How to Build Your Industrial Marketing Dashboard

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Dashboards: Measurement, accountability and effectiveness for all your industrial marketing efforts.

I’ve written before about making SMART goals to find industrial marketing success – goals which are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-framed. Today I’m going to focus on the “measurable” element of SMART goals.

There is a lot of talk these days about dashboards. I’ve had a recent client, perhaps slightly overwhelmed by all of the data available, make a seemingly-simple request to have a “single dashboard” that displayed all relevant marketing data.

Marketing automation software such as Act-On and Hubspot, coupled with Google Analytics, makes it easy to track website statistics and social automation software such as ManageFlitter and HootSuite make it easy to track social media statistics.

Now, all you have to do is pull it all together.

Sounds simple, right? Wrong.

The difficulty with marketing data is that there are so many things that are measurable in this day and age that it’s often difficult to ignore all the noise and get to what matters.

Website visits, email opens, lead conversion rate. How do we keep it all straight?

Laura Patterson does a good job of explaining how to overcome this challenge and develop a custom dashboard in a MarketingProfs blog post:

Acquiring data is not the challenge many organizations are facing these days. Information overload is a part of everyone’s life. The trick is to gather essential information without getting bogged down by information that isn’t helpful.

The best way to do that is to align business outcomes with your marketing efforts so you can focus on metrics that matter to you and the rest of the leadership team. Those outcomes and associated metrics are the foundation for your dashboard. Everything on the dashboard should, in some way, tie back to those outcomes and metrics, and show how well Marketing is moving the needle.

My advice is to keep it simple at first. When building your dashboard, start with identifying metrics that you already measure. Take an inventory of what you’re already able to measure, and if you’re analyzing it properly.

You may realize you already have some of the pieces of the puzzle, but just need to assemble them. Build a simple spreadsheet that can be updated relatively easily. After all, what good is a dashboard if you’re wasting hours on end updating it? You can always go back and add to your dashboard as your reporting technology advances.

Building an end-all, be-all dashboard is kind of like chasing the leprechaun and his pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, and the amount of data can be overwhelming. But that shouldn’t stop industrial marketing professionals from working with what they have.

What good are goals if we can’t measure our progress toward them?

photo credit: Alekcander via photopin cc

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