Two of the most valuable purposes of a marketing dashboard are to help the leadership team understand how Marketing is moving the needle in terms of top line revenue, market share, customer value, category ownership, etc., and to provide strategic guidance. However, one of more perplexing findings from the recently completed marketing performance research conducted jointly by Forrester, ITSMA and VisionEdge Marketing is that while marketers have access to more data, leverage more analytics, and invest in more tools and systems than ever before, marketers continue to struggle to prove marketing’s contribution to the business. While the majority of the marketers in the study indicated they regularly produce and share a dashboard. The same survey, with results from the 400+ marketing and business leaders shows that just 9% of CEOs and 6% of CFOs use marketing data to help make strategic decisions.
So where’s the disconnect? It appears that most marketers participating in the study use their marketing automation (MAP) or sales automation (CRM) systems to create their dashboards. While helpful, dashboards typically generated by these systems report on marketing activity and associated costs – email activity, website activity, social media activity, lead activity- rather than reporting on metrics executives can use to set direction. It’s not that these reports and dashboards are bad; they are valuable when used to support tactical decisions, but if you want your CEO, CFO and other members of the C-Suite to use your dashboard, it must clearly connect marketing investments and initiatives to business outcomes and results.