Best Data-Driven Marketing Solutions to Boost Your ROI

Sanchit Agarwal • Last Modified: January 2nd, 2023

Data Driven Marketing Solutions - Featured Image

Whether you’re optimizing your marketing campaigns or tracking the most popular touchpoint in your customer journey, utilizing marketing analytics techniques can help you make more data-driven decisions rather than relying on hunches. However, a recent Gartner study showed that over 50% of marketing leaders are disappointed with the impact of marketing analytics on their businesses. Marketing leaders find it hard to rely on analytics for decision-making because of reasons like:

  • Poor data quality
  • Unclear recommendations
  • A lack of actionable insights that could improve outcomes

Despite these challenges, senior marketing leaders continue to invest in analytics as they believe it can positively influence their business performance. To ensure that your marketing team is making the most of their data in ways that can be tied to business outcomes, what you need is: 

  1. To ask the right questions
  2. To invest in the right kind of marketing analytics infrastructure

Table of Contents

Is Excel Always Excellent?

Spreadsheets in Excel and Google sheets are love at first sight for marketers. When handling low volumes of data or tracking only a few customers, starting your marketing journey with these tools is an absolute no-brainer. But as your business grows, will it be enough to power you through to the next level and answer the questions marketers like you have started asking?    

Quick, accurate, complete, and visually informative reporting that provides actionable insights is a primary requirement for analysts and CXOs. Marketers today spend hours manually pulling data from multiple sources into Excel and combining it to present in a useful form. When your marketing channels start increasing exponentially, Excel becomes inefficient in handling the rapidly growing data. For mature analytics use cases, using only spreadsheets as a reporting tool can lead to chaos. To achieve the result you expect, you have to put the right fuel into the engine.

Choosing the Ideal Marketing Analytics Solution

To help you choose the best marketing analytics infrastructure to meet your needs, we have compiled a list of available near-real-time marketing analytics solutions that work for your use case.

Before getting started, let’s check out what specifications they should have in an ideal near real-time marketing analytics world:

  • Integrated marketing analytics: Can the marketing analytics solution quickly get and combine data from all your channels and tools and generate a customized report?
  • Reduced manual work: 37% of respondents in the Gartner survey indicated that manual data preparation was a major impediment to their success. Does this tool provide you with analysis-ready data so that you can focus on generating actionable insights?  
  • Scalable: Can it handle massive volumes of data from an increased number of customers and marketing channels?
  • Near-real time insights: You could end up losing a lot of potential customers due to delays in insights. Will the marketing analytics tool get the data in time for you to perform your analysis?

Without further ado, let’s jump right into various data-driven marketing solutions you can consider.

Data-Driven Marketing Solutions for Faster Reporting

Marketing Automation Tools

Best suited for inbound-based SaaS companies with a handful of marketing channels.

HubSpot and Marketo are popular data-driven marketing solutions that provide easy workflows to automate repetitive marketing tasks and build a variety of reports. Bringing integrated marketing analytics capabilities under one roof, they seamlessly connect with CRMs like Salesforce, ads tools, social media channels, marketing tools like Google Analytics, etc.   

HubSpot and Marketo are popular data-driven marketing solutions that provide easy workflows to automate repetitive marketing tasks and build a variety of reports. Bringing integrated marketing analytics capabilities under one roof, they seamlessly connect with CRMs like Salesforce, ads tools, social media channels, marketing tools like Google Analytics, etc.   

Data Driven Marketing Solutions - Marketing Automation platforms Architecture

What’s Good:

  • Complete and accurate funnel reports can be generated with data coming in from all your customer touchpoints. Simply select the period and stages to view the obstacles in the customer journey and identify at which stage the conversion rate dropped. This also provides you insights into the impact of marketing activities on sales.
  • Since most of these tools have in-built CRMs or can integrate with one, the complete customer data allows you to generate a 360 customer view. Smooth integrations with tools like Google Analytics provide an opportunity to build customized web analytics dashboards in a single place.
  • Easily create attribution models from the user interaction data pulled in from various marketing channels, emails, ad tools, website pages, social posts, etc. For instance, a Mailchimp integration will help you track your email campaign intractions on a user level. Instead of manually maintaining multiple spreadsheets of customer interactions, you can directly view what mix of channels, messages, and touchpoints drives the highest conversions. 

