There are shifts taking place in the digital marketing agency landscape right now. Here are three to name a few:
- The gig economy means digital marketers within companies are increasingly branching out to start their own agencies.
- Many traditional PR firms are pivoting to become digital marketing agencies.
- The sheer number of digital marketing agencies means that agencies are either expanding or specializing.
And while it could be argued that modern companies have access to more marketing tools than ever before, many still turn to agencies to select and run those tools, use their experience and skills to set the strategic course, and ultimately drive toward the KPIs defined by their organization.
After all, while some things in marketing stay the same, the current pace of change means that by the time you learn something new... it's likely not all that new anymore.
So, yes, there are more digital marketing agencies than ever before. But there is also a steady rise of web searches for such agencies:
And a major way marketing agencies are trying to differentiate themselves is through #3 above.
They are either expanding their offerings to encompass all aspects of content marketing, SEO, and even web design (and often doing mediocre jobs at each), or they are tightening their operation and focusing purely on being the best in one particular facet.
One other way agencies are getting to the next level, however, is through the use of business dashboards.
What are business dashboards?
Business dashboards are information management tools used to monitor the key performance indicators that are relevant to a business, department, or specific process.
They visualize data, have the capacity to update this visualized data in real-time, and can therefore simplify complex data sets to allow both the agency and the agency's clients to quickly and easily see performance.
Here's how one company, Versature, displays business dashboards throughout their office to keep everyone on the same page:
And here are 5 ways that digital marketing agencies are leveraging the power of business dashboards:
Here's a quick break down of each:
Marketing agencies that use business dashboards send a message that they are on the cutting-edge of tech. Such dashboards take some time to get set up, but once they are in place an agency can create real-time dashboards for all of their clients.
Depending on which provider is selected, many business dashboards are completely customizable, even allowing the agency to swap out the dashboard company's logo with their own or their client's.
Additionally, because business dashboards can be shared (via a URL to a live link, email, or even Slack) and can update certain data sets in real-time, agencies equip their clients with the most accurate information and empower them to be part of the process.
Agencies working with many clients know the importance of data organization, and hopefully know the difference between reporting and monitoring. Business dashboards allow digital marketing agencies to, in a click or two, access their client's most important data points.
No more sifting through tons of spreadsheets or those screenshots you've been saving and trying to organize in Google Drive.
And no more needing to open each tool to see the information from within it. With a business dashboard, you can mix and match data sets, organizing them in whatever way feels most valuable.
With such organization naturally comes increased productivity. However, dashboards also allow agencies to spot trends as they are happening and immediately course correct rather than reflecting on what happened and essentially needing to embark on a new campaign.
For scrappy digital marketing teams, this means a client's complex marketing campaign can essentially run continuously and be optimized along the way. And it means you can see performance in a single glance, rather than having to spend time browsing through many open tabs and programs.
Clients today want to see the data, not just be told about it. And ideally they want to be able to see it in real-time. Rather than scrambling to compile various reports about social media marketing performance, for example, a digital agency can now just send a live link to the dashboard to their client.
This transparency around the data, both internally at the agency and externally with clients, fosters the culture of trust that tends to strengthen an agency's team and keep clients sticking around far longer.
This is perhaps the unheralded star of how business dashboards help digital marketing agencies.
Because data sets are now more organized, it's far easier for agency managers to delegate who owns which client (or aspect of the client's case), and it's far easier for all colleagues within the agency to have a grasp on what the others are doing.
An agency leader specializing in SEO campaigns, for example, can now quickly glance at a dashboard and understand what data is coming in through a CRM—without having to ask the in-house CRM specialist how to pull data out of the platform.
It's right there, on the dashboard. There's no need for one specialist to learn the ropes of another specialist's platform. That's just laying out a red carpet for scope creep.
For two particularly interesting business dashboards for digital marketing agencies, see these:
To see how marketing agencies partner with us, see:
Originally published July 6, 2017, updated Jun, 18 2019