5 Questions to Ask Before Buying that ‘Sexy’ New Marketing Dashboard

Marketing analytics dashboard
Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Have you been following the latest innovation from tech-based home fitness company Peloton? Whether you’ve seen their ads or have actually taken a test ride at one of their pop-up locations, it’s hard not to be attracted by the incredible design and best-in-class reviews. In fact, Peloton recently became America’s most popular exercise-bike company, passing SoulCycle for the honor in late 2018.

Simply put, Peloton is the “sexiest” exercise product on the market today.

Question: What if you’re not using that Peloton product, and it’s collecting dust? Does it help you lose weight? Does it force you to workout 4+ times a week to actually see the results or goals that you set before purchasing the product?

We all know the answer: No.

As a leader of our partnerships team at InfoTrust (an independent analytics consulting organization) and with over 15 years of experience in the digital media/analytics space, I continue to see innovative new marketing tools and dashboards come and go at organizations that fail to implement a true strategy behind the “sexiness” of the tools.  

Next time you’re considering a dashboarding project or any trending digital tool in the marketplace, make sure to ask yourself and your team the following five questions. Doing so will confirm whether the purchase is the right move for your organization—or if the dashboard will be collecting dust 3 months from now.

1. What is the value to my organization?

A dashboard to make yourself look good for leadership is great, but what value is it driving for your organization? Consider the following:

  • How can you use this investment to help your team be smarter/faster about making decisions?
  • Is the dashboard simplified and accurately tied to your organization’s business objectives/questions?
  • Does it help you understand true performance that’s tied to revenue?
  • Can you quantify the ROI within the first 6 months?  

It’s easy to bring on new tools when business is going well, but how do you make sure the tool is effective and actionable when the business is having a “down quarter”? Leadership teams love slick reporting and summaries unless those slick reports show disappointing results.

Consider our Peloton example again: If I’m buying a Peloton for $2,500 up front, plus a $40 monthly subscription, how many times do I have to ride it to seek a return on investment?

2.Who will be managing the new tool?

In the analytics space, dashboards tend to migrate many siloed pieces of data into one central location. This can be very impactful and allow teams to make efficient business decisions.

That said, there must be at least one owner, and you should always factor in on-going maintenance or updates. Most organizations are constantly adding new data streams, and connections can break, especially in a large organization. One of InfoTrust’s partners is a large player in the beauty space; our team was able to drive incredible impact during the holiday season by setting up a dashboard using BigQuery. This allowed the partner’s marketing team to understand their revenue forecast on an hour-by-hour basis, enabling them to make updates to their marketing spend in real-time to drive incredible ROI and impact to their bottom-line.

3. Is there already a system, tool, or partner serving this purpose in place?

On average, major companies have 15 marketing partners across their organization. That’s 15 different contracts, stakeholders, and lines of communication. Why add another partner if you can get the same report/data from an existing partner that solves your overall goals as an organization?  You may have worked with this organization at your past job, or their tool is really sexy, but is it necessary at this time? Can you wait until the new fiscal year and replace a partner(s) instead of adding more complexity across your organization?

4. Is the data high-quality?

What if you bought a Peloton and found out the actual performance results of your workout on the screen were inaccurate?  I would not be happy if I thought my hour-long ride burned 1,000 calories when, in reality, it was only 250. That’s the difference between having a KIND bar versus a full steak for dinner.

Unfortunately, I see this type of activity too often in the digital media space. “A dashboard that can show me end-to-end measurement across all media channels? Wow! Where do I sign?”

In reality, most of us could start a company out of our garage tomorrow and have a contract UX designer put together a really slick UI. You could even partner with a company and put together an estimated sales forecast. These features don’t necessarily mean the data is quality or accurate. Before buying the sexy, make sure the data and experience of the organization is properly vetted.

5. Can you scale across the organization?

Does it make sense to have an individual tool for marketing, sales, and operations? Instead, push for tools that will benefit the entire organization. Always ask another department to evaluate a potential tool before signing on the dotted line. The one person at the company who signs for this partnership may leave the company tomorrow, so ensure it provides value across the organization. If my wife and I both use my Peloton, it’s a much better investment than if I am the sole user. Find ways to make the decision process easy by demonstrating how all parties benefit and the organization grows as a result of the partnership.

Decision Time

Should you buy that sexy new marketing tool or dashboard for your organization?  In asking yourself these five questions, your decision will become much clearer and ultimately, your organization will benefit.

If you’d like to learn more about selecting the right dashboard, marketing tool, or partner for your organization, contact InfoTrust now.

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Originally Published: April 10, 2019

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November 29, 2023
Originally published on April 10, 2019

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