Maximizing the Value of Your Marketing Metrics
Guest Post: Sreeram Sreenivasan is the Founder of Ubiq
Every business tries out various marketing campaigns across different marketing channels to grow revenue as much as possible, as soon as possible. However, without immediate & measurable feedback, it is difficult to figure out what’s working and what’s not.
Marketing Dashboards enable you to track and measure marketing performance across all your marketing channels like SEO, Email, Social Media, so that you are on track to achieving your business goals. They help you tie each channel's contribution to your goals so you can stop focusing on non-responsive channels and plug the budget leaks.
You can even create channel specific marketing dashboards to get in-depth information about a particular channel such as social media or SEO, and enable your team to quickly spot performance trends.
Here are 10 criteria for highly effective Marketing Dashboards:
1. Unified view of all critical data from one place
Almost every business employs multiple channels of inbound marketing such as SEO, Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing. Marketing Executives need to see how their marketing efforts are making a difference to their business, which channels are more suitable than others and which campaigns are producing the desired results. Marketing Dashboards should let you monitor and compare performance across various marketing channels & campaigns, from one place. This will enable you to quickly see the connection between your marketing efforts, cost incurred and business output.
2. Shows performance metrics tied to business goals
An effective marketing dashboard is connected to a marketing strategy. It should help you track progress towards business goals. When the strategy is aligned to measurable business goals, it serves as a road map to track your performance. To come up with performance metrics that are tied to your business goals, work backwards from the business objectives and identify what marketing needs to do to support them. Define marketing goals in advance of campaigns, and incorporate campaign-specific measurements into the planning process. These performance metrics form the basis of the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you select for your dashboard.
3. Enables decision-making
A marketing dashboard should provide insights that help make better decisions. Actionable Dashboards help you focus on improving ROI, instead of only measuring it. With so many different channels today, marketing has become incredibly complex. This can make it difficult to measure the synergy and benefit across different channels. For a marketing dashboard to be useful, it must provide insight into the how well the overall system is working. Which marketing campaigns are working? How to optimize them? Which ones need to be refined? Which channels are the most effective? Marketing dashboards should help you find answers to these questions so you can decide how to move forward.
4. Displays information relevant to target audience
Contents of marketing dashboards should be customized for target audience. You need to ask yourself, “Who will see this dashboard and what will they look for?” SEO Marketer, CMO, Content Specialist, etc.? Different team members look for different kinds of information. For example, senior executives may like to view high level monthly numbers for each marketing channel, while Managers and Analysts may prefer more detailed information such as weekly trends & numbers for all the campaigns on each channel.
5. Models each stage of Revenue Cycle
Dashboards should help you understand your lead flow, conversion rates, and speed of closing sales. They should delve into all the expenses involved in customer value, and help improve the profit potential of each individual account and improve targeting for new customers. This will enable you to monitor the impact of your marketing efforts at each stage of your customer's journey, and tweak them to maximize your revenue.
6. Connects marketing data with other relevant data sources
One of the most effective ways to consume web analytics information is to combine it with other mission critical data that is already present in your organization. This business data stored by your app/website contains a lot of useful information about customers, products, revenues, costs, etc. It can add more relevance to your marketing data and provide better insights. Marketing Dashboards should allow you to integrate web analytics data with other organizational data sources such as sales data and marketing costs, and find out the ROI for your marketing efforts .
7. Uses historical data to highlight trends
Dashboards should allow you to conduct historical analysis of marketing & transactional data and then compare it with respective benchmarks. It enables you to analyze the impact of past marketing efforts and predict future trends.
8. Avoids Vanity Metrics
Insightful Dashboards avoid vanity metrics such as number of likes, recommendations, etc. which make you feel good but don’t provide any actionable insight. If you don’t know what you’d do when a number goes up, down or stays the same, then it’s a vanity metric and should be avoided. Select the performance metrics that your marketing team can use to measure the impact, efficiency, and value of your marketing efforts. For many businesses, these metrics relate to how well your Marketing is affecting market-share growth, customer equity & customer value. Typically, an organization will track metrics belonging to the following categories: customers (acquisition, retention, value), products (adoption, price, and margin), positioning (brand preference, market share), and finance (budget, payback).
9. Allows you to incorporate Business Logic
Dashboards should let you incorporate business logic such as specific business rules or user defined logic that is difficult to apply in web analytics tools. For example, dashboards can help in identification of new sources of traffic by comparing current data with historical information. Also, they can automatically compare your marketing KPIs against thresholds and send alerts in case they are way off. This helps you transform raw marketing data into actionable information.
10. Automates dashboard creation
Dashboard creation should be automated. There are so many channels of marketing and the data from each channel updates so frequently that it can be overwhelming to manually create dashboards every time. Dashboard Automation improves productivity, allows an organization to focus its resources on the analysis of data and the explanation of dashboards instead of manual generation of reports.
Bonus: Easy to share and responsive
Dashboards are most effective when you can share them with your team. Different stakeholders access dashboards through different platforms and devices. For instance, Analysts and Marketers use wide screens whereas Executives mostly rely on phones & tablets. To make the most of your dashboards, they should be easy to share & responsive. A responsive interface lets you build once and view anywhere, anytime.
Hopefully, this gives you a few specific ideas for getting started with the development of Marketing dashboards or improving your current dashboards to maximize their value.
Sreeram Sreenivasan is the Founder of Ubiq, a new Business Intelligence & Reporting Application. Before Ubiq, he has helped Fortune 500 companies in various BI & Data Analysis projects.