What’s Missing:

  • Marketing automation tools are not the ideal solutions for campaign reporting. For starters, comparing multiple campaigns in a single dashboard is a difficult task. You also won’t be able to add KPIs like CTR or cost per conversion for various campaigns in these tools. In addition, the lack of segmented traffic reports makes it challenging to drill down to channel-wise, region-wise, and ad-wise views.
  • Cross-channel reporting is also not always possible with these solutions. For instance, if you want to see your user interaction with your emails and blogs, marketing solutions like Hubspot only allow selecting Contacts and Blog Posts as your data sources while leaving out Email Marketing.


  • Essential integrations: CRMs, ad tools, social media, web analytics tools
  • Complete funnel tracking


  • Campaign reporting is limited
  • Cross-channel reporting isn’t feasible
  • Lacks segmented traffic reports.
  • Inability to track key metrics like CTR

Overall, marketing automation platforms provide enough reporting functionalities for small, growing companies that only deal with a limited number of digital marketing channels.

Marketing Reporting Tools 

Best fit for marketing agencies and in-house teams focused on cross-channel reporting.

Marketing reporting tools like ChannelMix, Whatagraph, and DashThis are some of the most sought-after data-driven marketing solutions that allow marketers to get started with their reporting needs quickly. Providing a user-friendly and intuitive interface, these reporting platforms bring in data from multiple marketing channels to give you a bird’s eye view of the marketing performance in a single dashboard. 

They smoothly connect you with ad tools like Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising, social media sources like TikTok and Facebook, as well as popular CRMs like Salesforce and Hubspot.  

Data Driven Marketing Solutions - Marketing Reporting Tools Architecture

What’s Good:

  • Ready-to-use campaign report templates allow you to measure CPC, CTR, impressions, and clicks by simply selecting your marketing sources. Identify campaigns that bring in the most revenue and then dive deeper to review the performance by channel, all within a few clicks’ reach.
  • With marketing mix modeling, predict and pin down the optimal media mix that generates maximum ROI. By integrating the past performances of all your campaigns from social media and ad tools like Instagram and Google Ads, a single dashboard can help you visualize where to spend more on upcoming campaigns. 

What’s Missing: 

  • The lack of certain features and customizations in these data-driven marketing solutions could hinder you from getting the exact report you desire. For instance, the absence of demographics in channel mix reporting prevents you from seeing user behavior in specific locations. A region-wise view for attribution modeling or campaign reports is one of the things you will miss out on with marketing reporting tools like these. In addition, changing the dates to weeks or years within your dashboards is impossible in DashThis – requiring your team to maintain multiple reports. 
  • Limited integration capabilities may stop you from generating a complete 360 view of your customer and business performance. For instance, you will miss out on a few users as Whatagraph’s Shopify integration can’t provide a report on returning customers. Similarly, DashThis’s Semrush integration only pulls a selected range of data columns, leading to an incomplete web analytics report. 
  • Marketing reporting tools might feel a little expensive when compared to other data-driven marketing solutions, especially for teams who only have a handful of clients.      


  • Easy to use and intuitive interface
  • Pre-built reporting templates 
  • Marketing mix modeling


  • Limited integration capabilities
  • Lack of report customizations
  • Expensive for teams with fewer clients

This type of real-time marketing analytics tool is a great choice for marketing agencies that need to automate their cross-channel reporting. However, these can be a little expensive for firms with only a few clients. 

CDP – Customer Data Platforms

Ideal for firms looking to build real-time customer segments for better-targeted personalized campaigns.

Customer Data Platforms like Segment and Bloomreach Engagement help you understand the complete customer journey by unifying all your customer’s touch points across all platforms and channels. 

Collecting customer data from CRMs, websites, apps, campaigns, products, etc., CDPs provide a real-time view of your customers so that you can target the right customer with the right message at the right time.

Data Driven Marketing Solutions - Customer Data Platform Architecture

What’s Good: 

  • Create customer segments based on user profiles made using user identifier data (cookie, IDFA, device ID, etc.) integrated from your website and ad tools, mapped back to a “single user ID” without requiring any SQL expertise. In a single report, you can monitor your campaign performance in real-time, thereby allowing you to tweak the campaign messaging for a more personalized customer experience.
  • Real-time accurate attribution modeling, funnel tracking, and complete 360 customer view, all of them come to life via CDPs. CDPs integrate all the updated data from CRMs, websites, eCommerce stores such as Shopify, ad tools, and analytics platforms like Google Analytics. This provides you with better audience segmentation, profile lookups, and data quality management, thereby ensuring consistent and accurate customer reports for you.

