3 questions to give your marketing dashboard greater impact


How good is your marketing dashboard at tracking the results and impact of your marketing programs on your company’s bottom line? In a study from Teradata nearly half of marketers reported significant pressure to be more data driven. Yet 87% considered data the most underutilized asset in their organization.

The challenge isn't having data; it's not thinking through what activities deserve tracking and which are just providing noise.

How to build a better marketing dashboard for your programs

First, start by only measuring what matters. Think about the desired outcome you are working to drive. Is your goal more customers, a shorter sales cycle, a lower cost per acquisition, higher average purchase, better retention or repeat purchase? If you know your goal it's easy to build the tools to help assess your progress toward that goal.

Start by asking a few simple questions. 

  1. Why should I measure it?
  2. How do I track it?
  3. What can I do with the information?


1. Why should I measure it?

This may seem obvious to some but clarity here will help you construct a set of metrics that can make a difference for your success. 

Program costs 

The average cost of a B2B sales lead is $43. (source HubSpot) If you consider that a new lead is only the beginning of the cycle to MQL, SQL, Opportunity and Close, this means the average customer acquisition cost (CAC) can be more than 10X your original lead cost. Getting the most value from your program is a must. 

Time investment

Even “free” marketing channels come with a cost. Consider that 43% of small businesses spend 6 hours or more per week managing social media. This is a significant investment of your or your staff’s time (and yes, time is money, or at least opportunity lost). Understanding if your investment of time in a marketing channel is returning enough value for the efforts put into it will matter when you start to consider your staff utilization. 

Program effectiveness

The average website converts less than 2% of its visitors into leads. That means upwards of 98 in every 100 visitors to your site come and go without any kind of further engagement. If youre spending money to get visitors to your site, engaging them once they get there is critical.

2. How do I track it?

This may be the most important question to answer at the beginning of your campaign or marketing program. Because as the old line says, “If you don't measure it, it's just a hobby.” 

Tracking links

By using custom tracking URLs to identify details of a visit it is easy to understand not just the source of the visit, but also their engagement and conversion within your site. Taking it further, if you leverage short URLs like a custom Bitly, you can even see this information for traditional or offline marketing activities. 

Google Tag Manager

Marketers have been using tools like Google Analytics for a while but many have been slow to leverage Google Tag Manager. We have been using the tool more and more to help refine our analytics. With its easy implementation and simple preview and testing mode, it has helped us become more refined with implementation of media pixels, event tracking, off-site clicks and ungated content downloads, expanding what we can measure.

Heat maps

Sometimes it is just as important to understand what a visitor is looking at but maybe not clicking on. Traditional web analytics tools like Google Analytis are great at measuring click data, but can miss a lot of “view” information about the visit. This is where heat map tools like Lucky Orange or Crazy Egg can be invaluable. They can show you how the visitor is using your page, where they’re hovering and what theyre skipping past. 

Lead intelligence

Taking it a step further, marketing automation tools like HubSpot, Marketo or Eloqua can help you track individual engagement beyond simple “last click” attribution and understand how your visitors are interacting with your content over time. This can help you see a broader view of your buyer’s cycle or journey.  

3. What can I do with the information?

Your analytics should be about providing insight and a catalyst for change, not just producing reports.  

Improve ROI

The easiest and most direct outcome of building a marketing dashboard is having an objective measurement of which activities are delivering positive ROI and which are negative. Do more of the good and less of the bad and you’re on the way to greater success.

Increase efficiency

Understanding where you should be investing your time can have freeing impact on your team. For many marketers still measured on activities, there reaches a point where “more” is not possible. If you can identify which activities are worth your attention, and which just aren’t paying back, then you have a clear path to success. 

Identify agile improvements

Identifying opportunities for improvement is the best outcome you can hope for from your analytics. What content is driving the most engagement? Where on your site you should be testing new and improved versions of landing pages and calls-to-action? What is the optimal follow-up timing for a prospect or customer? Answering these types of questions is the first step to optimizing your marketing for improved results. 

So remember when building a better marketing dashboard, start with the end in mind. Only measure what you can impact and look for the incremental wins.

by Shade Wilson

Director of Digital Strategy for Elevation. Shade has more than 15 years experience in digital marketing, is an active speaker and is a past president of the American Marketing Association - Richmond Chapter. He was also the founder of Scalability Project.

Topics: Marketing Analytics