No matter what department you’re building dashboards for, in order for them to be effective they need to be actionable.
As shown in the diagram below, in order for marketing dashboards to be scale-ready, they need to be automated, accurate, and visible. Beyond that, the data contained within them needs to be segmentable, insightful, and (for lack of a better term) actionable.
The first step of creating actionable dashboards for marketing teams is to figure out the goals that you’re trying to hit, and how the data will help you achieve those goals. We call this process “Metrics Mapping”, and the entire process is shown in the graphic below.
The first step of Metrics Mapping is to figure out your goals. These can and should be both organizational goals as well as departmental goals.
Once you know where you want to go, the next question is how to get there. Looking at the goals, what are the questions or concerns that come to mind when you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to accomplish them? For example, if you’re trying to double your revenue, you may want to know who your best customers are so that you can target them.
Once you have your questions figured out, the next step in the process is to determine the metrics that will help you answer those questions. For example, if you’re trying to figure out who your best customers are, then you will need to know conversion rates, average order value, costs per acquisition, lifetime value and repurchase rates, etc.
After figuring out what metrics you need, the next step is to figure out where those metrics live, or where the most accurate data on those metrics lives. We call these the “sources of truth”. For example, when looking for financial data, your best bet would be to check your bank account or Stripe. The closer that you can get to the absolute source of truth, the better.
From there, you can begin looking at formulas and filters that you want to apply within the calculations when building the dashboards, and finally, look at the way that you want to visualize and present the data.
Completing the metrics mapping process helps make sure that all of your stakeholders are in alignment, as well as ensuring that the dashboards that you build are actionable and valuable to the department and organization.
With that being said, it’s important to remember that building dashboards for any department is not a one and done process. It’s a constant process of iteration and optimization. We approach every business intelligence implementation with the following process in mind:
As you can see, the first part of every project starts with the process that we just outlined. Only once we have laid out the roadmap for the entire project and defined what success looks like will we move on to the build phase; and upon completing the build, we continue to create constant feedback loops of ideation, testing, and building and updating dashboards.
When it comes to building actionable dashboards for marketing teams, or any team, we have found that there are 4 keys to a successful data initiative:
- Vision/Strategy of the impact data can have on the organization. Plan for and predict the value.
- Robust technology to meet current and future needs within a reasonable budget.
- Skills & bandwidth to bring the vision to reality.
- SOPs & Accountability to make sure that it gets used.
Everything that we’ve covered so far should help dramatically when it comes to vision and strategy.
When it comes to technology, we've tested and proved out the best tools! If you need a recommendation, we even built out a basic tool to help you determine what will best fit your needs, available here.
Skills and bandwidth is one of the hardest things to get right. As one of our clients put it, “Even if I hire someone right now, it’s still going to take time to get them up to speed.” If you don’t already have the right team in place, Praxis can be your expert team.
We have worked with more than 150 companies, across a variety of industries; and can take all of that knowledge and experience and immediately apply it towards building actionable dashboards for you.
The impact of SOPs and accountability almost can’t be overstated. You can build the greatest dashboard or system, but if no one uses it or maintains the solution, the value and/or impact is $0.
You need to make sure that your team is being held accountable to using the dashboards that you built; or else that time, energy, and money was all wasted.
More than anything else, when it comes to creating actionable dashboards for marketing teams, the most important thing that you can do is make sure that you're laying the groundwork before you build anything. If you follow the processes that we outlined above, then the dashboards that you build will be powerful, actionable, and accurate.