Tips and guidance on how to create focused, high impact marketing dashboards.

Kim was the third presenter to the CMO during the monthly leadership meeting. As the new head of digital marketing for a mid-size B2B manufacturing company, she had no shortage of metrics and data at her fingertips. Despite having good market share, the company was in a pitched battle for profitability. She knew the CMO didn’t have time for a data expedition.

She had to show how digital marketing was driving profitable growth through qualified leads.

Luckily, Kim’s previous manager had drilled into her some best practices in marketing measurement and marketing dashboards along with the need to keep measurement focused on the few metrics that mean the difference between success or failure of the business.

So her dashboard showed revenue from new marketing leads at the top (KPI#1).

Then it showed volume of LinkedIn traffic to the site because that’s where high value buyers went to learn about products in their industry from discussion boards (KPI #2).

Then it showed total marketing qualified leads because that was the best indicator of marketing’s contribution to pipeline growth (KPI #3).

Her dashboard also showed Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) by channel because she wanted profitable customers, not high churn deadbeats (KPI #4).

And lastly she included Acquisition Cost by channel to show how her team was efficiently capturing high value leads (KPI #5).

And while the two presenters before Kim showed spreadsheet after spreadsheet of data, Kim focused on the few metrics that really matter. Let’s breakdown what made Kim’s measurement plan great:

Focus on business priorities

Profitability was key to the business so instead of including lots of revenue metrics as KPIs, Kim focused on efficent use of resources (Acquisition cost) and ability to attract high value customers (lifetime value).

Change metrics as needed

As the business changes so too should your KPIs. Kim used Linked traffic as her go-to source for traffic but that might change to an industry forum if that proves to be a better source of quality traffic. In reality your KPIs should be changing every 6-9 months. Seasonality can also impact what KPIs show up on the dashboard.

Foster crucial conversations

Presenting a deluge of data obscures the important discussions that need to happen about performance. Why is a certain number going in the wrong direction? Do we need more resources? Better strategy? When you show up with only a handful of critical KPIs that truly matter to business success then you’re maximizing the brain power around the table when it comes to deciding how to move forward.

Sidebar: Metrics vs. KPIs

Metrics are any number or ratio that you use to measure something. Revenue is a metric. Pageviews is a metric. Daily new subscribers is a metric. KPIs are the chosen few metrics that really, really matter to the business. If you need market share, net new customers will likely be a KPI.

And KPIs are not static because business is not static.