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10 Ways to Make Your Marketing Dashboard Great by BECKON

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We marketers are masterful storytellers. But when it comes time to show an internal audience how marketing is performing, we pile on the spreadsheets and data points with little context or key takeaways.

It’s time we take control of the marketing story—because it won’t tell itself. Learn how to engage teams, persuade stakeholders and drive action by turning your marketing dashboard into a storytelling canvas.

Published in: Marketing
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10 Ways to Make Your Marketing Dashboard Great by BECKON

  1. 1. ENGAGE, PERSUADE AND DRIVE ACTION WITH A POWERFUL STORY OF MARKETING PERFORMANCE 10 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR MARKETING DASHBOARD GREAT
  2. 2. 2 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM WE MARKETERS ARE MASTERFUL STORYTELLERS 3 TAKE CONTROL OF THE MARKETING STORY 4 PLAN YOUR STORY IN ADVANCE VIA STORYBOARDING 6 MAKE SURE EVERY CHART ANSWERS A BUSINESS QUESTION 8 ADD CONTEXT VIA COMPARISONS AND BENCHMARKS 10 BRING YOUR DATA TO LIFE WITH IMAGES AND VIDEO 12 USE A VARIETY OF CHART TYPES 14 WEAVE IN THE VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER 14 SHOWCASE YOUR MARKETING EXPERTISE 16 INCLUDE AN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 16 SHARE YOUR STORY 18 CONTENTS
  3. 3. 3 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM WE MARKETERS ARE MASTERFUL STORYTELLERS. We spend countless hours obsessing over the stories we tell our customers. We create elaborate briefs planning out what we want our target audience to think, feel and believe after they see our work. We hone and perfect the message across every touchpoint. Yet when it’s time to show an internal audience (like the CEO or CFO) how marketing is performing, our Shakespearian storytelling skills evaporate. We pile on the charts, spreadsheets and data points with little context and few takeaways. “As you can see ….” Stop. No one can see. Yes, marketing is becoming more data-driven. And presenting clean, accurate data is essential—but it’s not sufficient. Data on its own doesn’t tell the story of marketing performance. Marketers need to tell the story of marketing performance. And here’s how to do it.
  4. 4. 4 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM TAKE CONTROL OF THE MARKETING STORY Traditionally, marketing has handed off responsibility for marketing analytics and reporting to IT. The assumption being that if the marketing data was good, whatever story was buried in that data would tell itself. But here’s the thing: • The story doesn’t tell itself. • IT doesn’t really understand marketing. • Marketers these days are under more pressure than ever to tie marketing activities to business impact. • The emergence of generic data visualization tools and purpose-built marketing performance management platforms make it easy for marketers to be the storytellers of their own success. Given these realities, why continue to entrust IT with the crucial task of telling the true story of marketing performance and its impact on the business? If it all sounds a little daunting, take heart: The more familiar you get with data and data analysis, the more you realize that in the end, performance reporting is storytelling. And storytelling is something marketers were born to do. 1
  5. 5. 5 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM
  6. 6. 6 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM PLAN YOUR STORY IN ADVANCE VIA STORYBOARDING A good marketing dashboard inspires not just understanding, but action. And not just any action, but the right action. (Think how poorly explained data typically leaves an audience in a glazed muddle—or worse, they come to the wrong conclusion and then act based on that!) Achieving this goal starts by figuring out in advance the story we want our dashboard to tell. And that means storyboarding. Write down all the messages you want to convey as single panels in the storyboard. Post-Its on a wall is a handy choice—you’re going to want to move the panels around to find an organizing principle, the right sequence of data points, and perhaps even a story arc (a beginning, middle and end). Thinking about your dashboard’s “main characters” can help. Is your chief character the performance of a product line? A particular campaign? The new creative direction you took in the second quarter? Use section breaks to create structure, and, whenever possible, map your story to familiar marketing frameworks like the buyer’s journey—show how a particular marketing effort is driving awareness, engagement and sales (bonus: your dashboard automatically takes on an omnichannel point of view). 2
  7. 7. 7 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM Aggregate Impressions Aggregate Engagement Rate Units Sold Retention Rate NPS Exec Summary Key takeaway #3 Key takeaway #2 Key takeaway #1 Awareness Impressions x channel Impression x channel + campaign Spend per impression Paid vs. earned impressions Campaign creative Area chart Doughnut chart Stacked bar chart Creative v1 Creative v2 Engagement Engagement rate (target vs. actual) Online display efficiency Spend per engagement Twitter stream Line over bar chart Line chart Scatter plot Revenue Sales by market Revenue x channel Revenue (planned vs. actual) DMA map Clustered column chart Pie chart 100% stacked column chart Stacked bar chart Stacked column chart 100% stacked column chart Line over bar chart Stacked column chart
