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Many Marketing dashboards today are merely color-coded reports, rather than interactive, predictive tools. A good marketing dashboard needs to be more than just a graphical representation of data. While such “reports” are informational, they aren’t meeting their calling.  A properly developed and fed Marketing dashboard is actionable – it facilitates decisions.

Think about the dashboard in a car you’ve driven. There’s the fuel gauge, the speedometer, the engine temperature and so on. The data provided by these “instruments” enables you make decisions which are further enlightened by context. For example, if the gas gauge is at the quarter mark as you pass a gas station you may ask yourself shall I stop for gas or keep going? If you’re on a sparsely populated highway late at night, you may decide it is not worth the risk of running out of gas in the “middle of nowhere” and choose to stop. If on the other hand, you’re late for an appointment driving around the city in the middle of the day and there are gas stations everywhere, you may decide to hold off on filling up.

Take a look at your Marketing dashboard if you have one.  Does it merely report on Marketing activities? If so, we aren’t surprised.  This is often the case. Most of these activity-based dashboards reveal tactical, channel-specific information. These dashboards typically provide information related to email campaigns, such as the number of opens and click-throughs; social media efforts,  such as fans, followers, tweets, shares; online programs, such as webinar registration and participants; and website activity; and demand gen efforts such as leads; and so on.

Sound familiar?  How would you answer these two questions?
1. Does our dashboard help us make course or investment adjustments?
2. Does our dashboard illustrate how marketing efforts are impacting the business and moving business needles?

If the answer to one or both of these questions is NO, then you may want to revamp your dashboard. In addition to being actionable, a good Marketing dashboard shows marketing’s contribution to the business, financial and otherwise.

7 Criteria for Every Marketing Dashboard

Every Marketing Dashboard Needs to Meet These 7 Criteria

Seven Criteria Marketing Dashboards Should Meet

When we review Marketing dashboards, we are looking to see whether they meet these seven conditions:

1. Unified View. The C suite executives increasingly expect to see proof of how the Marketing function is making a difference to the business; how Marketing is contributing to the enterprise.To be truly effective, a Marketing dashboard needs to offer a unified, strategic view. An effective Marketing “instrument panel” needs to show a connection between its investments, activities, and outputs to business results. The dashboard needs to show how marketing is performing its job in regards to finding, keeping, and growing the value of customers. As a result, it needs to communicate more than information around the “funnel.”
2. Connected to Marketing Plan. An effective Marketing dashboard is directly connected to the Marketing plan. When the Marketing plan is aligned to business outcomes, and is measurable, it serves as the blueprint for your control panel. Indeed, the metrics chain defined in the Marketing plan is the foundation for the KPIs you select for your dashboard.
3. Compares Targets Versus Results. Effective Marketing dashboards enable you to compare targets to actual results. Did you achieve what we intended to achieve? Most marketers are reluctant to put a stake in the ground, so their reporting doesn’t tell C suite what it needs. Effective control panels keep marketers focused on which business needles you’re trying to move. It is an essential tool for accountability.
4. Connect Investment and Value. Business has become increasingly driven by quantifiable data, due to ever greater access to information and computing power. And this must apply to marketing as well. Marketers have long struggled to effectively communicate their contribution to the business. An effective dashboard provides a unified view of “how we are doing.” This enables a business to make adjustments and corrections, maximize the effectiveness of Marketing, and boost Marketing ROI. Such a dashboard helps you discover how to improve your contribution to the enterprise bottom line, and why you deserve money and resources.
5. Reveal Relationships. Your control panel should also enable you to see the relationships between the various facets of Marketing. With more than 60 different channels today, marketing has become extremely complex. This complexity makes measuring the synergy and benefit between different channels difficult. For a Marketing dashboard to be effective, it must provide insight into the how well the overall system is operating.
6. Improve Decision Making and Mitigate Risk. An effective dashboard needs to foster C-suite decision making, specifically decisions around strategy, investments and risk management. This also helps marketers be more aligned with enterprise initiatives, and show that you’re thinking and behaving like business people.
7. Provide Actionable Insights. One of first things we assess is whether the information provided is actionable. A dashboard should provide information that helps make better decisions on future activities. A system that provides information that isn’t actionable- isn’t useful.

Your Marketing dashboard is an important communication tool. Let us help you transform whatever you are using today into an essential vehicle for measuring Marketing effectiveness and proving Marketing’s value.

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