What is closed-loop reporting?
Everyone knows closed-loop marketing generates more revenue. But its definition has become muddled. Typically all we talk about is gauging how customers react to product updates and campaigns, or how sales can better convert leads into opportunities or deals.
The true mechanism by which closed loop-reporting succeeds is trustworthy analytics. But bereft reliable data, there is no tangible way for marketing to connect its activities to business outcomes. Improving performance remains a pipe dream.
Closed-loop reporting thus hinges upon quality data — clean, standardized, with values humans can read rather than feel obliged to decipher. In the absence of quality data, scoring and nurturing leads is a fool's errand. Equipped with great data, top-level visibility and a 360-degree view of the business are indeed possible.
Improved performance must be measured using quality metrics — opportunities, pipeline dollars, closed-won revenue — in order to see how customers you've acquired have become successful and more profitable.
How Closed-Loop Reporting Helps Marketers
Closed-loop reporting helps marketers in three major ways. It:
- Allows marketers to make more informed decisions about how to allocate resources and perform better.
- Aligns marketers with other departments, like sales, finance, execs, and IT.
- Gives marketers more freedom to experiment by empowering them with the right metrics and a solid confidence in them.
In other words, closed-loop reporting is there to help you make sound decisions. And when prospective buyers traverse your brand in today's multi-touch world, marketers need to slice and dice all the different attributes at their disposal.
In this spirit, it's important to be cautious not to oversimplify attribution. Try to avoid words like "credit", which reduce the complex cause-and-effect chain of events that ultimately brings someone to buy your product. Rarely is it that one activity directly results in one outcome. And seldom does just marketing, or just sales, or just customer success generate any outcome 100%. Closed-loop reporting is a collaborative process. View it as a business tool.
Closed-Loop Reporting & Marketo
For all who use Marketo, you already know what a great system it is. However, it leaves something to be desired when it comes to distilling marketing metrics, especially if you're using another system for lead assessment, a separate BI tool for reports, perhaps an on-premise data warehouse for storage, plus ERPs.
Of the challenges Marketo users face when reporting, many have said it's “not flexible enough”; “too rigid to set up”; "the visualization is weak"; or that sales “doesn't trust the numbers”.
Admittedly, unifying Marketo data with other sources is difficult with traditional ETL (extract, transform, load) technology. And visualization is vital for the communication of reporting, so even if the numbers are right, the data must be presented in a way that's digestible for the right folks to understand its trends and conclusions.
In the past decade, an array of companies have sought to improve visualization and reporting. But again, the challenge is getting data out of systems like Marketo and into an organized, unified dataset.
Getting data out of Marketo and other SaaS applications is difficult first and foremost because all the data is siloed and structured differently for each each application. Marketo’s schema focuses on leads. Microsoft Dynamics might split data across leads, which convert to contacts, which are, in turn, tied to accounts. Lest you used another system, like Zendesk, this account data gets tied to a user. The net: reporting differs for every system.
Fusion: Unified Data, Unified Schema
“With Fusion, the data comes from Marketo and other applications and it's brought together in an on-demand warehouse, in a unified schema where it's nice and neat,” Zak explained. “Now analysts and teams can be much more hands-on with that data, removing that data nightmare of data prep, and feeding that database into a BI tool.”
What you end up with is a common data schema that works for all the objects for opportunities, campaigns, activities, tickets, orders, invoices, and user data for Contacts and Companies.
This standard schema lets you plug that common dataset into any BI tool of your choice. So if you have the same individual, tied to the same account, in multiple systems, Fusion unifies that person’s data into one record, making a dashboard of high-level customer KPIs possible for any department.
Now what does the data look like when you plug it into a BI tool like Amazon Quicksight? It's pretty simple. Companies and contacts are brought from many systems into one. And you can access them in tables so called: fused_company, fused_contact, and fused_company_contact. For those who ply their trade in SQL, this a huge win. Joins are easier. Queries are shorter. And you can get a single view of the customer rather than having to anneal a flock of fragmented data.
Consistency Across the Board
Fusion also creates analytics-ready data. Take the following:
- Phone Number (603-306-0360 vs. 603.306.0360)
- Date Formats (DD/MM/YYYY vs. MM/DD/YYYY)
- Numbers (0.5 vs. .5)
- States (NH vs. N.H. vs New Hampshire)
- Countries (USA vs. U.S.A. vs. United States vs. United States of America)
- Lookup Fields: Labels vs GUIDs
- Single-Select: Labels vs. IDs
- Multi-Select: Labels vs IDs (handling appending values or removing)
- Boolean Fields: true/false; (some systems provide null, others provide nothing if the field has never been updated, so reducing booleans to true/false is ideal)
- Capitalization (Boston vs. boston -- helps for de-duplicating)
Fusion creates consistency for these fields throughout the dataset. With formats standardized, you can slice and dice quickly across a lot of different attributes. Analysts love this because they can do ad hoc queries. No longer is data buried in Marketo; you can tinker as much as you like.
What enables this analysis is having all your data in an on-demand warehouse. Fusion takes care of this, too.
When plugging analytics tools such as PowerBI, Looker, Tableau or Yellowfin on top of your fused dataset, you'll get:
- A single view of customers
- Dashboards spanning all departments
- Drill-down & closed-loop reporting
- Ad hoc queries using SQL
- Activity analytics
- Insights on generating profitable & successful customers
A unified taxonomy of data in a data warehouse that connects to your BI tools is the solution. It's a frictionless solution for getting data out of system, without the hassle of data prep.
Fusion is easy to use. It's an online tool and swift to set up. You just connect your cloud applications. Then let Fusion build your on-demand warehouse, which you plug into any analytics or BI tool, like Tableau or Power BI.
The best part: Fusion is free to try.