One of the most important aspects of reporting is the ability to see and analyze an aggregated view of your marketing data across all channels. With the continually expanding marketing mix, it can be easy for your data, and therefore your marketing teams, to become siloed. This approach can often obscure the bigger picture and result in a reactionary “fire-drill” environment as opposed to a proactive, strategic and data-driven management style.
With this in mind, it’s essential to unite your marketing data across all channels for an aggregated “Topline” view that can then be filtered by channel, different slices of time, regions, products, vendors, campaigns, etc.
Research and Identify Your Reporting Solution
The first step to uniting your marketing data is to find the right tool to use for your cross-channel marketing performance solution. This main source of the truth must work with all of your marketing channels and should bring together your data from all channels such as search, display, social, CRM, offline sources, etc. In order to effectively manage a cross-channel marketing campaign, your solution must be cross-channel, as well. Fortunately, there are many possible tools and solutions in the marketplace such as Datorama, Tableau, MicroStrategy, Domo, etc. that can be used for this purpose.
While researching the best tool/solution for your organization, keep in mind your actual data sources/vendors and how you plan to retrieve this data and how often. Most of the BI tools on the market today can connect to APIs or scheduled reports, so you should find the tool that most aligns with your data sources and needs. The goal is to make the data collection process as efficient and automated as possible while allowing flexibility to scale as strategies, campaigns, vendors, etc. change and evolve over time.
Work Your Way Backwards
Now that you’ve selected our reporting tool/solution, you’re almost ready to begin creating the dashboard, but first need to put together a “mock-up” of the dashboard layout and data you’d like to present. This will make your life much easier when building the dashboard and allow you to focus on the data accuracy as opposed to the presentation of the data. I prefer doing mine the old-fashioned way with pen and paper, but you can also use Excel or a tool like SnagIt for more specific mock-ups.
Build Your Dashboard
Once you’ve selected your reporting solution, brought in the raw data from each of your data sources and created your mock-up, you’re now ready to create a cross-channel executive dashboard. This view should provide a topline “snapshot” of your most important KPIs and how they’re performing relative to your target goals in the current period.
To increase the value of the dashboard, I recommend including filters that will allow you to segment this topline data by channel, engine, device, etc. Just be sure that there’s a common key across data sources so the data segments properly.
Make Your Data Work for You
While it’s great to have these powerful reports and dashboards available at your fingertips each day, sometimes you don’t always get a chance to look or catch everything. Your cross-channel marketing performance solution should alert you when something significant (good or bad) happens. You should be able to define low and high thresholds and have the software let you know when you cross them – work with your marketing teams to determine these thresholds and set up automated alerts to direct their attention to any potential issues before they escalate.
Now that you have your beautiful dashboard and automated solutions, you may think your work is done. If only it was that easy. In the world of marketing, we know there’s constant change, which will cause the way you analyze your data to change. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open between your marketing and analytics teams as things change to ensure everyone is on the same page. There’s no value in data-driven decision making if the data you’re providing isn’t relevant and accurate.