This is a guest post by Vinod Nambiar from Position2.
Position2 is a leading US-based growth marketing services provider focused on data-driven strategy and technology to deliver growth with improved return on investment (ROI).
Position2 was established in 2006 in Silicon Valley and has a clientele spanning American Express, Lenovo, Fujitsu, and Thales. We work with clients ranging from VC-funded startups to Fortune 500 firms. Our 200-member team is based in the US and Bangalore, comprising marketing and software experts, engineers, data scientists, client management, creative writers, and designers. The team brings deep domain expertise in digital, B2B, B2C, analytics, technology, mobile, marketing automation, and UX/UI domain. Our integrated campaigns are powered by cutting-edge content creation, digital advertising, web design/development, marketing automation, and analytics.
We have built two software products to help our customers drive digital marketing success and growth:
- Arena is an easy-to-use, intuitive platform that provides clients with a single interface to engage with Position2. It includes project management, process workflows, collaboration, and performance tracking, helping deliver superior customer experience, transparency, and real-time data.
- Arena Calibrate is a customizable digital marketing dashboard that helps marketers track their cross-platform performance at a glance, saving them hours of manual work. Its machine learning (ML) engine provides automated insights to improve campaign performance and ROI.
In this post, we share how Arena Calibrate helps our customers drive marketing efficiency using Amazon QuickSight Embedded.
Beyond services to a data automation and reporting platform
Very early on, we realized that in order to move the needle on marketing efficiency, we needed to go beyond marketing services and help clients master their data analytics and reporting.
Marketing data challenges are real, and we previously faced them every day across our agency. We’ve used a wide variety of tools in the market, but most of them ultimately expect the user to spend significant energy performing time-consuming analytics activities, like configuring data/platform connectors and building datasets. After all that, we were still missing out on proactive analysis that identifies trends and uncovers optimization opportunities.
We know there are many businesses out there facing similar challenges. This led us to build Arena Calibrate by using the best ML algorithms, data connectors, and business intelligence (BI) platforms.
Arena Calibrate helps marketers leap ahead with the best tech stack available without breaking their budget.
In-depth insights in time: Enter Amazon QuickSight
The challenge was to get data from multiple platforms into one place accurately, automatically, and easily. Each platform has data in different formats. We wanted to help customers answer questions such as, “How do you track your customers’ journey through the funnel? Can you leverage advanced BI techniques to get meaningful insights when you have the data?”
We evaluated a range of products before zeroing in on Amazon QuickSight, a unified, serverless BI service enabling organizations to deliver data-driven insights to all users.
The three primary reasons we selected QuickSight were:
- Better together with AWS – We were already using AWS for our Arena platform, including services such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), and Application Load Balancer. As a result, we wanted to continue using AWS services to ensure seamless integration within our technology stack.
- Customization and automation flexibility – The QuickSight API allowed us to have customization using AWS Identity Access Management (IAM). APIs helped us with authorization and authentication. With IAM APIs, we were able to create users and map them to the required permissions and roles, thereby giving the right permissions to the right dashboards.
- Pay as you go model – Consumption-based pricing ensured flexibility for our customers and us by allowing us to innovate with no monetary risks. We could start small and grow with time without being locked into expensive user-based and capacity-based contracts.
Enabling customers to visualize marketing performance and success
The focus of marketing professionals today is twofold: brand building and revenue growth marketing, which ensures that all your marketing operations can be tracked back to revenue and sales. While the former is a longer-term focus, the latter needs operations to be tracked minutely and any changes need to be incorporated immediately to ensure Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).
Arena Calibrate’s advanced software and BI service package allows you to quickly understand the overall health of your marketing funnel and drive impact on lead generation, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), sales-qualified leads (SQLs), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), and ROAS. We provide insights across the funnel from lead to revenue. Our clients use our dashboards to make marketing decisions like campaign performance, website traffic changes, and audience segmentation. The built-in ML engine helps optimize marketing campaigns by adjusting the targeting, messaging, and timing of campaigns based on their performance.
We use QuickSight as the base for our visualization platform, and clients can visualize predictive forecasting models on ad spend and revenue; make decisions based on optimizing spend and arresting churn; and identify high-value customer segments, marketing channel effectiveness, conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, or ROI. We also use QuickSight ML insights to augment trend analysis and automate anomaly detection for our users.
Arena Calibrate enables users to connect to their data sources in minutes and launch their dashboards quickly with ready-made templates. Our BI team is then available to customize the dashboard for deeper insights and gather accurate ROI.
