What Should a Marketing Dashboard Contain?

By Matt Steffen | Daily Marketing Advice

You know you need to monitor your Marketing System with a dashboard, but what should your Marketing Dashboard contain?

The chief goal of any dashboard is twofold: to track and improve your Marketing System

A marketing dashboard can go by many names. For example, at The Marketing Agency we call our marketing dashboards "Marketing Portals."

The name is not nearly important as the function of these powerful tools for your Marketing System which is growing your business!

 

Get the Numbers

First and foremost your marketing portal should clearly display all of the relevant metrics to all of your active marketing campaigns

Some campaigns are easier to track than others. For example, you can track the impressions of a Facebook advertising campaign down to the second, but good luck seeing how many impressions your radio advertisement got this morning.

Nevertheless, it is vitally important for you to understand all of your metrics as close to real-time as possible

Naturally, you're not tracking marketing metrics for the sake of tracking marketing metrics but rather in order to get the vital intelligence needed to improve the performance of your marketing system. 

For example, if you are tracking the return on investment (ROI) of a billboard ad versus a radio ad you're running, you clearly want to see the following metrics to guide your decision on which ad will be most effective:

  1. How many customers each campaign created
  2. How much revenue each campaign created minus the total amount spent on the ad

(I know this sounds like common sense, but I have been marketing for over 20 years and hardly any small business owners actually do it!)

Very simply, think of your entire Marketing System as nothing but a competition between runners. Except the runners are actual advertisements, and how much revenue they produce is how quickly they finish the race versus the other runner (ad).

That is why if you are doing a good job creating and managing your campaigns, every day you look at your Marketing Portal should be exciting because you're looking at which ads are performing best

When we are measuring ads at The Marketing Agency, we like to include an image of the ad above the actual metrics.

This ensures our client and team can quickly see which ad is performing best while instantly giving our team ideas for the next ad that should be created and tested.

The only warning I would give you is do not drown yourself in numbers! The best advice I ever received regarding how to improve business performance is to identify and track 5 keys numbers vital to your organization. 

Of course, each business will have different numbers.

For example, Candy Crush (a social media platform game) measures how many new subscribers they get each day, and how much time each subscriber spends playing the game, as their most important metrics for success.

So spend some time thinking about which critical numbers you should be using to determine the success for each of your marketing campaigns, and set them up in your Marketing Portal as soon as possible!

 

Storage

There is probably nothing worse than having to search through emails, computer files and Cloud folders in order to retrieve key branding materials such as a brochure PDF or even your logo.

This is why it is critical that your Marketing Portal house all of your key marketing and branding files.

I recommend separating these folders. For example, your branding material folder should have seperate folders within it for your logos (holiday logos, logos in different colors, etc), social media images, event materials (brochures, signs, business cards), etc.

This ensures you can quickly and easily access the files you need for yourself and your team.

Next, I recommend you have 3 folders for your ads.

One folder should contain ads that are pending your approval. This is where you and your team can house ads that have not yet been approved by by the key decision maker(s).

This is extremely useful when communicating with your team.

Next, I recommend you have a folder where all of your active ads are stored. This is a useful place to store your ads once they have been approved so you can quickly view them if you need to.

Next, I recommend you have a folder for all of your best-performing ads.

What we know is certain ads perform better during certain times of the year. You can easily break this down into 12 separate folders for each month, or break it down to 4 folders for each quarter of the year. This is dependent on how successful each of your ads is for what time frame.

For example, we find our pool installation companies have ads that perform consistently well based on the quarter. This is because seasons usually run every 3 months, and so buying behavior follows this pattern and many others as well such as holidays, election years, etc. 

With most companies, each quarter requires a different pitch to your target market based on these seasonal patterns, and that's why you want to track which ads perform best during different each period of time so each year you can revisit these ads as a guide to improve your marketing efforts.

 

Maps

Many companies serving a specific geographical area must have a map in their marketing portal that displays the different areas they are serving.

This is one of the newest features we have added to our own Marketing Portal, and the response from our Clients has been extremely positive.

All too often you will be in the habit of delivering services and/or products to specific areas and not realizing you are missing key opportunities to open up your distribution to neighboring areas that may be more profitable than where your marketing efforts are targeting now.

It's always good to take a thousand foot view of everything you're doing, especially when it concerns geography!

 

Communications 

The next feature I highly recommend is a form that quickly communicates your needs to your marketing team 
 
For example, at the bottom of our Clients' Marketing Portal, there is a form where they can communicate with our entire team regarding everything they need from their marketing system including:
 
  • Increasing their ad budget  for specific campaigns
  • Approving new materials or requesting changes to existing materials
  • Requesting new campaigns such as email marketing, billboards or branding materials
  • Submitting special offers that new campaigns need to be built around 
  • Sending logins or access requests
  • Etc.
 
Now, instead of continually creating and sending emails, you'll have a template for all communications that allows you to quickly communicate to your team without wasting time on redundancies.
 

 

News

There should always be a section in your Marketing Portal where the chief decision-maker can communicate new information to everybody viewing the dashboard 
 
For example, if you’re dealing with aBoard of Directors and you wish to let them know that new ads are in the process of being produced, you can easily do so from the "News" area of your Marketing Portal. 
 

 

Accounting 

Your accountant should be able to open your Marketing Portal and instantly access the total amount being spent on all of your marketing efforts.
 
If your business was a professional baseball team, then dollars are the actual points on the board and so if you're not tracking the score, you’re not really running a competitive business.
 

 

Conclusion 

We spent a great deal of time developing a Marketing Portal that helps guide and improve the marketing efforts for all of our clients.
 
As a result of our research, we have seen multitudes of marketing dashboards that were nothing more than fancy graphs and meaningless numbers. 
 
 Most people love a shiny, beautiful sports car, but when you’re going into battle, you need a big scary tank. 
 
So at the end of the day, always ensure your Marketing Portal is effective in guiding actionable steps to increase your revenue, and not just a shiny piece of multicolored crap that is touting your occupational vanity. 

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