By Committee Member Alice Laurens.
Now that we have had a better understanding of the importance of marketing metrics for an organisation, and how to measure customer satisfaction levels; let’s now focus in this last article on the importance of building marketing accountability with a marketing dashboard.
In previous articles, we have already seen that having the right marketing metrics in place will help to have focus and better staff engagement, a better vision, help decision-making and will definitely contribute in having better performance (Koller et al, 2005). After the metrics are chosen, it is crucial to make sure they are shared in a simple, clear and straightforward way to stakeholders and senior management, to ensure the credibility and accountability of the marketing function across the whole organisation (Patterson, 2015). A marketing dashboard is the ideal tool to use to achieve this purpose.
A marketing dashboard is a visual display of most important information needed at a glance to achieve defined marketing objectives (CIM definition). Using a dashboard is a great way of building employees’ engagement as it makes explicit the link between their contribution and the business results and the overall strategy. To be efficient, a dashboard needs to be updated on a regular basis; for instance, it could be done weekly at the first stages of a new product launch.
A marketing dashboard needs to show only selected and relevant metrics, linked to defined marketing objectives. This will help assess at a glance if the company is on track to achieve the marketing objectives. No more than 3 objectives should be shown on the dashboard, otherwise it can be become crowded with information and difficult to read. It is often recommended to use plenty of colours, sometimes a “traffic light system” or smiley faces could be used. If the dashboard is all green, it means that the company is on track at a glance! If some areas show red lights, it means corrective actions need to be undertaken as soon as possible. The dashboard is here to only present the main performance highlights; if further information is required this can be done remotely.
For instance, a marketing dashboard could be created to track the performance of a new product launch; as a product launch has a direct impact on the company’s performance and image. Stakeholders as well as the management team need to have a clear understanding of the current new product performance, and therefore have access to simple tools providing them with main trends and results at a glance to facilitate well-informed decision-making. Focussing on a limited number of simple, relevant and easy to measure metrics is the way to go to ensure a successful assessment of the product launch.
When creating a marketing dashboard, it is crucial to ensure that showed information is easy to understand and has a direct impact on the marketing objectives. Obviously choosing the right lead and lag indicators are the first essential step before building a dashboard. The metrics used in the dashboard shall be easy to source and measure, to make it easy to update it on a regular basis. Most often, data sources are the company’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system or national sales databases. Marketing academics recommend that a marketing dashboard does not exceed a side of A4 paper, and is followed by a short summary highlighting the main findings from the dashboard. The frequency of pulling out a marketing dashboard can be re-evaluated on a regular basis, depending on the level of customer knowledge needed by the management team.
A well-built marketing dashboard will contribute to gaining better customer insights on the company and could therefore help improve a company’s range of products and services. It will also highly contribute in building marketing accountability across the whole organisation.
CIM Marketing Metrics Module Guide
Koller . T and Dobbas , R (2005) , Measuring long – term performance , Available from : http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/corporate_finance/measuring_long-term_performance
Paterson, L. (2015) Achieve credibility and influence with marketing performance measurement. Brand Quarterly, 3 July.