Numbers don’t lie. Data doesn’t lie. But people are known for stretching the truth. That’s why you need a data dashboard.
Author Hugh Barker released a fascinating book called “Lying Numbers” in early 2022. In it, he explains that whoever controls the numbers controls the messaging. As you might imagine, the messaging is usually subjective and twisted to benefit the messenger. No real analysis goes on. It’s more art than science.
This type of data manipulation happens regularly in companies that don’t use data dashboards. An agency or marketer creates reports each month to distribute to higher-ups. However, the KPIs and goals reflected in the reports change each month. Why? The creator chooses only the numbers that tell a positive story. One month, it’s the click-through rate. The next month, it’s traffic and leads. The numbers aren’t made-up, but they are manipulated. Plus, they have no impact on what’s happening in the business.
When CEOs and marketing directors get these reports, they feel like their dollars are working hard. After all, isn’t that what the reports are telling them? They don’t realize that what they’re seeing has little to no bearing on any business growth they might have seen.
With a real-time, constantly updated data dashboard, the KPIs and goals never change. Only the dates do. As a result, the interpretations from the data dashboard are consistent and reflect what’s actually happening. The picture might not always be pretty, but at least it’s accurate, which is essential for making smarter business and marketing decisions.
Embracing the Digital Marketing Dashboard
Why don’t more companies have a digital marketing dashboard if it’s such a critical tool? The problem is in the historical difficulties of data dashboards. When data dashboards first hit the market, they required expensive, enterprise-level software. Additionally, they weren’t easy to set up and maintain. Organizations had to establish the infrastructure and pay someone to manage the dashboards.
With the rise of digital disruptions and newer technologies, many platforms have emerged that are easier to work with for average-sized companies. Think Geckoboard and Google Data Studio. However, they’re still hard to set up for people without training. Trying to integrate all the connectors and plugins can be overwhelming.
This is why Ezzey’s data dashboard “aha!” moment came about. Our team had a hypothesis: What if we could install one line of code and give clients a data dashboard enabled by Google AI and enhanced e-commerce? What if we could simplify everything? It would be an enormous value add, so we decided to make it happen.
When we work with clients, we offer our data dashboard. We get all the disparate data meshing together so everyone can take advantage of digital marketing dashboards. The result is an honest depiction of boots-on-the-ground marketing outcomes. No manipulation necessary.
If you’re interested in learning more about data dashboards and their inherent benefits, start with the following essential facts to remember:
1. You have to agree on KPI metrics upfront.
To get the most from your data dashboard and reports, you must select the KPIs that matter most and keep evaluating them. You can’t change your KPIs on a whim, and you can’t pick some and not others. The only way you can change a KPI is with a formal change order from someone with the power to make a significant marketing call.
Setting KPIs from the beginning ensures you’re constantly comparing apples to apples. As long as your metrics data is coming from validated third-party sources, you’re golden.
2. You need an internal data dashboard champion.
Without an internal leader saying, “We’re moving to a data dashboard so we can have world-class executive-level reports,” you’ll have trouble getting buy-in. Fortunately, your champion can come from anywhere. Sometimes, it’ll be your CEO, especially if your leader appreciates how watching a data dashboard can mimic the thrills of watching the stock market tickers move in real time. Other times, your internal champion might be a marketing director or other team member privy to the truth, trust, and transparency.
What can happen if you lack a champion? Unfortunately, many people will purposely launch roadblocks when you start talking about initiating a data dashboard. You need to have someone else justify its existence. Otherwise, you’ll never be able to uncover everything you need to know — and currently aren’t being told because your reports are embellished.
3. You should use your data dashboard to guide your “why” and “when.”
Everyone knows they should run ads, create content, and update their SEO strategies. They don’t always know why or when, though. With a lean canvas and a data dashboard, you’ll be able to figure out why you’re trying to move the needle on specific KPIs and when to deploy certain marketing campaigns.
In time, you’ll find that you can leverage your data dashboard to help in many different ways. You’ll be able to not only come up with core underlying assumptions, but also validate those assumptions. However, you have to be willing to go all in to increase your likelihood of success. You can’t just use your data dashboard sometimes. If you want to stop repeating the same patterns, you must do something different that makes sense.
The bottom line on data dashboards is simple: If you’re not investing in them, you can be sure your competitors are. And they’ll be happy to put you out of business. So stop taking shots in the dark based on reports that don’t tell the whole story and invest in a data dashboard now rather than later.
The Ezzey team is ready to help you with your data dashboard efforts. Contact us today to learn more about how the right tools and methodologies can ramp up your marketing returns.