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How to Create Your Marketing Dashboard in Five Easy Steps

by Laura Patterson  |  
March 9, 2010

Earlier this year, BtoB ran a story on the top anticipated trends for 2010. Once again, marketing accountability was high on the priority list.

According to the article, "while proving ROI on marketing performance is nothing new, the recession increased the emphasis on accountability and analytics, and this will continue even as a recovery gets under way."

The American Marketing Association defines accountability as "the responsibility for the systematic management of marketing resources and processes to achieve measurable gains in return on marketing investment and increased marketing efficiency, while maintaining quality and increasing the value of the corporation."

To truly be accountable, however, marketing professionals need to periodically report on their performance and contribution.

The progress or status report of projects, such as updates to the website,, an upcoming event, new collateral, or a direct-marketing campaign, are no longer enough because they do not address the questions the C-suite is most concerned about: what is working; what course adjustments, if any, are required; and whether the investments that the company funnels into marketing are properly allocated.

Marketers need to develop a more valuable and insightful way to report. Only a report that benefits both marketing and the C-suite can help optimize performance and make decisions that will enable the company to sustain a competitive advantage and react timely to external and internal factors.

Such a report needs to provide an at-a-glance view that quantifies the overall impact that marketing is having on the business and how well initiatives are increasing customer acquisition, retention, and share of wallet.

Within the industry, such a report is known as a dashboard.

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Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM

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  • by Jeff Ogden Sat Mar 13, 2010 via web

    Great article, Laura, and Marketer really need to prove their value, which comes from the metrics in a good marketing dashboard. Your five steps are excellent.

    Developing the marketing dashboard is critical, as is clarifying your value proposition and developing deep personas on prospective buyers.

    The point I'd like to make is that the importance of marketing has grown precipitously in recent years.

    Keep up the great writing, Laura. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter (@fearlesscomp) or Linkedin.

    Jeff Ogden, President
    Find New Customers "Lead Generation Made Simple"

  • by Mark V Armamentos Mon Mar 15, 2010 via web

    Hello Laura,
    You had a nice article recently in Marketing Profs regarding the need for “dashboards” as a way to illuminate what marketing is doing and ideally show the value that marketing brings to the enterprise… basically bringing accountability to this discipline.
    While you have a nifty graphic to start the article, I was wondering if by chance, you could share a screen shot of any actual marketing dashboards you keep with your company or perhaps one you have designed for a client. Pictures can be powerful and I think would help in this case.
    Of course, I am not looking to see any proprietary information.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you. Mark Armamentos
    E-Business Manager

  • by Twyla Mon Apr 12, 2010 via web

    Hi Laura,
    I would like to ditto Mark's comment. An example of how one can/could/should be visually represented would be very beneficial.
    Very good article.
    Thank you

  • by Mike Zeller Mon Jan 24, 2011 via web

    I too would be interested in screen shots. Good stuff. Thanks!

  • by Laura Tue Jan 25, 2011 via web

    Appreciate all the great comments. As you can imagine, an organization's dashboard for marketing or any other function is proprietary. You can see a fictitious example in our Accountability and Alignment white paper, available for free in the VEM resource center,

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