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The Analytic Playground, or ...


Marketing dashboards may be well designed for specific audiences. For example, a CMO may benefit from dashboards addressing certain executive-level questions and objectives, just as marketing managers may benefit from dashboards focusing on campaign or channel performance. The idea is to refine and limit the content of a dashboard to make it relevant for the objectives of its intended audience. But what about the analysts — do they need a dashboard for each ad hoc request that’s pushed to them?

Certainly not! Building a new dashboard for each ad hoc request would create clutter, confuse end users, and waste precious time and resources. But let’s say I have some seriously awesome reporting metadata to work with — how do I build one dashboard that taps into the full breadth of the metadata when my audience-specific, marketing dashboards are essentially losing access to certain insights the metadata was designed to contain within its granularity?

I need to provide a solution for the analysts, but how? How do I build a dashboard that allows my end users to filter and compare any one or two dimensions from their metadata against any raw or calculated metric? How do I provide power users with a self-service environment where they could have full access to all raw and calculated metrics in an intuitive and usable interface?

I’ll tell you how — the Analytic Playground. With the Analytic Playground, I’m able to provide a guided ad hoc dashboard that both marketing managers and analysts can navigate through with direct access to their reporting metadata. And to accompany the guided ad hoc dashboard, today’s data visualization tools make it incredibly easy for anyone with a solid understanding of their metadata to build their own custom data visualizations to answer the “why” of questions being asked from their executive, campaign, or channel-level dashboards. Think about it — an environment where designated power users could go to quickly query information within their metadata and create visualizations that bring clarity and data-driven insight to marketing objectives — that’s powerful stuff!

However, I can’t simply build such a powerful tool for my clients and then toss them the keys to the kingdom. No, I must run the intended users of the Analytic Playground through a detailed, personalized training so that they understand how to navigate through the metadata and build some killer visualizations. I must ensure each intended user of the Analytic Playground has a well-defined question and a "so what" behind every chart he or she builds. I must encourage all intended users of the Analytic Playground to combine their thorough training with their own sense of creativity. And once my hands-on training sessions fall silent because everyone is having fun playing with and seeing their own data in ways they’ve never been able to before, I know the Analytic Playground has transformed how my clients perceive how easy, accessible, fun, and effective ad hoc reporting can be.

Learn more about Merkle’s Insights Platform and the Analytic Playground elsewhere on our website.

The Analytic Playground