Hey Marketers: You HAVE TO KNOW Tableau

Gathering and analyzing data used to be one stage of the marketing process. However, in the age of big data, its become a continuous state.  That is why 21st-century marketers need to know Tableau.

Being an effective marketer USED to mean having at-will access to sales data, campaign data, web analytic and social data. However, logging into separate internal, cloud-based and vendor hosted systems to evaluate the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns, sales promotions, social media and customer experience doesn’t make sense anymore.  Marketers need to have a single place to go for all their marketing and sales data.

Effective marketing requires continuous access to data sources — and connecting data sources together to gain a clear view of an organization’s marketing infrastructure in action.

For many marketers, the easiest place to begin this journey is in Tableau, a Mac desktop, PC desktop, and server-based application that brings data to life through simple ‘drag-and-drop’ exploration.  Tableau does the heavy lifting. It does a great job of automatically discovering the nature of the data it imports.  Data is organized into dimensions, data fields used for row or column headings; and measures, data fields used for plotting. When you import the data for the first time, Tableau determines whether to consider a field as a dimension or a measure.  It also tries to connect the imported data source with other sources being used.

Getting started with Tableau is easy.  The company offers Tableau Public, a free service that lets anyone publish interactive data visualizations to the web. Visualizations that have been published to Tableau Public (“vizzes”) can be embeded into webpages and blogs, they can be shared via social media or email, and they can be made available for download to other users. Visualizations are created in the accompanying app Tableau Desktop Public Edition. No programming skills are required.    You can try the full version before you buy it, and the company provides free training videos that walk you through the same hands-on examples used in Tableau training classes.

Knowing how to use a Business Intelligence (BI) tool, like Tableau, is essential. It helps marketers and business managers, throughout a company, transform raw data into insights.  Marketers can’t rely on researchers in an era when data is more than background information: If you don’t know data, then you don’t know marketing.

Cartoon is courtesy of Tom Fishburne.