8 Tips for Building Better Executive Marketing Dashboards

dashboard-mobileWhat does it take to implement a great marketing plan for your business? A well-thought-out strategy, a carefully mapped out plan of execution, a great team to carry out the legwork, and a marketing dashboard to streamline and track all your efforts.

With a visual interface that gives users a big-picture view of the business’ overall marketing plan, the process of tracking and reporting marketing metrics and milestones becomes more efficient and actionable. Done well, marketing dashboards can provide a simple, single-page view of key performance indicators (KPIs) that tell you whether or not you are hitting the metrics that you need—and presenting it in such a way that your CEO & executives get that your marketing efforts are paying off.

So what does it take to create an elegant, effective marketing dashboard? Here are 8 tips to get you started—

#1. Spell out your marketing strategy

The metrics that your marketing dashboard is set to track should be based on the company’s overall marketing plan. That is the context that will make your dashboard relevant; which means, for your executive team to understand the metrics that you are trying to deliver, it has to align with the big picture goals of the business. So be clear about what the marketing dashboard is presenting and what the numbers it’s tracking are trying to achieve.

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#2. Tell your story backwards

Executives are not only busy, they are likely to have very short attention spans too. When presented with a dashboard peppered with graphs and figures that won’t make any sense to them, it defeats its purpose entirely. So make sure that your dashboard goes straight to the point. For instance, you may want to bring more focus on bottom line figures first, before delving into the metrics that made the numbers possible. Make them see that it was effective, before explaining why it was.

#3. Keep it simple

Resist the urge to track everything and show everything as it will only add to the confusion, especially when it comes to reporting. Keep your marketing dashboard simple and focused on items that you know are relevant and important to the executives. Not only will you allow executives to put focus on what’s actually important, but it will allow them to familiarize themselves with the metrics quickly. This way you will spend more time discussing tactics and strategies and less time explaining what all the charts, graphs and numbers mean.

#4. Keep a good balance of text and visuals

Increase engagement by making sure that you’re not presenting a wall of numbers nor are you using just graphics to deliver your data. Make the most out of the fact that a marketing dashboard can present data and metrics in a visual manner as well as through text. The key is to maintain a balance of graphs, charts and numbers to keep things easy to follow.

#5. Tailor your dashboard to meet individual needs

A dashboard can be customized depending on what a particular person in your company needs to see. For instance, a CFO will want to see different aspects of the marketing dashboard versus the VP of Sales. Customize your dashboard to make it easier for executives to understand the reports.

#6. Identify & track the right metrics

The very purpose of having a marketing dashboard is so that you can efficiently gather data. But to make the most out of it, you have to know what you want to measure. Define the data that you need, and be sure that you’re tracking the right ones. Don’t let yourself measure and monitor numbers that will ultimately be useless to you. Ask yourself what metrics you need to track so that you make better and more efficient decisions for the business; what sources of data should you use so that you reach your objectives?

#7. Edit and improve

Don’t let your reports remain stagnant, evolve it by adding and editing so that it delivers relevant and meaningful data to everyone who sees it. There’s a lot of planning that goes into creating a useful and relevant dashboard, but because of the very nature of businesses, expect that you will need to continuously evolve it, especially as business changes & as data sources improve.

#8.  Use the right set of tools

Research on the right tools that can give you a streamlined and effective marketing dashboard. Doing so will make sure that you get useful information and metrics consistently. Understand that not all dashboard technologies are built the same—you need to find one that will allow you to – streamline and consolidate the data sources that you need, easily add new ones, and present it all to you in a single view. Offhand, you should find one that offers ease of use, is designed with the business user in mind (meaning it’s simple enough that it won’t require heavy IT support), and is affordable.

Ready to create your own marketing dashboard and put these tips to work? Get in touch with one of our BI specialists today and request your free demo.

If you want to read more about the subject or want more tips on what to do before you purchase BI software, be sure to download this free e-book: Business Intelligence Buyers Guide, Part 1.

Click here to download “5 Mistakes Executives Make When Buying BI”

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