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The Problem With Marketing Dashboards: Pure Data Visualization Is Rarely Successful

by Alexander Skorka  |  
March 14, 2016
  |  5,234 views

The success or failure of a dashboard is closely linked to data visualization: Focus on users and their tasks, and you're likely to succeed; focus purely on data visualization, and you'll fail.

That's because tailoring your dashboard to user needs transforms ideas into action, and data visualization into visual management support.

So what specific measures can you take to ensure such success?

Consider the following three questions and then take the action steps described if the answers to them are "no."

1. Is the provided information relevant to users, and do they have the tools to influence them?


Consider your daily commute to work. If you driving, you use the most popular dashboard of all—the car's dashboard. Thankfully (for purposes of this article), that dashboard is a perfect example of a badly designed one—because designers were primarily concerned with pure data visualization.

Now consider your commute home from work. You can compare that journey to reaching your organization's goals. You want to achieve your goal quickly and in a cost-effective way (effectiveness and efficiency). You are a considerate driver, you observe the rules of the road, and you try to minimize the risk of errors. To reach your goal successfully, you need data related to your goal and your driving habits.

Now let's take a closer look at your car's dashboard (figure 1). From left to right there is a display for engine temperature, RPM, current speed, fuel level, and, below the tachometer, the total number of miles driven over the life of your car.


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Alexander Skorka is COO of Dapresy, a global provider of market intelligence and insight software to marketers.

LinkedIn: Alexander Skorka

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  • by Audrey D. Sun Feb 5, 2017 via web

    I think this article is extremely interesting because it criticizes and challenges a very common and well-respected form of measuring and analyzing marketing strategy. Most companies have a visual marketing dashboard which consists of several graphs, charts, and numbers that illustrate the performance of the company. However, this article is saying how those visual dashboards are completely pointless unless its measuring things that you have the tools to change and affect. The charts and categories of the graphs plays a huge roll in the success of your marketing because if you're only looking at graphs that rarely change or you do not even have the tools to have an effect on them, they are a waste. The best kind of dashboards are ones that focus on operational data, such as customer feedback, because that is measured everyday. If speed, quality, cleanliness, ect. are issues and showing up on your customer feedback, that is something that you have the tools to improve and make changes that directly affect the company. I find this article to be super useful because it challenges the widely accepted tool of dashboards. All good marketers should never settle for average, but rather question the tools they are using and work to find more accurate and effective ways of measuring marketing data. I think the traditional dashboard is leaving out important information and should be revamped to provide a more well-rounded collection of measurable data that can help improve a company.

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