When BI tools fall short: why we built our own marketing dashboards

retool.com
6 min read
fairly easy
If you've ever had to wrangle a maze of marketing, sales, and BI tools—just to end up plugging it all into a spreadsheet—this article is for you. We'll go over the three core dashboards and explain why we treat our analytics as a product rather than a static dashboard.
If you've ever had to wrangle a maze of marketing, sales, and BI tools—just to end up plugging it all into a spreadsheet—this article is for you.

We'll go over the three core dashboards we built for all marketing and full-funnel metrics, why we chose to build our own, and how our marketing lead Kevin White (formerly of Segment, HackerOne and MemSQL) uses them.

With a background in marketing ops and driving demand, Kevin has had a front row view of how marketing tech stacks and data pipelines have evolved and expanded over the last decade.

What's most surprising? Most companies still struggle with a simple problem: aggregating, viewing, and acting on different data sources.

While the problem in the past may have been that the tools were not powerful enough or the data you needed didn't exist, today we face a different issue: there are too many tools at your discretion. Your data sits in an endless assortment of ad platforms, marketing automation platforms, CRMs, payment processors, and data warehouses that are all good at a specific job—but leave you struggling to get a cohesive, comprehensive picture from 10 open tabs.

Retool solves this nicely, as we can pull in data from data warehouses, Stripe, Salesforce, Google Ads,Segment—really anything with an API—to build an interface custom to your business. And, much like great tools in the vein of Mixpanel or Amplitude, we make it pretty easy for everyone to have canonical company dashboards and replicate/customize them for their own needs.

What is unique about Retool, then? We treat analytics like a product: rather than a static view/dashboard, our marketing team has a veritable app to play with.

For example, for a product launch, we can use Retool like a BI tool to drill into the metrics—but also use it as a sign-up tracker, a goal-oriented dashboard, and a workflow manager (e.g., "when metric X hits Y, do this").

This also means we don't have to limit ourselves to the structures defined by a BI tool. If…
Ivana Ivanovic
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