Enhancing Marketing Dashboard Effectiveness: 10 Steps

January 7, 2020 Moira Freeman

Across organizations—from R&D to sales and marketing—professionals are looking to AI and machine learning applications to transform how they create and consume insights to help deliver the right information to the right users at the right time.

The use of AI and machine learning is just one way marketing KPI dashboards are changing. Other changes include the increasing maturation of big data, social media technologies, cloud computing, and mobility.
Companies are trying to make the most of the possibilities of digital—whether targeting prospective customers more precisely or establishing a competitive advantage in today’s complex business environment.

Along with this comes added pressure to modernize marketing KPI dashboards so that they fully support business functions. Organizations can see the transformation of traditional marketing KPI dashboards, as they reach back into supply chains and out to consumers in new and improved ways.

Let’s have a look at next-generation marketing campaign performance metrics and how brands can make the most of their marketing KPI dashboards.

Measuring What’s Important to Your Business

Many marketing KPI dashboards provide data that isn’t as effective as it could be. Instead of being driven by the right technologies coupled with actionable insights, less-capable dashboards can overwhelm users with unnecessary information, causing needless questions and confusion.

By following these 10 guidelines, you can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your marketing KPI dashboard.

1. Define the Right Marketing Metrics For Your Business

The easiest mistake when dealing with marketing KPI dashboards is to assume you know the right marketing metrics. Guesswork and assumptions can lead to disappointment and a negative ROI.

To be actionable, you need to define the top marketing metrics used by your organization to manage marketing, advertising, or media spend across channels and media platforms (print, TV, radio, digital).

Choose the marketing metrics that are relevant to your unique business. Actionable KPIs include revenue, incrementality, Lifetime Customer Value, and brand equity among others. Define the KPIs that matter most to your organization’s success.

2. Understand Challenges Associated with Marketing KPIs

Developing marketing KPIs that support business objectives and deliver clear actionable insights is critical to revenue growth. However, this process can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming. 

Challenges associated with marketing KPIs include:

  • Inability to produce timely KPI reports and dashboards due to sourcing data from multiple systems and departments.
  • Difficulty designing KPI dashboards that tell deeper stories and drive specific actions. This is largely due to the fact that data is simply collected and not acted on. 
  • Misalignment on which KPIs to measure and what actions to take, resulting in analysis without action. 
  • Understanding the cause and effect relationship between KPIs and objectives.

3. Define the Optimal Marketing KPI Solution

To improve marketing performance and transform the customer experience, a marketing KPI dashboard needs to be fully contained, seamlessly integrated, flexible, visual, actionable and predictive.

An optimal KPI dashboard should:

  • Allow you to automate data entry rather than manually entering data from disparate systems.
  • Enable users to view a variety of presentations for different groups within one system. 
  • Predict and/or offer future scenarios or use cases and not just report on the past.

4. Highlight the Top Five Predictive Use Cases

Performance marketing KPI dashboards should be designed to drive future actions. This means highlighting the top five predictive use cases.

This stage typically involves:

  • Developing a number of use cases to account for situational variance and dependencies.
  • Discussing the process of testing, ramping up and optimizing product launches as well as related “Go/No Go” launch decisions.
  • Laying out the groundwork for developing future revenue and profitability scenarios from new and existing customers.

5. Develop a Marketing Dashboard That Serves as a “Single Source of Truth”

Too often, marketing dashboards try to provide users with opposing views on current results. While different views of what is happening now and why can be suitable in some situations, marketers need a dashboard that aggregates, communicates and actions a “Single Source of Truth”.

To achieve a Single-Source-of-Truth dashboard you need to answer the following questions:

  • How can your organization rally around proven and accepted outcomes, cause and effect relationships and an aligned plan for the future?
  • How does your organization align internally to a “single source of truth,” allowing it to take confident and cohesive steps to achieve even greater results?

