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3 Best Practices for Optimizing a Marketing Dashboard

Analytics dashboards are a critical resource for marketing teams that help support performance tracking, strategic planning, and data-driven decision-making. However, many B2B companies are not applying best practices for optimization in the construction and application of their marketing dashboards.

At Fjuri, we have analyzed many companies’ marketing dashboards, and found that there are some common oversights that are limiting their operational potential:

  1. A lack of synchronized data definitions across functions
  2. Vanity metrics are driving decisions instead of performance KPIs
  3. Restricted cross-functional stakeholder alignment upon creation of a marketing dashboard

So, what needs to be considered when creating and optimizing a marketing dashboard?

A marketing dashboard requires cross-team alignment on what data means

If data conventions are not agreed upon and shared, this risks a lack of shared understanding of what is driving pipeline and revenue between Marketing and Sales/Finance. Ensuring that all teams have a clear and present understanding of what the data in a dashboard represents is key to dashboard optimization.

Furthermore, for the data to be representative, it must be clean. Dirty data leads to falsification in your marketing dashboard, rendering it unreliable in the decision-making process and expanding the potential for the lack of a shared understanding between teams. Companies that have not got a system for managing data hygiene are not ready to create a marketing dashboard and should look to resolve this first.

According to the 2021 NewVantage Big Data and AI Executive Survey, only 24% have created a data-driven organization. Despite changing attitudes towards data (the same survey reports a 40% increase in data investment acceleration since the 2020 survey), many are failing to successfully integrate data-driven systems into their organizations.

Trusting the data to be correct, complete, and consistent is a key part of being able to rely on your marketing dashboard in everyday use. If this trust is not there, assumptions could be made based on past experiences and human error will replace your organization’s SOPs.

A marketing dashboard must focus on the right KPIs

In order for dashboard users to find value in your dashboard, the metrics you include should be tailored towards your audience. What does your audience need to know and how much detail will they need are two questions you should ask yourself when choosing dashboard metrics. Decision-makers must use KPIs that are actionable and tied to repeatable tasks and specific strategic goals, instead of vanity metrics that do not drive a prospect further down the funnel. For example, focusing on Impressions over Cost-per-Conversion (CPC) would show your campaign is being seen, but not acted on, therefore telling a very different story that does not focus on moving prospects further down the funnel.

A common mistake that organizations make when creating a dashboard is trying to track and measure too many metrics within a single dashboard. While it is important to track as much data as possible, that does not mean that all your data must wind up in your dashboard. Remove excessive metrics from your dashboard to allow a clear, but actionable dataset.If your stakeholders feel it necessary to incorporate all metrics, consider creating an ‘All-Star Tab’, with what you believe to be the performance driving KPI’s, with links to separate reports that include all metrics. This way, your teams are pointed in the right direction while providing the option to view more familiar (but less useful) metrics.

Marketing dashboard creation and training must involve key stakeholders

A dashboard must be planned with your organization’s objectives and the end user’s experience in mind. Individual stakeholders should work with the analyst from the beginning, to ascertain the best way to represent the relevant data. This contributes to the cross-team alignment that is required to use the marketing dashboard efficiently.

For example, your Marketing and Sales leaders have built a marketing dashboard that reflects the overall conversion rates, ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) and Revenue of various digital acquisition campaigns. The individual marketing teams responsible for each medium are then introduced, and it transpires that there is a need for the ability to analyze the data at a campaign level as well as the channel. There is now a compromise required on how to best integrate this level of specificity into the existing marketing dashboard. This could influence its rollout, adoption, and eventual success.

One example of a potential pitfall is the knock-on effect on the training that supports the rollout. Imagine in this scenario that the training guides are not adequately updated with the addition of campaign analysis on top of the original channel analysis. Anyone not involved in the changes will now receive incorrect training, and the potential of the dashboard may not be realized.

All relevant stakeholders must be involved in creating a marketing dashboard. This creates a universal understanding and agreement of the end-user experience from the beginning. Marketing dashboards require a healthy data culture to be effective: clean data, appropriate KPIs, and a holistic approach to creating the dashboard and SOPs. A marketing dashboard could be harmful to an organization without these key components.

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