The importance of a unified dashboard. How would you present data to your customer?

Fragmentation of media across all digital disciplines such as search, social, display and video has been changing the way to promote products and services for many years now.

Therefore, companies have been used to view, purchase and manage their media budgets separately, most of the time creating destructive barriers that can loom between functions in a company.

These barriers come with the name of silos, which can be particularly damaging, especially if departments in a company operate like in a vacuum, setting up objectives and performances without taking in consideration the general vision or what the closest department is doing.

From marketing perspective, this would complicate reporting too, as each department want its own report with data to read.

Data can be harmful when in the wrong hand

However, data can be dangerous, especially when in the wrong hand. This is because data need to be interpreted to be useful.

Having a gribble graph that no one can understand, with some numbers can seriously compromise the customer expectations if data are not accompanied by an explanation.

For these reasons the general response is to consolidate the different disciplines’ output in a common report that can provide a snapshot and a general sense of the campaign. This will help marketing companies to take informative decisions. On the other side, customers will be provided with a snapshot and a general sense of what is happening on an account.

This sounds easier when a digital agency covers all the different disciplines, but this is quite rare and the majority of the agencies are disconnected. So how much feasible is having a common report?

How the market offer is evolving?

Yesterday, I’ve spent the afternoon at the “One search seminar” organized by Search Metrics and Omniture at the Soho Hotel in London, which went to far beyond my expectations, and it has turned into a “commercial proposition” rather than in concrete solutions for marketers. Perhaps my fault, as I was probably expecting something different from the session.

Anyway, the only useful part of the conference has been the introductory piece by Jeremy Spiller on the importance to have a common dashboard to present data to the stakeholders, which I absolutely agree.

Unified dashboard: a common necessity

Having a common dashboard is particularly useful for disciplines like SEO and PPC, which operate on the same playground at the same time (in most circumstances).

It could be true even for display and SEO, as display advertising has a greatest influence on searchers, but in which way would that be possible to blend all this data?

How would that be possible to measure at which level these disciplines have influenced the customer journey?

Unfortunately, there is no one real solution and even the synergy between Search Metrics and Omniture in my opinion is not good enough.

What do you do for your customer?

Therefore, I would like to turn this post into a collaborative blog, and listen to your opinion. Given the aforementioned scenario, how would you approach the problem? Which tools would you use?

As your customer base grows, it is imperative that the level of service provided moves on the same direction. Customers need to be challenged and provided with new options before they ask for them.

So let’s compare our ideas!