Marketing Dashboards: A canvas for storytelling

Dashboard-Hero-1As bona fide data visualization and reporting geeks, we’ve always thought of data as raw material for stories. So when we set out to redesign Beckon [Dashboard], we asked ourselves every step of the way, “How will this update or that new feature help our customers tell amazing stories that demonstrate their contribution to the business?”

One of our big inspirations was the agency point of view. (Many of us have agency backgrounds, and we’re also constantly collaborating with the agencies that serve Beckon customers.) Agencies live and die by their ability to weave great stories around the campaigns they develop, by how well they pitch their services, and by virtue of the reports they deliver. Even when data is the centerpiece of a report, it’s often the context and attention to detail that separate the exceptionally great from the merely good (and we’ve all seen some really beautiful agency reports).

Having put on our agency hats, one of the first thoughts that sprang to mind was, “Show, don’t tell.” Great marketing reports incorporate examples of campaign creative. So we brought that ability into the platform. Beckon dashboards can now include images, embedded video, Twitter widgets, Google Trends and much more.

Second, we recognized that report owners often want to editorialize—wrap things up in their own commentary. Beckon dashboards now offer rich-text blocks to facilitate this. Report owners also need to share reporting easily, create and capture conversations, add context and facilitate action plans. You’ll find these features updated and enhanced as well.

Third, we knew the ability to drill down and change the parameters of a report at any moment would be crucial. We’ve all been in that meeting where we just nailed a presentation of, say, quarterly engagement rates only to be met with the paralyzing question, “Which region is leading in engagement rates?” It was vital that Beckon dashboards allow you to pivot to new reporting points of view on the fly. And now they do. You can also use any Beckon dashboard as a template, and apply filters to drill through different datasets as you like. So, for example, you could create a standard campaign dashboard and then use filters to flip through individual campaigns (our customers love this one).

Fourth, the form a report takes matters. The presentation has to be tight, polished and customized. Beckon dashboards now offer extremely flexible layouts and beautiful typography. And we undertook extensive research and much iteration to create a default data visualization palette we think you’ll find incredibly useful—Beckon is a platform built by marketers for marketers after all.

Finally, it was critical that we make all the new features fun and easy to use. Now, with all the data at your fingertips, it only takes a few clicks to add a new chart or edit an existing one. Customizing the layout, moving stuff, resizing—it’s all drag-and-drop easy.

And all this is just the beginning. Stay tuned for even more breakthroughs as we make Beckon [Dashboard] better and better.