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Five Marketing Data Visualizations That Make You Smarter

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John Fildes provides marketing and leadership insights on what you should know and how to apply it in your organization. Tips provide cause and effect insight so you clearly understand the reward for your investment. It's consumable in less than 3 minutes and immediately actionable.

Five Marketing Data Visualizations That Make You Smarter

John Fildes

Leverage these select marketing data visualizations to improve marketing effectiveness

Turning marketing data into a visual is a great way to simplify data analysis. Instead of comparing numbers against numbers, data visualization enables you to see and understand situations that weren't possible using numbers alone.

Data visualization can be used for just about any type of data analysis, although a few different situations are especially valuable. By using data visualization in these instances you're able to clearly see and assess key levers of marketing success that would not be apparent with raw data.

Creating these select data visualizations is simple and the insights you’ll gain from them will make you an incredibly smarter marketer. Additionally, updating these visualizations across time will enable you to monitor changes and optimize your marketing strategy in response to what you’re seeing and what's working well.

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Content Interactions Trending Line Chart

Line charts are a great way to visualize, understand, or predict content trends over time.

Monitoring increases and decreases in content interactions enables you to know what content is engaging people and what content isn't. You can also better assess the impact of your promotions, as well as connect specific drives of success to the increased customer engagement you see developing.

When downward trends occur, and the impact of content promotion diminishes, you can easily see when it's time to refresh or retire your content. Viewing content trends in aggregate and per content piece enables you to zoom in and zoom out to better analyze performance. You can even compare content versus each other to analyze what’s resonating most from within your total content mix.

Customer Interactions by Channel Pie Chart

It’s important to know what channels your customers prefer to engage. Knowing this information enables you to better plan your channel mix and guides you to allocate funding around the channels that are most effective.

Classic pie charts are a great way to visualize channel performance in a comparative view. Including both actual customer interactions and percentage numbers in your chart enables you better understanding what channels are most preferred and by exactly how much when compared against other channels in your marketing channel mix.

Zoomed in and zoomed out assessment works well here too. Using a zoomed out view lets you better understand your channel mix at a high level, while using a zoomed in view for a specific person or company enables you to better shape and optimize your channel mix around named customer targets and organizations.

Customer Engagement By Topic Bubble Chart

Bubble charts are less frequently used by executives and therefore provide a fun way to show information in a highly engaging format. Beyond being fun they’re easy to digest so executives quickly focus on discussing what they see and don’t get sidetracked trying to understand how to interpret the visualization.

Using bubble charts to visualize customer engagement by topic is especially impactful. Using this visual helps you better assess the impact of your editorial mix and gain clarity into what topics customers find most relevant; especially when compared against other topics within your editorial mix.

Assessing your customer bubble chart in combination with your customer interactions pie chart enables you to connect the right topic to the right channel. As you evolve your use, you can again zoom in and do the same for individual people and companies to make your marketing even more personalized and effective.

Click Versus Cost Circles

Overlapping circles help you effectively visualize cost versus return on marketing investment. 

Your inside circle should include the total cost you've invested in a specific marketing channel. Your outside circle should include the total clicks you generated as a result of your investment. By stacking them over each other, you quickly gain a good understanding of what you’ve invested versus what you’ve received in return.

Creating a set of overlapping circles per channel, and placing each set of circles next to each other on a horizontal plane so you can compare them against each other, enables you to assess what channels deliver the best return on your investment. You can then shift budget to invest more heavily in the channels providing the greatest return, increasing your return on investment.

Just be cautious not to over correct too heavily. It’s natural for a 1:1 channel such as email to deliver fewer clicks for your dollar when compared to a channel such as Twitter. While the numbers are lower for a channel like email, named customer interactions are typically more valuable than unnamed. Therefore, you’ll also want to keep a quality versus quantity filter in mind to help you better balance your investment across channels.

Competitor Assessment Heat Map

Competitor assessment heat maps are one of my favorite data visualizations and are super simple to create. The best part of competitor assessment heat maps is that you don't need data to complete them. You can include data in them if desired, but it is not required.

To create one simply select the competitors you want to assess and enter their names vertically across a table. Then select what criteria you'd like to assess them on and enter each horizontally across the top of your table. For example, you may want to assess the quality of competitor’s marketing channels. In this instance you'd enter the name of each channel across the columns in your table.

Once your table is setup to your liking, use simple red, yellow, and green color coding to fill in the cells. If you're feeling especially ambitious, you can scale a single color to represent 1-5 or 1-10 as gradients. Most important is to make creating your table simple. That includes how much time you spend deciding the right color value per cell. It's better to use a good enough approach than to invest significant time scrutinizing what color value to enter in each cell.

In Summation

There you go. I hope you're feeling smarter already. It's really that simple to create and use these data visualizations for your decision making. The best way to get started is to create one or two that would provide the most immediate value and continue to create others as need and time allows.

Use them often and share them broadly with others on your team. They will instantly make you and your team smarter and your marketing efforts more effective.

Ask Yourself These Questions

  1. Which of these data visualizations would be most valuable?
  2. Which ones am I able to create today without a lot of work?
  3. Which ones do I need additional data or resources to create?
  4. How will I obtain the data and resources required?
  5. How often should I refresh each to maximize its value?

About John Fildes

I grow the bottom line by connecting marketing to business strategy. By leveraging powerful positioning, content marketing, and client insights, I help CEOs drive qualitative and quantitative results at scale.

I've built an amazing network of incredibly talented people over the years. What I've appreciated most is those who have invested in me, mentored me, and helped me become the talented professional I am today. I pay it forward by doing the same for other high performing professionals and entrepreneurs.

Learn More: Marketing Leader | Experienced Entrepreneur | Trusted Mentor

All views are my own and not those of my current or prior employers.

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