This article is a reblog and was originally published by Laura Patterson of VisionEdge Marketing.
Dashboards remain a necessary navigation instrument for today’s marketers. With the upsurge in availability of information and the practice of analytics as a way to stay one step ahead of the competition, it’s very likely that your dashboard is a work in progress. Just like Indiana Jones (Indy) who may need to traverse mountain passes and rivers and other obstacles in search of hidden treasure, today marketers need a marketing dashboard that will effectively reveal how well the various content and channels you employ unlock Marketing’s value. Selecting the ideal metrics for your own dashboard is akin to Indy’s search for the Lost Ark. Follow this map to avoid many of the booby traps that come with completing the dashboard expedition.
1. Relate Your Marketing Dashboard Directly to Your Marketing Plan
In any expedition, the initial step is to determine the objectives, make a strategy to achieve them, and properly prepare for the adventure. While Indy may have been in pursuit of Crystal Skull, growth is the Holy Grail of business. Marketing helps a company achieve growth by acquiring, keeping and growing the value of profitable customers. Therefore, synchronize your marketing plan to measurable customer-centric business results. A marketing plan aligned to the business is the foundation for your dashboard.
Action Step: Explore all the KPIs you currently measure and excavate those which align directly to the business outcomes defined in your marketing plan. Now you have the essential building blocks to produce a dashboard that communicates to your C-Suite how marketing is making a difference. You have vaulted past your first obstacle.
2. Aim to Measure Both Performance and Risk
Any great explorer knows time is of the essence and that course adjustments may be required. Paramount in maximizing the effectiveness of your marketing is the ability to analyze your results quickly and concisely in order to shift as needed.
Action Step: Verify that your dashboard provides the necessary alerts and trend elements to help you improve performance and make critical decisions. These icons help you dodge any bullets that are coming your way and redirect efforts that may be faltering before they fail.
3. Keep the Links Between Investment and Value Clear
Marketers throughout the world share the struggle of translating marketing activities and actions into numbers that are relevant to their respective C-Suite. Walking into a meeting where you’re expected to present exactly how your marketing programs are moving the needle can feel like that famous boulder bearing down on you with nothing to stop it.
In today’s world of rankings, followers, fans, shares, downloads, and open rates, click-throughs, and so on, it’s easy to get sidetracked with measurements that don’t come back around to business results. Avoid a mishmash of activity metrics on your dashboard.
Action Step: Create clarity around how your work is helping to attain your own Ark of the Covenant by making sure your metrics form a chain between your efforts, outputs and outcomes. When you can trace the stepping stones between your work and the business results, you will be able to show your C-Suite the value of the work.
4. Identifying Relationships is Paramount in Today’s Marketing World
There are currently over 60 different marketing channels, which makes tracking extremely complex. If you choose the wrong ones, you may find yourself double-crossed and steered in the wrong direction. Connecting channels to engagement and measuring and revealing the relationship among the different channels is a challenge.
Action Step: Make sure your dashboard identifies the relationships between marketing activity and customer behavior and provides insight in to the overall system. This will also help you ascertain when and where gaps are present so you can bridge them instead of finding yourself falling into an endless chasm.
5. Make Your Marketing Dashboard Actionable
Without a purpose, your entire adventure can result in you and your team in the midst of a wild goose chase. The end goal of all of this hard work and data collection is to help your leadership team and marketing personnel make informed decisions about strategy, markets, customers, and products. The data on your dashboard needs to be relevant across the organization. When your dashboard is relevant, you gain credibility and influence.
Action Step: Design and construct a dashboard that help the C-Suite and your traveling companions in sales, service and product facilitates business decisions.
Even Indy couldn’t have escaped the Temple of Doom without some help along the way. Employing an expert familiar with the terrain helps you avoid pitfalls and perilous mistakes so you get where you want to go faster and more safely.
To connect with the author, follow Laura Patterson on Twitter at @LauraVEM.