As the father of exploratory data analysis John Tukey once said, "The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see."

That quote rings true in many aspects of business life, and especially within marketing operations. The technical, disciplined, and process-driven approach that marketing analysts attempt to drive into the marketing organization can clash with the more creative, right-brained mode of thinking that's so important to fundamental marketing.

Enter data visualization.

Although core data visualization techniques and concepts have been around for a while, and they have been preached by the likes of Yale professor Edward Tufte since the early 1990s, the Internet, Big Data, and changes in consumer behavior have made understanding and communicating quantitative insights in a timely manner a critical skill for marketers. Accordingly, data visualization is a truly fundamental new lesson to be taught in Marketing 101. (And, hopefully, you aren't sick that day, because this content will be on the test!)

Experts have written about how to portray data effectively, by using simple and informed graphs to reveal the story behind the data. This article focuses on how to apply data visualization techniques in marketing operations to make a real impact.

Data Quality Assessments

The old saying that people are a company's most important asset may no longer ring quite as true, especially within Marketing.

Matching a company's products and services to the people who need and want them requires excellent customer and prospect data. Often, marketing operations assumes responsibility for the cleansing and maintenance of that asset. Therefore, effectively communicating the strengths and weaknesses of that data to the marketing team is critical during campaign planning and measurement activities.

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image of Vince Stuntebeck

Vince Stuntebeck leads a business intelligence and analytics team at Hewlett-Packard. He has over 12 years of experience in analytics across multiple industries. Reach him via

LinkedIn: Vince Stuntebeck


image of Trevor Jones

Trevor Jones is president of Hoopla Systems and a senior associate with Taligent Consulting, in Ottawa, Canada. He has spent 20 years helping clients harness technology and information to better understand their customers. Reach him via

LinkedIn: Trevor Jones