What’s Missing:

  • Custom reporting is always a challenge in marketing analytics solutions like CDPs. Apart from a few pre-built templates, CDPs fail to offer reporting or analytics, making it extremely challenging for marketers to understand and interpret the data they’re collecting and translate it into informed campaigns. To solve this, you can invest in a BI tool and create custom campaign reports. You can get detailed reports by adding high cardinality dimensions such as product name and customer zip code, or filtering by factors like dates, integers, and customer lookups. 
  • Another shortcoming of these near real-time marketing analytics tools is that they require technical resources for implementation, which can be tricky for smaller teams. Getting started with a few features may require technical customizations to fit the business use cases. 
  • Historical data analysis is not possible with a CDP – to track your campaign and funnel performance, you would need to load your historical data into a data warehouse.


  • Complete 360 view and audience segmentation
  • Better customer data quality management


  • Need to connect to a BI Tool for custom reporting
  • Need to connect to a data warehouse for historical data analysis

CDP is an excellent choice for companies looking to leverage their first-party data and build near real-time customer profiles. However, it might not solve all your reporting needs without the addition of a BI tool.

BI Tools

Apt for organizations searching for advanced visualization functionalities with a few data sources.

When it comes to business intelligence, data-driven marketing solutions like Power BI, Tableau, and QlikView are quite effective in producing visually informative reports and dashboards. From connecting to your data sources to transforming and creating a visualization, BI tools can be a marketer’s best friend for customizable reporting.

Data Driven Marketing Solutions - BI Tools Architecture

What’s Good: 

  • You can paint a complete 360 picture of your customer as you have the flexibility to create reports with custom fields. Track your customer lifetime value by integrating data with your ad tools and CRMs like Hubspot and Salesforce and sync your sales and marketing activities. Adding clicks and impressions data alongside revenue can help you determine which campaign or touchpoint to focus on in your next marketing strategy.
  • Monitor your user interaction on your social media channels like FB, Instagram, and Twitter, and build a dashboard to get insights on ways to drive social engagement, reach, and more. By combining data from your website, eCommerce stores, ad campaigns, and product, track the complete customer journey at a single platform. You can identify factors that entice them to make a purchase and, accordingly, send personalized campaigns to reduce customer acquisition costs.  

What’s Missing:

  • The unavailability of a few integrations is always a bummer in BI Tools. For instance, a missing TikTok Ads or Instagram Ads integration will lead to an incomplete overall campaign report. You can always manually download the CSV data from these sources, though this doesn’t justify the ROI of your BI tools.
  • Most BI tools offer easy scalability. However, the cost of upgrading to higher plans increases sharply, making them an expensive option as you scale. Compared to a data warehouse, BI tools don’t provide a centralized data store or a single source of truth in terms of storage or complex query performance. Also, with a huge collection of features and customizations available, there is a steep learning curve, and you might require a technical expert to help you simplify the process.


  • Better visualisations
  • Customizable reports and dashboards


  • Limited integrations
  • Expensive for small teams or startups 

BI tools offer a good reporting solution for medium to large organizations with limited data sources that require advanced visualization and reporting capabilities.

Data Stack

Optimal choice for marketers looking to automate reporting by integrating multiple data sources.  

A marketing data stack tries to provide a one-stop-solution for marketers, allowing them to automate their reporting by extracting, cleaning, transforming, storing, and analyzing the complete marketing data. In this way, analysts can get to marketing insights much faster.

Data Driven Marketing Solutions - Marketing Data Stack Architecture

A data stack has the following components:

  • Data Sources: This includes ad tools, analytics solutions, CRMs, automation platforms, CDP’s, eCommerce stores, and support apps.
  • Data Pipeline: No-code tools like Hevo Data and Supermetrics extract and combine data from multiple data sources and load it to a data warehouse.
  • Data Warehouse: Modern-day data storage and analytics platform that provides on-demand storage and computation scalability.
  • Data Modeling Tools: Platforms like DBT & Hevo Data have in-built transformation capabilities that efficiently cleans & models the raw data stored in the data warehouse before it is analyzed and shared.
  • BI Tools: BI tools allow you to analyze and visualize your data by creating reports and dashboards using data from the data warehouse.
  • Activation Tools: Providing near real-time business data for operational analytics, these tools load data from your data warehouse back to applications such as CRMs (Salesforce and Hubspot).

