Why visualizing marketing data is important

Marketing Data
Google Sheets
March 15, 2024


Data visualization is underestimated. We are all so used to lame dashboards that we associate data visualization to a pointless self-fulfilling tool. But the truth is that right data visualization setups can really make a life or death difference in a business. In this article we focus on the importance of data visualization and try to demystify some concepts around it.

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The Issue With Visualizing Data

Last weekend I was speaking with a friend of mine in marketing. She struggles to make any sense of their traffic data because the visualization tool on GA4 isn’t showing the right data in one place and because she can’t keep track of the leads flowing through their HubSpot pipeline. Since at Dokin it is our job to help with that, I thought I’d give her a hand. However, that got me thinking at how poorly data visualization is treated in most businesses. Especially smaller ones. With more and more data comes the challenge of decoding it to turn into insights. The growing number of sources and the volumes of data needed to be managed, make this a real obstacle when it comes to managing your go-to-market efforts. To make the right decisions you need the right way to visualize your data to make sense of what’s going on.

A personal rant: the problem is not dashboards, the problems are your sh**ty dashboards

Data visualization is storytelling for numbers. It takes all the complicated data - like sales figures, marketing metrics, or even weather patterns - and translates it for you into pictures like charts, graphs, and maps. This makes the information easier to understand at a glance and allows us to see patterns and important points that we might miss in the numbers alone.

Data Visualization Simplified

Let's break it down. Data visualization is taking all that numerical data – think long tables full of numbers – and turning it into a visual representation, like a bar chart or a map. This not only makes it easier on the eyes but also helps us quickly spot trends and patterns that numbers alone don't show.

As complexity arises, it’s key to act fast and the way we use these visualization tools has become more important. They help businesses and organizations make sense of the loads of information they have to sort through every day, helping them make better decisions.

How Data Visualization Tools Are Changing the Game

Imagine trying to read a novel where all the letters are jumbled up; you would close that book and throw it in the trash. That’s what too often happens in the business. You either don’t have data visualization in place or have a sh**ty version of it. Data visualization is meant to sort the letters into words and sentences.

Data visualization, from spreadsheets to BI tools do the heavy lifting. But too often these tools are clustered with data that is not dynamic or that doesn’t give enough overview of an ensemble of sources (see how Dokin solves this issue). But, when set up in the right way, with the right tools, they take an overwhelming amount of information and break it down into bits we can easily understand, such as visual snippets. They're like the magnifying glass that helps us see the hidden details in a big picture, showing us how different pieces of data are related and what they mean for our business.

Back to my friend: we are building a dashboard for her that will finally give a clear overview of all the traffic, conversion and how leads are flowing to the pipeline. Just like that, she will suddenly be on top of her GTM strategy and make the improvements to win more clients.

Why Seeing Your Data Is More Important Than Ever

Data is growing fast - like a city skyline that gets a new skyscraper every day. Because of this, using data visualization is no longer just nice to have; it's a must-have if you want to keep up. With the right visualization tool, even the most complex data can be made simple and actionable. This way, businesses can use data to inform their strategies and make smarter decisions. Think of it as the difference between trying to guess where you're going in a new city versus using a well-drawn map.

Finding the Perfect Data Visualization Tool for You

When you're on the hunt for the best data visualization tool, think about it as finding a new member for your team. You want someone (or something, in this case) that fits in smoothly, understands what you need, can grow with you, and doesn’t require everyone else to learn a new language to communicate. It's about finding the ideal match for your current setup, your goals, your amount of data, and your team's expertise. It doesn’t matter if it's a tool Microsoft cooked up or something built by open-source wizards; what matters is it serves your purpose.

Now let's deep dive in the data visualization field for 2024:

Google Sheets

The great classic. Nothing does it like a spreadsheet does it. Accessible to everyone, easy to deploy and particularly suited for small and medium businesses. When you add Dokin on top of it you also make them dynamic, by connecting live data from channels, CRMs and databases to your spreadsheets. 

See our Pre-built dashboard templates in Google Sheets.


Tableau, now part of Salesforce, is like the Swiss Army knife of data visualization tools. It's packed with features that allow you to transform raw data into eye-catching, comprehensible visuals. I’ve used it in my previous experience, I love it but I personally find the learning curve to get started a bit too steep. However, what makes Tableau stand out is its ability to handle vast amounts of data without breaking a sweat and its flexibility in visualizing this data in various ways.