QuickSight is embedded into Arena Calibrate. The QuickSight API allowed us to generate the signed dashboard URL, which was then embedded into Arena Calibrate.
The following screenshot of Arena Calibrate shows the Campaign Performance dashboard.
The Pay-per-click (PPC) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) dashboard lets you deep dive into key metrics by campaigns, assets, ad formats, landing pages, and device types to better gauge performance.
The E-Commerce dashboard lets you monitor the performance of your online store through key metrics such as abandoned cart rate, average order value, cart conversion rate, and more.
The Cross Channel Campaign Performance dashboard lets you consolidate performance of all relevant metrics across your ad campaigns, enabling you to evaluate campaign ROAS and revenue from one place.
Today, there are dozens of customer dashboards powered by QuickSight across diverse sectors ranging from software as a service (SaaS) to FinTech, IT to healthcare.
Position2’s customer focus
We broadly serve two segments of users. Our Position2 services clients automatically have access to the Arena Calibrate dashboard for their business. The pricing for the dashboard is included in the service fee, in most cases.
Arena Calibrate is also available as a standalone BI platform. Here we combine product-led growth (PLG) and sales to attract prospects largely in the SMB and enterprise markets. Prospects can sign up online, connect their platforms, and test-drive Arena Calibrate by integrating up to five standard data sources for free.
We follow a tiered pricing approach based on the number of platforms and the types of platforms (for example, advertising, marketing automation, or CRM) the user needs to integrate, as well as customization needs.
Cost reduction by 50% and accelerated time-to-value with QuickSight
QuickSight allows us to centralize our organization’s BI reporting—both for internal and external purposes. We pull data from the various sources, then use Snowflake as a database and QuickSight as our visualization tool. The QuickSight in-memory engine SPICE (Super-fast, Parallel, In-memory Calculation Engine) on top of its native integration with Snowflake has improved the dashboard load times by up to 20%. Also, the QuickSight console makes it simple to set up datasets for SPICE. There were direct cost savings when we moved to QuickSight because billing is usage-based. We dropped our costs by approximately 50%.
The comprehensive access and security capabilities of QuickSight allow us to support our enterprise customers by providing the right access to relevant dashboards to the right users with ease. QuickSight allows us to make customizations tailored to each customer’s unique requirements. For example, for newer users, we create dashboards by reusing templates and changing the datasets relevant to them—a process we are currently in the process of automating using QuickSight APIs.
QuickSight, along with Snowflake’s transformation and automation capabilities, has allowed us to reduce our dashboard publishing time from 2 days to 2 hours. Templates have helped us reuse the dashboard layout. Customers appreciate seeing various dashboards in one place—across product lines, business lines, and more. With no or very less engineering effort, the BI team is able to build dashboards. We could also enable author embedding with ease, because it doesn’t require any extra coding or licensing with QuickSight.
The BI team also prefers the features such as iFrame-based embedding and reliability of QuickSight over our previous tool. Our prior tool was slow to render, had stability issues, and had lot of downtime, unlike QuickSight, a serverless, auto-scaling BI service.
We have been able to drive effectiveness through a better understanding of spend and the ability to channel the spend to the best possible outcome drivers. In addition, we have seen efficiency gains by faster time to insights and reduced the need to move across multiple tools to access marketing operations data. Overall, we have seen an increase in ROAS across our client base by 3–5% and productivity gains across clients and services teams by 20–25%.
Calibrating the data-driven future
The long-term vision for Arena Calibrate is to empower the data-driven marketer. With advancements in AI and data analytics, Position2 is well placed to analyze customers’ data and provide actionable insights and recommendations to improve the performance of campaigns and drive growth. We look forward to the continued collaboration with QuickSight to enable this journey.
To learn more about how QuickSight can help your business with dashboards, reports, and more, visit Amazon QuickSight.
About the Author
Vinod Nambiar is the co-founder at Arena and Managing Director of Position2. An engineer with a passion for advertising, Vinod has been instrumental in designing all processes for delivery operations. His passion is to explore how the latest developments in technology can transform digital marketing. He is associated with various global forums in digital marketing and has been part of the faculty at leading marketing institutes in India like Northpoint and Mudra Institute of Communications. When not thinking digital, he can be found doing yoga and reading books ranging from spiritual to fiction. He lives with his wife and two children in Bangalore.