Over the last few years I have really come to appreciate the value of data for driving and aligning what marketing does within an organization. In the past, I would use data to let me know what I needed to do to improve my tactical efforts and show other people whether or not something was successful. Since so few marketers leveraged data in their projects, it was an “ego thing” for me: I called it my ‘data stick.’ I have since learned that data is best used as a collaborative tool rather than a tool for showing off.
Let me share with some of the best ways I have found to leverage data for improving your programs and the company in general. I have some marketing metrics dashboard examples for you, but first we need to think about who we are sharing with, why they need the data, and what they need.
Let us first think about the data you want to share with the broadest group of people in your organization: the company key performance indicator (KPI) Dashboard.
You want to share a metric that’s both easy to understand and highlights whether or not marketing is fulfilling on their goals or if there are difficulties in reaching those goals. You want the metric in context with other company metrics, so people can understand the marketing to sales hand-off within the funnel. You may need to give context as to how your goals are calculated, so understand your cohorts and assumptions (ex. first touch leads, new sales meetings sets, and marketing qualified leads delivered to sales.).
The main marketing KPI is the metric that is the most clearly owned by marketing. It is likely leads captured, or form fill-outs. It may be the number of sales opportunities or pipeline dollars delivered this quarter. Just be clear and consistent - it is ok to have simple explanations and context setting.
The next group you want to have high level KPI tracking is your marketing team itself. They want to see KPI visualizations that show how they, as a group, are achieving their goals. So, it is far more detailed than what you show the entire company in the company KPI dashboard.
You will want this marketing dashboard to reflect achievement to goal by the subgroups, regions, segments, and channels. For example, at Looker we look at the achievement to goal by acquisition medium (ex. online, trade shows, email), business segment (ex. small and mid-sized businesses, enterprise), regions (USA, EMEA, APAC), and subregion (UK, France, Eastern US, Western US, etc.).
This detail allows me as the team leader to help divert funds and resources from areas that are overperforming to areas that are underperforming. It also helps to provide the team with a unified goal, so we are working together—not against each other, and it makes it easy for our team to show other groups how our efforts are working at a detail level. We make these dashboards available to all, so that people have an idea of what we do and know we are not hiding anything.
If we are doing well, great! If we aren’t, we can dig in together to uncover what is going wrong. It also allows me to easily highlight to other people in the organization if we have a future pipeline issue. Most of the time when there is an issue, it is an issue with how the data is being captured, tagged, and tracked. On rare occasions, we’ve found that we have just had a hard time generating interest in a region, and I can talk to other teams with data and less emotion.
A note on tracking ROI: it depends on your business.
If you are in a mature company, you want to be able to show ROI as much as possible because you probably have restricted resources and want to show ROI for what you do. If you are in a growth stage company, I would suggest look at a rolling 12-18 months window of ROI and do not look at it every day or week. This is because you have limited data, so it is not smooth. You probably also have marketing efforts that are too young to look good and profitable. Looking at ROI too early will cause you to stop doing something that might just take awhile to turn into a won customers.
OK, now that you have your best KPI dashboards for sharing and tracking how the large effort of marketing is doing, you now want to dig into some nice detail data so you and your team can figure out how to optimize the programs and tactics. Just like the team tracking KPI tracking above, it depends on your programs and how your company does business.
For any established or growing concerns, you will want to drill into a specific audience and understand how different regions, business units, or segments perform.
At Looker, we are now to the point that we need to know how marketing efforts in a specific region are working. With sales teams serving only specific geographic regions, the ability to round robin leads and opportunities is becoming more difficult. So, like the team KPI tracking, we have regional KPI tracking dashboards.
You need to determine what is most important for your company and team. What are the sales territories that need attention? What business lines need specific tracking? What segment of customers has reached a size that can show trends?
One of the best ways for the marketing program managers to optimize their programs is to have a dashboard specific to their program. By analysing data specific to a program, a marketing manager can confidently make changes. These dashboards are not viewed by many people within an organization. This is because it is at such a detail level that few people really understand it or need to understand the assumptions, metrics, goals and achievements. But, it will be invaluable if each of your managers is looking at data and improving their area. All of those small optimization add up to big improvements on the team dashboards. To learn more about dashboards for programs, read how one of our Demand Generations Managers has built her Demand Gen dashboard.
This small portfolio of marketing dashboards, whether they are visual dashboards or dashboards of tabular data are key to the success of your marketing team. You can uncover issues early through the consistent tracking of KPI and you can celebrate success.