Are You Flying Blind Without Real-time Dashboards?

Written by: Darin Hicks on 9/3/15 2:54 AM
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As a marketing leader, you have plenty on your plate. You have to keep track of things like budgets, plans, strategies, and performance, just to name a few. Sadly, too many marketers are still trying to do this via spreadsheets. Maybe you’ve just used them so long, you don’t know what you’re missing. For the sake of your marketing success, let me tell you exactly why real-time marketing dashboards will trump any spreadsheet or other tool.

Spreadsheets Are Not Made for Marketing

In a recent blog, I discussed the problems with spreadsheets but in summary, spreadsheets are static, not real time; isolated, not collaborative; error prone and labor-intensive, not automated. With so many programs running at the same time by so many people, spreadsheets fail on many levels to provide the insight marketing leaders need to make decisions with confidence and manage their departments.

Dashboards Bring Clarity

An executive dashboard provides a visual representation of performance in real time. It connects to other business applications within the company, pulling in relevant data to populate the dashboard reports. Systems like CRM, marketing automation platforms, project management tools, finance systems, etc. all have relevant data for marketing performance. A good dashboard gathers this information into one place so you don’t have to log into multiple systems, pull data out, mash it together, fill in the gaps, and hope for the best. Most dashboards can be customized to show the reports you want to know and give you an instant snapshot of what’s going on right now, so you can make changes before it's too late.

A dashboard gives you visibility, measurement and time savings. It allows you to measure performance so you can improve performance. You can drill into detail or keep it high level, but either way, it presents the latest metrics so you always have the most accurate data. It enables you to compare your performance against your plan and align your strategy to business goals.

What You Need on Your Dashboard

Creating your dashboard is a great exercise in streamlining. Just like cleaning out a closet, it brings a sense of accomplishment and a sigh of relief when you get rid of the things you don’t need so you can focus only on those things that really matter. Choosing which metrics to place on your dashboard allows you to focus on the things that influence them. For a CMO dashboard, some components to consider:

  • Marketing sourced pipeline
  • Marketing influenced pipeline
  • Waterfall conversion rates and velocity
  • Share of voice
  • Budget performance
  • Database growth<

What makes a dashboard even more useful is being able to slice and dice this performance data by region, product, segment, campaign, and more. That's how you can see which areas are over-performing and which ones may need help.

It’s worth your time to look into measurement dashboards if you are still relying on spreadsheets to manage marketing. Developing a dashboard is simpler than you might think and once implemented, is effortless to maintain. You can’t say that about a spreadsheet.

Image Source: Marketoonist

Topics: Dashboards, Hive9