Marketing dashboards are all the rage. Perhaps because every other management function has a dashboard, VPs of marketing feel they need to have one, too. Or maybe because dashboards can be a great tool to help you manage your business processes. The answer is yes... to both.
However, if you can accomplish the latter, then you won't be left out, either, and the dashboard will be an investment in business success, not a vanity expense.
Pat LaPointe, author of Marketing by the Dashboard Light, suggests that a marketing dashboard does these five things:
- Aligns marketing objectives to the company's financial objectives
- Creates organizational alignment within Marketing, and it clarifies the relationship between Marketing and other corporate functions
- Establishes a direct link between spending and profits
- Creates an organization that makes decisions based on hard facts supplemented by intuition
- Creates transparency
With due respect to Pat, that's akin to believing that the right automobile dashboard will allow you to win the Indy 500.
A properly constructed dashboard can help you measure, monitor, manage, and improve your marketing and sales processes, thereby reducing the conflicts between people and functions.
But to believe that the dashboard will do those things all by itself is like believing a teleprompter is all you need to make a good speech.
Although dashboards can be very useful, marketing dashboards have become a hoped-for panacea for many who want to manage their marketing activities more effectively.
However, just like other technology-based tools that have come before it, the dashboard can be a seductive solution that does not work out. And, again, like many of those earlier tools, if you want a dashboard to help you improve marketing performance, you have to know what is driving business performance and then monitor those things.