What’s Good: 

  • Build any kind of report you want to, and slice and dice your data (from multiple sources) just the way you need. You can integrate data from multiple marketing channels, including all your ad tools and analytics platforms, to perform a complete historical analysis of various campaigns. Tracking views, clicks, CTRs, conversion rates, and CPC in a single report becomes possible as you can easily model your raw data, write SQL queries in a data warehouse to extract data and visualize it in BI Tools.
  • Combine inputs from all your favorite marketing data into a single source of truth. No-code data integration tools like Hevo Data effortlessly offer plug-and-play integrations and smoothly replicate data from multiple data sources to a data warehouse in a few clicks. Data warehouses like Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Snowflake, etc., can easily store massive volumes of data, including your historical data, and perform complex queries. 
  • After generating customer insights and segmenting your audience in your data warehouse, using Activation (Reverse ETL i.e., Extract, Transform and Load) tools, you can deliver those insights to your marketing platforms like Mailchimp, Facebook Ads to trigger automated campaigns. Fresh insights from your single source of truth provides a complete near real-time 360 customer view to your sales team within their CRM, allowing them to sell more effectively and get higher impact of marketing performance.

What’s Missing: 

  • Since data integration tools and data warehouses can easily scale, you don’t need to worry when adding a new data source or when multiple complex queries are running. Do keep in mind though, that the initial setup of a data warehouse might require technical expertise. 
  • Also, small teams using only 3-4 data sources and dealing with low volumes of data might not get the best ROI from a data stack. Manually downloading data and using spreadsheets will be a more economical choice for them. However, as a business grows, opting for a data stack can be a natural path to follow, allowing your analysts to focus on generating insights rather than collecting and cleaning data.


  • Virtually all types of custom reports are possible
  • Most of the integrations are included
  • After setup, non-technical folks (Analysts, Managers, CXOs) can also easily operate   
  • Scalable


  • Can be expensive for small teams using only 3-4 data sources
  • Need technical resources when setting the data stack

With a data stack, you get to benefit from the positives of all the different parts of the data stack, i.e., easy data integration with all your sources, data stored with scalable and high-performance data warehouse, and usable insights from visually stunning reports and dashboards in BI Tools. The data stack comes out on top for organizations using multiple data sources that are looking for data-driven marketing solutions that can scale with their business and automate their reporting.

Is Data Stack the Ideal Analytics Solution for You?

With a marketing data stack, you get near real-time data from multiple sources straight to your data warehouse. As all your reports get populated with near real-time data from all your campaign platforms, you can monitor your campaign performance on an hourly base. By putting CRM and analytics platforms data together, you can sync your sales and marketing teams and easily track conversions at each stage of the funnel. 

Data from each customer touchpoint flowing into the data warehouse allows you to attribute revenue with each channel and identify the areas of focus for future strategy. Integrating your website analytics and eCommerce data in real-time can tell you what influences your customer buying behavior on your websites. Actionable insights like these can directly help you make faster and more effective decisions for the business.

Moreover, as these data-driven marketing solutions completely automate the data integration and replication process, chances of manual errors are eliminated with data being present in an analysis-ready form for marketers. With minimal human intervention, integrated data from multiple sources, and automated data management, a data stack always ensures high data quality.

From querying the data from a data warehouse to generating reports and dashboards in BI Tools, everything gets done at a faster pace with a data stack. Since all your data is analytics-ready and accessible to you in near real-time, you efficiently identify the areas of concern and provide your team with crystal-clear recommendations. And lastly, with data integration tools and data warehouses offering speed, cost, scalability, and security, you can bring in data from all the sources without worrying about performance.

Final Thoughts

With benefits like real-time data availability and integrated marketing analytics, a data stack does make an appealing case. Of course, you must always think about your use case and the ROI of adding new infrastructure to your existing marketing analytics stack. By considering the pros and cons of all the above data-driven marketing solutions, your search for the best marketing analytics tool for your business should become a little easier!