5 Future-Proofing Use Cases for a Marketing Dashboard

December 17, 2019 Anne Curtin

The interconnection of digital technologies such as big data and analytics, artificial intelligence, social media, machine learning, mobility, augmented reality, virtual reality is transforming the way consumers interact with brands.

The marketing environment is becoming increasingly complex, especially when it comes to understanding market trends, target audiences, the customer journey, and buying behavior.
 
According to our 2018 CMO Report, almost 80% of CMOs reported that they would invest more in marketing analytics and attribution in 2019. The same study noted that a majority of CMOs (74%) have little to no confidence that they have the right technology in place to achieve their marketing goals.
 
Measuring insights with customer relationship management (CRM) tools used to be ‘enough’ for organizations. Not anymore. In today’s highly competitive business landscape, marketing professionals must dig deeper. You need to take a holistic approach and work at the intersection of organizational data, experience, and digital technology to execute customer strategies, predict future trends and achieve bottom lines at scale.

Digging deeper requires the ability to report on performance across channels in near real-time to get accurate and actionable insights. And this means building a marketing performance dashboard.

A marketing performance dashboard sets the tone for cross-functional teams (think sales, operations and marketing) to collaborate effectively for the greater good. A dashboard that is integrated into your business processes will support business decisions to improve the customer experience and establish a competitive advantage.

Making Sure Your Dashboard Supports Your Business Goals

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to business, including marketing performance dashboards. Expectations of what a dashboard should include—and how it will help the business—vary depending on company type (B2B or B2C), size, scale, and growth phase.

What matters most is using a solution that makes sense for what you want to achieve. It can be challenging to find the approach that works best. That’s why we asked a group of business leaders and marketing experts to weigh in on what works for them. 

These executives described their wish list for a predictive dashboard:

  • Provide marketing analysts with different windows of time at different times of day to allow them to keep track of current campaign performance easily, customized to filter information by role.
  • Simplify data presentation, especially as the complexity of data increases. This means showing a reduced number of pages and data points.
  • Produce easy-to-consume reports to reduce time spent looking at dashboards.
  • Recommend a clear call-to-action defined by real-time user actions.
  • Predict trends based on social listening. Today, social listening tools reveal key topics being discussed, but analysis is still done manually to derive insights. Performance marketing dashboards should be able to predict trends for the future in terms of societal changes, lifestyle changes, and technology changes.

Top Five Use Cases for Performance Marketing Dashboards

Having clear metrics and accurate measurement techniques are essential to a successful business. Presenting key performance indicators (KPIs) using a dashboard is vital for any marketer, but having a dashboard simply to have one isn’t the best strategy.

One of the most powerful uses of a dashboard is to help marketers make predictions. Here are five ways marketers use dashboards to help them chart a course of action.

1. Predict Profitability

One common application is using your dashboard to gain insights into revenue. If done right, you can use your dashboard to predict profitability by using current data, then extrapolating future scenarios based on hypothetical circumstances.

Himanshu Bharadwaj, creative director, noted, “Predictive modeling is going to be very useful in the future. This will look at data from the industry, competitors and create a decision tree-like prediction. This will help CMOs look at various options and evaluate their possible success rates.”

2. Optimize Product Launch

Another use case is related to testing new products and optimizing product launches. Marketing consultant Laureen Schroeder said, “‘To launch or not to launch?’ is a use case that aids in determining whether or note to launch a product or line-extension as well as the best timeframe to do so.”

3. Inform Marketing Strategy

One of the most frequent use cases for a predictive dashboard is to gather and display the performance of all marketing channels in one place. When marketers set up their campaigns properly and have the ability to track performance, they can pull performance data from all channels (paid search, display, TV, social media, etc.) into a master predictive dashboard.

A dashboard can also give marketers ammunition to justify their decisions and allocate budget for various marketing tasks. Marketing consultant Jane Davel suggested, "Use a predictive marketing dashboard after a small-scale trial has been run to assist the organization in future marketing campaigns on a much larger scale."

4. Understand the Customer Lifetime Value

Marketers can also use a predictive dashboard to understand customer lifetime value. You can easily calculate customer lifetime value by measuring KPIs such as the cost to add a new customer, retention rate, and number of customers year-over-year.

5. Facilitate Forecasting

A predictive marketing dashboard is also used by marketing, sales and operations teams for better forecasting. Based on historical campaign data, marketers can improve KPIs such as cost per lead, driving ad engagement, conversion rates, and even upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

According to Laura Maurice, SVP Sales, “Sales forecasting can be ultra time-consuming for time-starved leaders. An automated, predictive dashboard that computes historical data by product, by sales rep can give management proper predictions for the future (long term!) with fact-based data that finance can get onboard with.”

Keeping Up with the Pace of Change

The rate at which emerging technologies are changing consumer behavior and the business landscape means marketing dashboards need to be able to track what is happening at the same speed. 

Marketers need the ability to adjust KPIs quickly and respond nimbly to shifts in competitive or consumer behavior. Marketers in seasonal industries or those that are dependent on trends may want a one-stop solution that not only provides insights but also integrates newsfeeds.

Himanshu Bharadwaj, creative director, said, “There is a need to include newsfeeds within dashboards. Newsfeeds and articles will become part of dashboards. They will be aggregated within the dashboards so that marketing professionals do not have to go outside on several platforms to consume their daily information.”
 
He added, “Artificial intelligence along with machine learning algorithms will be used to highlight insights within these stories. Behavioral indicators and notifications of exceptional events will be part of these stories.”

Looking Ahead

To keep up with the pace and the magnitude of change in today’s highly competitive business environment, you cannot afford to depend on traditional approaches for assessing performance by channel or customer segments.
 
Instead, you need a robust marketing performance dashboard that will help your brand leverage the latest digital technologies, organize your strategies with a view for your end customers, and accurately predict the future.
 
What prediction tools are you currently using? What’s your opinion on the future use of marketing dashboards? Are you getting the most out of your dashboard?

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