Beyond Measurement: The Value of Business Intelligence

Beyond Measurement: The Value of Business Intelligence

August 2022 | Marketing Operations

Is your business struggling to report on marketing performance? Using the right analytics solution is key to getting accurate campaign results.

Designing reports is hard. Marketers often struggle to get the numbers they need. In many organisations, seemingly simple metrics around campaign ROI or lead velocity can be impossible to produce. This has real world consequences on campaign results and the overall health of the funnel.

Comprehensive analytics requires reasonably complete data on the subject of the report. Everyone understands this, but gaps in reporting coverage can lead to a loss of confidence in the marketing programs being analysed. Yet such gaps are generally a fixable problem. It just requires a joined up approach to data management.


Technology is often at the root of the problem. Poor reporting is a common concern across all Martech applications. This is true across the board, affecting the best in class applications in many categories. I've even heard complaints about the reporting capabilities of Salesforce, which many organisations use as the foundation of their pipeline reporting.

For many data analysts, the problem with built-in analytics is that they lack flexibility. Even Salesforce analytics are restricted to showing only data stored in Salesforce. It doesn't matter how easy it is to use a particular application. A CMO won't get all the numbers they need if an analytics professional can't customise the reporting to display all the views and metrics requested by the business.

Even specialist marketing analytics tools suffer from this problem. Apps such as Bizible or Terminus help with marketing attribution but can't provide a complete picture of revenue performance or the customer journey. As such, they're luxury tools for enterprise organisations with a diverse tech stack across a wide array of channels. These multi-touch attribution technologies provide an automated mechanism for collating all these marketing channels together and visualising results in accordance with a best practice multi-touch attribution framework. They remove a lot of the complexity that comes with building accurate marketing reporting at scale, but they can't answer every question posed by the business.


Ultimately, there is only one way to get a genuinely customised view of marketing outcomes across all channels. To get the right metrics, most businesses will need to build their own dashboards in a specialist business intelligence suite. It doesn't matter which BI tool your business has available, so long as there is someone comfortable with using it in your team. The leading BI platforms directly integrate with the leading marketing technologies. Tableau, Power BI or Domo are the tools I see most often in enterprise organisations, but the market for enterprise analytics is broad and competitive. There are a lot of viable options open to companies of all sizes.

Specialist BI tools provide the most flexibility in terms of visualisation. They allow every business to display the numbers in a way which makes sense to their stakeholders. Marketers are not restricted to the terminologies and metrics provided by individual applications; they can create their own. Nor are data analysts limited to a fixed range of chart types available in the typical application dashboard. They can collate unrelated sets of metrics onto a single CMO dashboard, regardless of source. Arbitrary filters and drill-down reports can then be overlayed on every view, enabling field marketers to see the detailed results for their campaigns and territories.


However, improved visualisation capabilities are not the key differentiator for specialist business intelligence tools. The magic ingredient is in their data manipulation capabilities. The most important job of a data analyst is not actually presenting the final numbers. It's manipulating the various data sources together into a format that can be shown in a single set of reports. This is what takes the time when designing a new dashboard. BI tools are designed to be combined with a dedicated data repository. This data repository extracts data from across the martech stack, transforms it into a unified data set, and loads it into the final dashboard for presentation to the business.

The value of a BI application stack is measured in this Extract Transform Load (ETL) process rather than its presentation capabilities. Some, such as Domo, have ETL built-in, while others should be combined with a dedicated data warehouse. Integrated or not, it's this data repository which is delivering the capabilities that application-level reporting cannot. Not even Salesforce's best-in-class reporting capabilities can match the flexibility this solution provides. It's the only way to bridge the individual data silos in your tech stack and present an end-to-end overview of overall marketing performance at every level. Finding a data analyst with the skills to deliver this capability is the hard part.

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Written by
Marketing Operations Consultant and Solutions Architect at CRMT Digital specialising in marketing technology architecture. Advisor on marketing effectiveness and martech optimisation.