  8. 8. 8 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM MAKE SURE EVERY CHART ANSWERS A BUSINESS QUESTION Impressions, likes, clicks, TRPs … such is the life of a marketer down in the data weeds. But none of these is a strategic metric. None of these matters to a CEO, CFO or even a CMO. They want to know how marketing is performing against the strategic objectives of the brand and the business. The simple act of making sure every chart in your marketing dashboard answers a business question goes a long way toward delivering against this big-picture point of view. It might be accurate to title a chart Earned-to-Paid Media Ratio, but that same data in a chart titled “Which campaigns generate the most buzz among consumers?” instantly conveys a meaningful story. You can even include whole sections, each devoted to a single business question and showing a variety of charts to answer it. 3
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  10. 10. 10 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM ADD CONTEXT VIA COMPARISONS AND BENCHMARKS Another essential piece of the marketing story (and another one that leadership loves) is context. How does this result compare to the previous campaign? To last year as a whole? To industry benchmarks? Here are some typical comparisons you’ll want to make: • Metric vs. prior period (quarter, month, week) • Metric vs. same time last year (year over year) • Metric vs. target • Metric vs. comparable (something you know to be good and consistent) • Metric vs. industry benchmark So for example, say the average cost per engagement for your current campaign is tracking at $2. You might do some or all of the following: 4
  11. 11. 11 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM Compare your $2 cost per engagement to last quarter’s number, or to the same period last year. Show that $2 as a percentage of target—was the goal to bring cost per engagement down to $3 (big win!) or $1.50 (a miss)? Provide comparable metrics—what was the average cost per engagement over the last three campaigns? Show how a $2 cost per engagement stacks up to a relevant industry benchmark.
  12. 12. 12 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM BRING YOUR DATA TO LIFE WITH IMAGES AND VIDEO Images and video make your dashboard resonant, engaging and memorable. You can use whatever you like, but in many cases you’ve already got just the thing—the creative you used on the campaign. In fact, the choice of creative is often what drove the very results you’re reporting—including both in a single, elegant presentation really makes your marketing story pop. Some ways to feature images and video in your marketing dashboards: • Rolling out a new campaign. Anchor the story with key imagery and video atop the campaign dashboard. • Communicating results. Put the campaign creative alongside the charts and tables. • Comparing the performance of different videos, or overall video performance across channels. Embed the videos in question next to the performance data. • Conducting a brand audit. Present images of the many manifestations of your brand on a single page. 5
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  14. 14. 14 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM USE A VARIETY OF CHART TYPES When every chart in your marketing dashboard is the exact … same … chart … your audience starts to tune out. Change it up. Tell your marketing story using an appealing variety of data visualizations—line charts, pie charts, bar charts, scatter plots, even a simple table every once in a while. WEAVE IN THE VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER A great way of saying “don’t just take marketing’s word for it” is to include quotes from customers across social media. For instance, embed the campaign hashtag in your dashboard to show a live streaming view of customer responses to the campaign. Bringing in the voice of the customer grounds your marketing story in the real world, which lends weight to your analysis, paints a more complete picture, and elicits proof points that you couldn’t get any other way. 6 7
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  16. 16. 16 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM SHOWCASE YOUR MARKETING EXPERTISE Your audience not only wants to know what the data says, but what conclusions you’ve drawn. Use editorial comments, annotations and callouts to highlight the insights you’ve uncovered and why they matter. Declare your key takeaways right alongside the data you’re presenting. Deliver the vital marketing perspective that other groups lack (we’re looking at you, IT). Don’t just tell the story of marketing success, own the story of marketing success. INCLUDE AN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Add an executive summary—a super-condensed version of your marketing story in a few quick-hitting bullet points. You’ll most likely generate your summary last, but it should come first in your dashboard. 8 9
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  18. 18. 18 WWW.BECKON.COM HELLO@BECKON.COM SHARE YOUR STORY This is really a two-parter. First, be sure to share your dashboard with your extended marketing team in order to solicit comments and inspire collaboration. (Any dashboard platform worth its salt will have comments functionality.) The most valuable improvements, insights and ideas for action often spring from this sort of team-wide sharing. Then, when you’re ready, share your marketing story with the wider business. Digital is great, because then your audience can easily interact with the dashboard (you can set permissions to prevent them from permanently changing anything or messing anything up). But don’t ignore the power of paper. Make it easy to hit print from the dashboard, and distribute it as PowerPoint slides or high-resolution PDFs as well. The more powerful your story of marketing’s impact on the business, the farther it will tend to travel throughout the marketing org and beyond, and you want to make that as easy as possible. 10
  19. 19. ABOUT BECKON To grow your brand, you need integrated, unbiased data and insights you can trust. You need Beckon, The Source of Truth for Marketing™. Beckon’s rock-solid data management and real-time marketing intelligence power better, faster decisions that let you do more with every marketing dollar. LET’S TALK Want to learn more? Get in touch at hello@beckon.com—we’d love to connect.

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