Tableau simplifies visualization for marketing research firm

Audience Audit dramatically reduced the time needed to analyze data and to create client presentations, allowing it to cut prices and take on far more clients.


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Even though I (like most other journalists and marketing types) use a very specific filter to consider small-business technology pitches, I learned long ago that it's far more illustrative to consider what a company is actually doing with the software or hardware in question than to worry about how many employees are on the payroll. 

Case in point: On paper, two-person marketing strategy firm Audience Audit, doesn't seem like the classic prospect for a big data analytics vendor like Tableau Software. But by ditching spreadsheets and using Tableau to visualize its research for clients, the firm has dramatically overhauled its entire business model. Not only is it able to turn around work far more quickly, it actually was able to reduce its pricing.

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"I used to spend at least 20 hours in Excel building tables before I could step back and see what the data was telling us," said Susan Baier, founder and president, estimating the average turnaround for a 100-question segmentation project at easily three weeks. "Now, we can visualize and present to a client within three days, if we really want."

In reality, Audience Audit likes to spend at least a week with the data; its average is about eight weeks. But its ability to analyze research more quickly inspired Baier to reduce her pricing to about one-third previous levels ($10,000 versus $30,000). That, in turn, has helped it attracted smaller customers that couldn't previously afford its services: it's now able to take on five times the work.

Another benefit: When clients ask questions during presentations, the team is able to answer them during the meeting. "It's a better experience for clients," she said.

There was a learning curve, but Baier was able to find and hire an expert within the Tableau community who helped train her and build out analytics templates she can apply to the data Audient Audit is collecting.   

After a free trial, pricing for the desktop software (which is what Baier uses) starts at $999 per user for the personal edition (plus support). That version accepts data from Microsoft Access, Excel, text files, or the Azure Marketplace DataMarket. To support other sources, you need the professional edition, priced at $1,999 per user.