If yours is like many marketing organizations, you have a number of marketing tools that enable you, with one click, to create what you might call a dashboard.
And in today’s world, what you can then measure is only limited by your imagination. We’d like to be so bold as to say you’re probably missing the mark when it comes to having an effective dashboard.
Why? Because most of the dashboards we’ve seen consist of a smorgasbord of numbers that report on activity and outputs.
This is often the result of pulling data from existing tools that capture individual metrics but aren’t anchored to relevant business results.
“73% of marketers don’t feel their companies make the most of data.” – B2B Marketing
A good dashboard guides your actions and helps you mitigate risks. Most of us rely on an automobile dashboard every day to help us determine when to fuel up or when to slow down.
Your marketing dashboard should help you know what is and isn’t working. It should help you determine whether what you’re doing is moving the needle, and if so, how far and how fast.
Your dashboard should help you ascertain whether you are within proper operating and performance target parameters. If your marketing dashboard doesn’t guide your strategic and investment decisions, it’s time to return to the drawing board.
Begin with the end in mind. This approach will result in a much more effective marketing dashboard, one that will help you improve AND prove the value of your marketing.
Before you begin your dashboard, start by answering the following questions:
This conversation with your senior management will clarify what’s important to the business and the role Marketing plays.
Once you answer these questions, you can begin to build a dashboard that incorporates the metrics that shows how Marketing generates value for your organization, the impact Marketing has on the business, and what actions or course adjustments are required.
Armed with these anchors, you can take the next step…metrics are the foundation of your dashboard.
Because there is an almost infinite number of measures and metrics marketers can use today, selecting the right metrics for your dashboard is the next critical step. The key is to formulate a metrics chain.
A metrics chain is the sequence of metrics that establishes the links between activity, output, operational metrics, and outcome metrics.
Concrete and quantifiable performance targets that link your activities and your objectives serve as the starting point of your chain. Working down—from the outcome you need to impact, to the activities you need to perform to achieve your objectives—will illuminate which metrics and measures need to go together.
For example, let’s say your company needs to define a specific set of existing customers to add on a new solution offer, so you can achieve revenue and product adoption targets. Marketing needs to motivate a set number of customers from this select group to experience the solution and participate in a trial.
To support the objective, your marketing team develops a program using a customer endorsement strategy. Key touches and elements might include a customer case study (perhaps a video), an online demo and associated content, an ROI calculator, a webinar that includes the customer case study, and a speaker and associated content.
Your team may need to create a series of pre and post touches through various channels to facilitate engagement. Each of those touches and channels contains a performance target designed to produce webinar registrants, demo requests, and trial inquiries.
When properly constructed, your metrics will form a chain between all your marketing programs—through trials and ultimately product adoption and revenue. These links and associated data become the metrics chains and the foundation for your dashboard.
If your dashboard is going to be actionable, it has to be a multi-tiered, decision-making tool that contains metrics for senior management as well as the marketing team. This means your dashboard must encompass views for at least three stakeholder groups:
Each of these views needs to facilitate action and help your marketing keep on track and aligned with the business. Each view contains a set of metrics that is derived from aligning marketing activities with business outcomes.
Because the metrics chains are the foundation, the relationship among the metrics is not accidental. The metrics on each of the three levels aren’t stand-alone measures. They are linked by the chains to explicitly convey how the program metrics contribute to the marketing function targets, which in turn drive the business outcomes.
Dashboards that contain metrics chains show the relationship between what constitutes success for your business and the contribution Marketing is making. Learn more about dashboard construction, and find out if your dashboard measures up.
Share your story…how are you using marketing dashboards effectively at your company?