And while data has always been an important part of a business’ strategy, with the increase of digital marketing and increased multi-channel tactical execution, it is more essential than ever before.

What some businesses might not realise, however, is that capturing data is only one step in getting the insights necessary to qualify leads or customers. Merely having data, no matter how plentiful, won’t automatically turn into business insights or actionable strategies.

This concept isn’t new – after all, businesses know data and analytics are meant to pinpoint important trends and serve as a roadmap of sorts. However, many aren’t utilising their current technology or sourcing new technology to help. In fact, Forrester found that while 74% of businesses say they want to be “data-driven,” only 29% say they’re good at connecting analytics to action.

Clearly there’s a disconnect. While there are many ways to address this problem, there are two solutions businesses can employ that are exceedingly effective: data is properly prepared and leveraging marketing dashboard technology.

Ensuring data is clean and enriched

We have already established that data today is more important than ever before. Equally important, however, is ensuring that data is accurate, refreshed and actionable, because data accuracy ensures greater returns on investment and insight into what is and is not working from a customer perspective.

Data cleansing is the process of fixing or removing incorrect, corrupted, incorrectly formatted, duplicate or incomplete data within a dataset. Data enrichment is defined as merging data sources into an existing database of first-party customer data. By focusing on clean and enriched data, companies can improve their data quality, find new customers and are equipped to make more informed decisions – turning data into action.

According to a recent report, 71% of respondents rank CRM data quality as a very high priority. Data management solutions can help customers address this need by automating processes such as lead enrichment, data cleansing, and email validation to ensure that customer data is always as complete, relevant and current as possible. When paired with a marketing dashboard tool, data cleansing and enrichment tools can help pinpoint who to reach out to, when to do it, and which message will resonate the best.

Leveraging dashboard technology

Despite having access to more data than ever before, marketers today are often unable to efficiently pinpoint the specific activities that are driving revenue and make a strategic decision on how to proceed. This is due to disjointed and disconnected tools. That, coupled with manual reporting processes, stands in the way of seeing the whole picture and forming a plan that’s actionable. That’s where intelligent marketing dashboards come in.

In Gartner’s latest Market Guide for Marketing Dashboards, the research firm highlights pain points many marketers face – with obtaining deeper insights from data at the top of the list. Marketing dashboards help you track KPIs across marketing automation, CRM, web, social and advertising channels. They also help visualise data and change how that data is interpreted and acted upon. That’s the key: leveraging technology that can impact how data is interpreted and inform future decisions.

Marketing dashboard tools help marketers understand what’s working and what isn’t by providing a holistic view of sales and marketing performance across all activities – highlighting the exact activities that are driving revenue and enabling marketing teams to make decisions that drive revenue further. By consolidating where your data sources are meeting, you have the benefit of seeing what specific channels, tactics and campaigns are driving revenue and driving it most efficiently.

Your larger strategy

Ultimately, if you want marketing data to drive your larger business strategy in a meaningful way, you need to invest in the technology that makes the most sense for your organisation. However, simply investing isn’t enough – organisations need to take the next step in connecting analytics to action. Intelligent marketing dashboards that visualise data in an easy-to-digest way, and solutions designed to clean data are just two of the comprehensive tools that organisations can leverage to ensure that the overall business strategy, and its execution, is successful.

Read more: Three guiding principles for building better marketing analytics dashboards

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