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How to Decide On the Metrics to Include On Your Marketing Dashboard



As a marketer, you have probably wondered about the most important metrics that you can add to your marketing dashboard. Unfortunately, there is no quick answer to that question. The reason is, if you should start building a dashboard with pre-conceived metrics and ideas in mind, you will be going about it the wrong way and your final dashboard may not be very useful.


To begin building a marketing dashboard, you need to ask yourself three questions:

  1. What are the most important outcomes the business needs in order to meet its long -term objectives?
  2. What is the expectation from senior management regarding these outcomes?
  3. How will senior management appreciate the contribution of marketing by looking at the dashboard?

Only when you have satisfactorily answered these questions can you embark on building a dashboard that makes a real impact in decision making; one that can clearly demonstrate the impact of marketing strategy on the bottom line and other business goals.

The starting point, therefore, is not metrics but having candid conversations with senior management. You need to get into people’s minds and understand decision making from their point of view. What kind of information would they like to see in order to make a quick and informed decision? Begin from the top, move laterally if there are horizontal reporting lines and then down the organization. Until you have had these conversations, you can’t even begin to construct the marketing dashboard.

  • A Dynamic Dashboard

Once you have established what senior management would like on the dashboard, don’t think you have it all figured out. You need to think about how you make the dashboard dynamic. Dynamic in the sense that the dashboard is not simply a report. Rather, it is a complex decision making tool that can be used at all levels of the organization.

To be dynamic, the marketing dashboard must have three levels:

  • An analytical level for senior management where they can see the big picture impact of marketing strategy towards the company’s goals.
  • An operational level for executers of marketing strategy.
  • A functional level for marketing team members at this level.

These three views must provide actionable data that allows team members to stay on point. The data must allow them to replicate success or take measures to steer the ship back on course.

As a consequence of goal alignment, the metrics at each level are not independent; they are connected to create chains of data that clearly show how the metrics contribute to functional targets which drive desired outcomes. The interaction between the various metrics should be meticulously planned having already had conversations with people at all levels of the company.

At the end of the day, the intention of the marketing dashboard is to show the cause and effect relationship between marketing and business outcomes.

  • Is Your Marketing Dashboard Good?

So, after you have the marketing dashboard set up, how do you know it’s good and delivering as intended. Well, if it’s set up right, it will answer the question, “Are our marketing efforts paying off?” Recall, we said a marketing dashboard is not a report but a decision making tool. So, if the answer to the question is yes, you will be able to see the reasons this is so and replicate success. If the answer is no, you will be able to see the problem areas and take action.

To put this in perspective. Assume you have been using several marketing channels and you aren’t sure which channel delivers the best results. A marketing dashboard should be able, at a glance, to tell you which marketing channel is contributing the most to growing your customer numbers. Armed with this information, you can make an informed decision to re-allocate your marketing budget to the channels delivering the best results. Alternatively, the marketing dashboard could also reveal why one marketing channel isn’t giving you the results you want and you can then take corrective action.

  • Conclusion

We titled this article “How To Decide On The Metrics To Include On Your Marketing Dashboard”. But, now you realize why it isn’t possible for anyone to give you a straight answer on that. There isn’t any single solution that suits all businesses. Every organization is different and what works for one may fail miserably for another. Candid conversations must be had before deciding what goes into the marketing dashboards. If there is a formula for success, that’s it.