Microsoft Power BI

Power BI is interesting if you are on Microsoft as it is the friendly neighbor who gets along great with everyone in your tech neighborhood (your existing Microsoft products). It's designed to make deep data analysis accessible and provides excellent integration capabilities with other Microsoft services, making it a go-to for those already in the Microsoft environment. I am not personally a great fan, but it’s undoubtedly a great tool for data viz.

Google Looker Studio

Looker Studio, from Google, prides itself on being adaptable and user-friendly. And I gotta say that I am a big fan. It’s easy to set up, and has the advantages of a spreadsheet but with more power, once you use the right data connectors, like Dokin. Looker + Dokin is like having a data wizard at your disposal. It not only helps you analyze your data in depth but also lets you customize reports and dashboards to fit your specific needs, all while being easily integrated with your many data sources.

Qlik Sense

It's intuitive, meaning it's built with a focus on helping you discover connections and insights in your data naturally. Suitable for businesses of all sizes, it shines in making complex data exploration feel straightforward. Less immediate than Looker, but still a great tool.


Sisense thrives on taking complicated data and presenting it in interactive, comprehensible dashboards. Think of Sisense as the powerlifter of data visualization tools—it can handle heavy, complex datasets and make them easily understandable for its users.

Notable Mentions: ThoughtSpot, Infogram, and Dundas BI

  • ThoughtSpot is like the Sherlock Holmes of data tools, offering a powerful search-driven analytics experience that’s great for answering complex data questions on the fly.

  • Infogram is the storyteller, enabling users to create beautiful infographics and reports that make data more engaging.

  • Dundas BI positions itself as a tailor, providing highly customizable BI and analytics experiences to fit your exact needs.

Expanding Your Data Visualization Skill Set

With these tools, you're not just stuck with one way of showing data. They provide ways to automate data collection, present data in various chart forms, and customize how you visualize data to meet both your and your audience's needs.

Making Data Visualization a Natural Part of Your Workflow

Bringing a new tool into your team's workflow should feel like a natural step, not a hurdle. Look for ways to integrate these visualization tools so they enhance your processes, not complicate them. Consider things like:

  • How easily can your team learn to use the tool?
  • Does it integrate with the systems you already have in place?
  • How will it improve or streamline the way you currently work with data?

Remember, the best data visualization tool is not just about having the flashiest features; it's about finding the right fit that complements your team's needs, elevates your data storytelling capabilities, and ultimately helps you make more informed decisions.

Collaboration and Sharing with Data Visualization Tools

Collaboration is more important than ever, and data visualization tools accommodate this need. With these tools, you're not just analyzing and visualizing data on your own; you're sharing insights, building dashboards together, and ensuring that everyone in your team can access and understand the data. This aspect of collaboration is crucial as it promotes a more cohesive, informed, and effective work environment with better decisions being made.

Future of Data Visualization Tools

The future of data visualization is dominated by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). These advancements promise to make these tools more capable, efficient, and insightful. The aim is to integrate real-time data understanding, which means you're not just looking at yesterday's data - you're visualizing and learning from what's happening now, as it's happening. These tools are also becoming more interactive, making data exploration more intuitive and engaging

Making the Decision: Which Data Visualization Tool Is Best for You?

The decision to settle on particular data visualization software is a vital one. You need to consider cost, user-friendliness, integration with existing systems, scalability, and more.

In the vast ocean of data visualization tools, there are options to fit every need, skill level, and budget. Whether you opt for a more recognized tool, such as Tableau or Power BI, or venture into free choices, the important thing is to start using these powerful companions to turn data into valuable insights.For those specifically looking for no-cost options, Google Sheets could be a great place to start and we have already put together a few free Google Sheets Dashboard templates that could help you get the ball rolling and help with data visualization.

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Jacopo Proietti

Co-founder @Dokin
Jacopo, a co-founder of Dokin, boasts 8 years in finance, having worked as a finance manager at Ogury and head of Financial Planning and Control at BlaBlaCar.
His passion for data integration led to the creation of Dokin, a game-changer for modern business teams. With customizable templates and built-in data connections, Dokin allows modern CMOs and CFOs to streamlines data reporting across Google Workspace applications.

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