Companies have entered an age where juggling multiple channels is no longer an advantage, but a necessity. With both online and offline contact channels competing for attention, brands must be able to collect consumer information, analyze the cross-channel correlations, and cater to the customers' preferences no matter how they choose to connect. Yet, while the multichannel approach has become an integral part of many marketing strategies across industries, the model dashboard can be rather elusive. While the ideal dashboard permits companies to observe how customers are interacting with their brands in real time, viewing all such data in a single portal so they can respond quickly and effectively, many fail to comprehend which facets are essential when developing and implementing an optimal analytical strategy.
Not long ago, businesses had little opportunity to gather numerous layers of customer data at any given time. These companies were unable to view data at the granular level to extract meaning and assess engagement influencers across the touchpoints of the time. Data capture and tracking rarely monitored the entire lifecycle of the customer interaction. But, as technology evolved, the dashboard became one of siloed information, with data filtering into the company, but not flowing through the entire organization.
"Between the different channels and the silos, each department may be looking at its own metrics, but they see no correlation with others throughout the business," says Yoav Demak, CEO of Colabo. "Companies must make sure all areas of the company are looking at the same thing."
Today's emerging customer consoles offer businesses a window into their enterprisewide performance and how each touchpoint impacts the brand's bottom line. But, much to the chagrin of those looking to implement such tools, there's no universal dashboard that fits each individual company's needs. Though daunting and potentially difficult to conceive, every business must establish and define its own analytical dashboard as it pertains to its individual goals.
According to Cliff Dobbyn, director of marketing strategy at Quaero, companies must undergo a fundamental and cultural shift across the entire organization, building and supporting these multichannel dashboards to include data standardization, metrics definition, process and infrastructure enablement, integration considerations, and stakeholder alignment. "It provides a unique perspective of the true impact of the entire customer engagement lifecycle, from quantitative and qualitative insights, online and offline attribution, and multi-functional, multi-dimensional metrics of success," he said.
Before brands were able to monitor each channel's value, many invested in new technologies without much knowledge of how these tools could enhance their current business and further their goals. With marketing automation and database solutions galore, many companies aren't sure where to start. Dobbyn suggests that the ideal channels for companies across industries should include all engagement touchpoints, online and off, that have a measurable and meaningful impact on the end business result. Many companies may be searching for clear and concise guides on how to determine which channels are right for their business, but these measurables are different in each scenario depending on the brand's goals, business model, industry, customer base, and success metrics. Instead, companies must plan their goal alignment based upon engagement channel volume and frequency, and infrastructure capabilities by starting simple. Standardized definitions that are uniform and encompass the entire enterprise will allow the company to evaluate results, validate if the data they're collecting tells a compelling story, and evolve as necessary to further develop and improve.
"Do not over-architect the design of the dashboard," Dobbyn notes. "It is fairly easy to get carried away with the design given the sea of data available and the multiple ways of viewing it. Avoid information overload, focusing on the wrong metrics, and added operational complexities with ongoing dashboard development."
As Demak highlights, every channel requires equal representation. Otherwise, companies risk creating a dashboard that's dominated by one channel. Brands should also look toward data they are already familiar with before hunting down the "ideal metric" for their goals. Look to what people are already looking at-which tabs are currently open-for insight into which numbers should be included in the dashboard. However, every business must allow for room to change and evolve, as what they initially choose to measure inevitably may not be right for the organization.
We're All in This Together
Solidarity remains the one crucial factor essential for multichannel dashboard success. Regardless of the metrics agreed upon, the entire organization must come together as a team to decide what channels are significant and how they are going to measure each one. The multichannel dashboard offers companies a complete view of their business ecosystem so they may evaluate the effectiveness and criticality of every touchpoint, but they must do so in a way that allows them to attribute performance across the entire organization in a fair and equitable manner.
Understanding where to start and engaging cross-functional team participation begins by aligning and adopting enterprisewide definitions (i.e. data metrics, customer definition, lifecycle definition), according to Dobbyn. Every department across the organization must be on the same page and looking at the same information in order for the multichannel dashboard to succeed. Each channel, interaction, and metric has the potential to boost business performance and drive the brand's underlying goals into the future, but the employees are the ones behind the wheel. No matter the bumps in the road ahead, making sure everyone across the enterprise understands and supports the established goals and metrics will ensure the greatest potential path to success.