Well-managed companies often use a business/financial “dashboard” to track their key performance indicators (KPIs). These dashboards typically measure revenue, gross profit margin, net margin, cost per unit, revenue per customer and other metrics.

But what about the marketing side of the business? Are you tracking the right indicators? And how are they performing year-to-date compared to your objectives?

If you’re about to embark on your annual marketing planning process, a marketing dashboard will make it easier to track your marketing and sales efforts. If this year’s plan is already well under way, now is the perfect time to take stock, adjust, course correct, and learn.

To develop a marketing dashboard:

  • Clearly define your marketing objectives. What are you trying to achieve with your marketing efforts? What are your short-term and long-term marketing goals? Do they align with your company’s overall business objectives?
  • Identify the dashboard metrics. These are the key performance areas you will use to measure progress against your marketing objectives. Determine how often you will measure them and at what level of detail. Also, get clear on how you will generate the data needed to populate the dashboard, as this may require incremental internal and/or financial resources.
  • Get everyone on board. All key senior executives, especially the CEO and CFO, need to agree with and support the KPIs chosen for the dashboard.
  • Keep it simple. Limit your dashboard to six or eight of your most important KPIs. The goal is to focus on the key drivers of your marketing efforts and ensure that you track the right metrics.

Marketing often involves reinforcing or changing how your customers think about and act toward your brand. So when creating your dashboard, be sure to include KPIs that cover both attitudinal and behavioral measures. For example:

Attitudinal KPIs:

  • Brand awareness
  • Brand preference (% of customers who would consider using your brand first)
  • Customer understanding of key product or service differentiators

Behavioral KPIs:

  • Number of new customers
  • Customer retention/renewal rates
  • Sales cycle
  • Retail distribution
  • Market share
  • Cost per new customer
  • Revenue per customer
  • Lifetime value
  • Upsell/cross-sell rates

No matter where you stand in the marketing planning process, it’s never too late to build a marketing dashboard. It will help you better manage your marketing programs, identify issues and opportunities so you can quickly adjust your activities as well as help drive the development of future marketing strategies. And it will more closely align the marketing department’s efforts with your overall business objectives.

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