An effective Single-Source-of-Truth marketing dashboard should support:

  • On-going cross-functional engagement, input, usage, and alignment
  • On-going planning, strong resource allocation, defined purpose and visible leadership commitment
  • On-going data and technology evolution, including accurate Data Management Platforms (DMPs), Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and/or Customer Intelligence Platforms (CIPs)

6. Use a Proper Marketing Performance Tracker

You need to use a marketing performance tracker that can provide the insights to understand how your marketing activities are performing, and what changes to make to improve performance. 

Marketing Intelligence Explorer (MIE) from Nielsen, for instance, is one such solution. It’s a web-based marketing performance tracker that delivers critical information into what’s driving your business such as volume, effectiveness, and return on investment. This allows marketers to drill down to the media types, campaigns, products, time periods and other dimensions that impact performance.

7. Understand External Benchmarks for Performance Marketing Dashboards

With differing levels of external benchmarks (think email click-through, site conversion, cost-per-click, channel conversion, etc.), it’s important to define and address the following questions:

  • What specific external benchmarks should your marketing dashboard have built into it? 
  • What are the most important or most critical external benchmarks for your marketing dashboard?
  • What are the least important or “nice-to-have” external benchmarks?
  • If you could pick one “WOW” external benchmark, what would that be?

If you don’t understand these external benchmarks and what they mean, your performance marketing dashboard is less likely to inspire action.

8. Have a Process to Create and Leverage Performance Marketing Benchmarks

Most marketers do not have a well-established benchmark process in place. Many rely on agencies and consultants with limited access to data.

Based on our findings, we discovered three somewhat startling facts:

  • Marketers don’t feel confident proposing benchmarks.
  • Agencies are commonly asked for benchmark reporting but avoid it due to perceived risk.
  • A moderate percentage of marketers normally have some form of benchmarking process in place. This tends to occur in highly competitive CPG categories.

You need to have a formal process to establish benchmarks for your performance marketing dashboard to ensure that it has a clear impact on decision making and actually drives future resource planning.

9. Choose Your Key Success Criteria

As the marketing world becomes more digital, marketers will have to readjust so as to thrive. This will require marketers to:

  • Move away from vanity metrics to business metrics such as LTV and Positive Brand Health.
  • Be authentic, credible and transparent.
  • Be customer-focused (personalized, custom, local).
  • Understand, leverage and disrupt channels seamlessly and positively (be it retail, offline, online, mobile, or partnerships).

Ultimately, this will provide a yardstick with which to measure success in today’s ever-changing and complex marketing world.

10. Move Into Implementation

After you’ve defined and prioritized marketing KPIs, benchmarks and goals/outcomes, you now need to move into implementation, execution, and ongoing reporting/business management. 

As you embark on this next phase, you must understand that operational success and implementation of dashboards requires gut, consistency, insight, action, perseverance, communication, internal/external resources, and proactive landmine avoidance.  

You have to define the top areas to operationalize change management, communication of value, definition of goals and targets, and identification of team/resources.

Preparing for a Change

Organizations need to be adaptable, smart, agile, and ever ready for disruption and change in this evolving marketplace. Technology will certainly continue to drive new solutions, opportunities, and advances in marketing. 

For your brand to succeed requires designing your marketing KPI dashboard around the right performance metrics and technologies to not only improve product and supply chains but also transform the customer experience.

From our point of view, it is a true market opportunity. Robust marketing KPI dashboards are changing the way companies view and interact with marketing, sales, management, and products.

Most importantly they are enabling organizations to understand customers and their pain points easily. Ensuring customers are always satisfied, is, more often than not, a reliable route to profitability.

However, for marketing KPIs to be truly effective, you have to ensure that you fully understand the challenges associated with them, then formulate a plan and adjust as needed. Also, don’t be afraid to be different. Measure what’s important to your company, not what everyone is measuring.

Want to learn how Nielsen can help you develop marketing KPIs that directly tie to your business objectives and deliver clear actionable insights? Request more information today.  

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