Gartner recently published research aimed at helping marketing leaders overcome their struggles with getting value from their dashboards.
In the paper, “How to Develop an Effective Marketing Dashboard,” Gartner does a great job at highlighting why these dashboards cause so much strife and how marketers can optimize them for real value.
All of the research is compelling and highly informative, but I wanted to summarize a few of the key findings and recommendations you can take away now. One thing we can say with assurance - dashboards work when they are designed correctly. What’s on your dashboard?
- Dashboards fall short of providing their expected value because they don’t answer the questions the business needs to know to make key decisions.
- Dashboard metrics spend too much time looking in the past and not enough focus on predictive analytics that help marketers prepare for the future.
- Dashboards should be designed with the user, context and business questions in mind so leaders can make informed decisions.
- Your dashboard metrics should report on the past, diagnose the present and predict the future.
The Problem with Most Dashboards
It seems the biggest problem with dashboards is that they are too complex and have so much information, it’s hard to decipher what is critical and what is irrelevant. Instead of dashboards being the go-to for basing decisions, they become a data dump. Marketing leaders are already inundated with data. The dashboard shouldn’t bring added stress but make their job easier. How? By providing the right data for the right user at the right time - and giving them exactly, not more or less, than what they need to make sound business decisions.
Another issue with dashboards is they are often developed by analysts. Gartner also identifies this as a problem. How can an analyst determine what the business needs when they aren’t involved in the business operations? Every functional business area should be involved in developing the dashboards and the best question you can ask each one is, “What are the questions you would like this dashboard to answer?” Design your dashboards to answer those questions and you’ve just discovered dashboard nirvana.
Gartner is specific when it comes to dashboards, saying, “...a dashboard is not a document, but instead is a tool for future action.” So ask your marketing ops team to give you actionable insights, not just dashboards.Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed under CC BY 3.0