There are three ways to look at marketing investments. The first is to view them as a necessary evil, with the statement “we have no choice but to invest in marketing”. The second way is to consider marketing as a pillar for brand awareness and branding, as a life insurance policy to keep a company attractive for customers and prospects. The third way is to use marketing as an investment that pays off, that yields concrete results and in this way rolls out the red carpet for sales and business development. I wrote this article for those people who share that last vision.
Marketing is more measurable than ever thanks to the impressive growth of digital marketing, but also thanks to digital tools that make the results of offline marketing campaigns measurable. The modern marketer therefore has a basket of marketing figures available: in Google Analytics, in CRM tools, in email marketing software, in Marketing Automation technology, in dashboard, in Excel sheets… An important first step is to combine that data from the various different resources in well-organized dashboards and then visualize the KPIs or measurement points in such a way that the reader can immediately make the translation to ROI.
In a previous article I described techniques for creating a professional marketing KPI dashboard. In this article I mainly want to zoom in on the way you will share those results dashboards with others. KPI dashboards help you make decisions and strategic adjustments. They can therefore be of inestimable value in communication with colleagues, management and stakeholders, such as sales. By sharing marketing results with them, you as a marketer can strengthen your strategic position within the company, make investments in marketing tangible and facilitate strategic or budgetary decisions that you cannot make on your own.
Don't you like being pushed into a template when creating and sharing a marketing KPI dashboard? Then spreadsheets are ideal for you. They are literally right in front of you because everyone has them on their computer as an application. Moreover, they are easily accessible, because most of us have already prepared quite a few spreadsheets. Finally, making graphs is a piece of cake, so that your result reporting gets the allure it deserves.
However, for reporting results, spreadsheets also have disadvantages. Apart from the time investment to set up a professional-looking KPI dashboard, it's not easy to let marketing data from different data sources flow smoothly into your spreadsheet. There will be quite a few intermediate steps and even manual work. If you are going to share marketing figures and results with colleagues, management, customers and stakeholders, they will also make suggestions for improvement and corrections, which in turn will lead to time effort and reworking of the spreadsheet. In quite a few cases, KPI spreadsheets quietly die after a while because they are too much work.
Why spend time designing complex spreadsheets when there are ready-made dashboards that integrate seamlessly with Google Analytics, Social media metrics, email software dashboards and CRM tools? Some marketing KPI software offers ready-made templates that you can build on. No wonder marketing agencies eagerly use such dashboards to report results to customers.
Sharing results via a marketing dashboard is much easier than via spreadsheets. After all, you don't have to forward any files. A simple link to the dashboard is enough for accessing the data.
Don't KPI dashboards have any disadvantages? Yes, they do. Some of them, such as Google Data Studio, start from a blank page that you have to build yourself. Consequently, some basic knowledge is required to produce a professional-looking dashboard. But the risk of data overload also lurks around the corner. It is, after all, so tempting to make graphs that marketers quickly lose themselves in data and don't take into account the fact that a good dashboard should not show numbers, but trends and developments. It is easy to make a KPI dashboard with a lot of data, but it is difficult to make one that you, your colleagues, your management or your stakeholders can use to support strategic decisions.
After reading this article, are you convinced that Excel dashboards are too time-consuming, but do you find professional KPI dashboard tools overkill for your specific situation? Then Husky offers a nice compromise. This marketing planner has an integrated KPI dashboard that follows the project logic. For example, within the "Content marketing" project you can quickly and easily create your content-related KPIs on a monthly basis. Here we combine the convenience of spreadsheets with the flexibility of dashboard tools. This is ideal for marketers who have to prepare and report relatively few KPIs. The manual input is also an advantage here because it forces you to reflect on the results. Reporting to others can be done via a rights system (access to the dashboard) or by creating a PDF report that neatly arranges all results, together with the other planning data.
However, are you an advocate of professional dashboard software such as DashThis, Tableau, Google Data Studio and Cyfe? And do you want to share the results instantly within the current marketing planning context so that campaign planning, tasks, budget, briefings and results form one whole? Then Husky is the only marketing softwarethat can do this.
Excel, Numbers, Google Sheets
Google Data Studio, Klipfolio, DashThis, Cyfe, Tableau
|Marketing Project Management tools|
Husky Marketing Planner
This blog article is part of a series on shared marketing planning for efficient collaboration. Below you'll find all the articles that will help you find your way around.