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What’s in your dashboard?

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by Ron Marcus, ZUZA Marketing Cheerleader

As a marketer, one of the most important parts of my job is to measure the effectiveness of our marketing efforts here at ZUZA. We marketers are being held accountable for marketing ROI like never before. It is no longer acceptable to claim that marketing is mainly about long-term brand awareness, which is hard to measure. Our bosses want us to take the same analytical approach to justifying our expenses as other departments use.

One of the ways to do this is to build a marketing dashboard. You may already be familiar with this concept or are even using one already. Like a car dashboard, the marketing dashboard presents the status of key metrics or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to show you at a glance what kind of results your marketing program is driving. Often the dashboard is visual, with charts and graphs for easy reading, just like the gauges in your car.

While a marketing dashboard simplifies the presentation of data for quick analysis, creating a dashboard is not so simple. What should you measure? How should you measure it? Where can you get good data for measurement? What is the best way to present this data?

In the process of building our own marketing dashboard here at ZUZA, I started my research like most people would. I did a Google search. I found several good articles to start me on my way. I’ll summarize a few highlights from these articles. I’ll also share the links to these articles so you can use them too.

How to build your dashboard

An article at Chief Marketer ( here » ) tells us that there are five keys to establishing a successful marketing dashboard:

  1. Get agreement across departments on the role of marketing in your company
  2. Determine the metrics you can use from available data sources
  3. Create a financial model for measuring marketing success
  4. Create a marketing / brand scorecard (the guts of your dashboard)
  5. Design an intuitive user interface for the dashboard

Before you start measuring, you need to decide exactly what to measure, and this is tied to the roles of marketing in your organization. Here’s a list I’ve adapted, which is not exhaustive:

  • Generating qualified leads
  • Building a brand
  • Creating awareness
  • Enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Communicating and educating
  • Driving product innovation
  • Growing online traffic
  • Maximizing social media engagement
  • Establishing thought leadership (through content marketing, webinars, etc.)
  • Growing market share
  • Growing revenue
  • Growing sales through different sales and marketing channels

Prioritize which are the most important roles. Then you can start to a) determine metrics for measuring your success in fulfilling these roles, and b) assess available data sources for feeding those metrics.

Another great article from Demand Metric’s Analyst Perspectives Blog (a great example of content marketing by the way, the subject of last’s weeks ZUZA blog) outlines the benefits of having a marketing dashboard, which I’ve adapted here:

  • Develops a performance-driven culture
  • Gives the executive team and board better visibility of your efforts
  • Helps you demonstrate the ROI of marketing
  • Helps justify the marketing budget
  • Improves allocation of marketing resources for revenue generation
  • Helps you predict the effectiveness and risk of potential marketing initiatives

The article goes on to list the seven key stages of implementing a marketing dashboard:

  1. Discuss with a steering committee
  2. Assemble a team to create the dashboard
  3. Review data sources and identify gaps
  4. Choose key performance indicators (KPIs)
  5. Build the framework for measuring results
  6. Develop a brand / marketing scorecard
  7. Create the visual dashboard solution

One more article which discusses creating a dashboard for measuring online marketing comes from echogravity’s blog. The article explains the key performance indicators to measure and the free online tools available to measure them. Metrics include:

  • Website traffic
  • Responses to online calls-to-action
  • Lead generation
  • Social media engagement
  • Content creation and usage
  • Email marketing
  • Contact data gathering for leads

And finally, if you want an excellent resource on marketing metrics in general, Marketo, the marketing demand generation company, has kindly provided a complete e-book on the subject, which you can download for free here.

If you’re not already using a marketing dashboard, I hope I’ve piqued your interest. While it will take some effort to build yours, once it’s up and running, you’ll have a powerful tool for measuring marketing effectiveness, making better marketing decisions, and justifying your efforts to your management team and board.

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