At business analytics software company Tableau (and, as noted in the Wall Street Journal, here at New Relic), there’s a widespread perception that every organization is now a software organization. Whether you work in engineering, sales, marketing, or any other department at the company, we all rely on software to do our jobs. But as Eric Peterson, senior Web developer for Tableau’s Marketing Engineering team, demonstrated at New Relic’s Seattle User Group last week, we shouldn’t just be using software to do our jobs, we should be using software to do our jobs better by solving complex challenges.

For Tableau, one of those challenges is marketing to a very broad audience. “Tableau provides value to customers in virtually all verticals, all departments, and at all job levels,” Eric explained to a group of about 25 attendees. That means Tableau’s marketing content needs to be

  • Relevant by industry: Technology, healthcare, manufacturing, and all of the other verticals that Tableau serves each require specific content and messaging.
  • Relevant by job role: Analysts, sysadmins, and executives have different needs and buying styles.
  • Relevant by stage in the funnel: Fresh prospects require different content than do existing customers.

But building this targeted content experience is only half the battle; you also want to measure it. So every white paper downloaded, every trial started, every lead source—all of that data gets collected and then needs to be analyzed to determine how well campaigns are doing and where more money should go.

white paper download anaylsis

That’s where New Relic Insights comes in.

As Eric put it, New Relic Insights is a “scalable, real-time event database” that is designed to let his team add custom dimensions like “session ID,” “campaign ID,” or “lead source” to key transactions for lightning-fast lead-flow analysis. Using Insights, they quickly found out, for example, that executives and VPs seem to prefer content addressing trends, markets, vision, culture, and strategy, whereas analysts seem to lean toward technical and tool-oriented content. So in an effort to increase engagement and click-throughs (and provide sales with better prepared, higher quality leads), the team decided to revamp the way white papers were recommended on their site.

Of course, being the brilliant marketing engineers that they are, Eric’s team thought, Why go through the hassle of spinning up a new project with a creative brief, user scenarios, goals, tech specs, and more, when they could optimize their content recommendation engine by simply integrating New Relic Insights with their own Drupal app?

Not only does this allow them to build and execute NRQL queries in Insights from Drupal, they can also filter Drupal lists based on data returned by Insights (including, you guessed it, a list of “related white papers” on the download confirmation page). Now, whenever an executive or VP comes to download an asset, they’ll get more of the vision/trend/culture-related content they’re interested in, as opposed to the more technical content that an analyst might prefer.

According to Eric, this success is “just the tip of the iceberg.” Additional possibilities that he sees for integrated analytics with New Relic Insights include:

  • Other confirmation/conversion pages (e.g., including featured or recommended content in a sidebar or footer of a webpage)
  • A/B testing the NRQL queries they’re using to figure out how to personalize content
  • E-commerce to tie conversions/success to direct sales
  • Web app security to detect suspicious behavior and force re-authentication (something companies like Envato are already doing!)

Eric’s talk was a compelling use case for both New Relic Insights newbies and folks looking to leverage the tool in a way that directly impacts the business.

The best part? He walked everyone through exactly how he did it. So if you’re looking for some technical tips to help you learn how you can do the same at your organization, definitely check out Eric’s “Close the Loop” presentation or download the Drupal/Insights integration plugin. And for more interesting Insights use cases, go here.

Thanks again to Eric Peterson from Tableau and our very gracious hosts at Alert Logic Seattle!

Looking for more interesting talks like these? Join us at our next user group! To see when the New Relic gang will be coming to your area, visit our Eventbrite page.


Circle image courtesy of

Asami Novak is director of content strategy and development at New Relic. Prior to joining the New Relic team, she wrote marketing and ad copy for a variety of B2B and B2C companies. Her editorial writing has appeared in WIRED and Dwell, among other publications. View posts by .

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