Marketing dashboards: know your numbers or you’ll fail

“Know your numbers, or you’ll fail”

These were some words of advice I received during my first week as a marketer.

marketing dashboards on a computer screenWorking in a big business, I had a large budget to access market research and analytical tools to dissect the data. When it came to measuring marketing results, the possibilities were endless.

But what can you measure without those resources? Quite a lot! The most important thing is to choose what to measure. In this article I’ll help you get to know your numbers, by creating a simple marketing dashboard to keep track of whether your marketing strategy is working. It’s all about making your data work smarter, not harder.

Making a marketing dashboard

What’s on your marketing dashboard will vary from organisation to organisation, depending on your marketing strategy:

  • what you are trying to achieve
  • who you are trying to reach
  • which action you want people to take.

Your marketing dashboard should measure the overall performance of your organisation’s revenue-generating activities, as well as monitoring marketing activities across three, separate domains:

  1. Branding/reputation
  2. Direct marketing activities that aim to drive a particular response (e.g.: sign ups to an event, sales enquiries)
  3. Overall engagement with your organisation.

Because each of these domains plays a very different role in your marketing mix, be careful not to make direct comparisons between their results. For example, because the aim of a brand campaign is to build awareness and create a positive sentiment toward your brand, it might not generate as many enquiries as a direct marketing activity – but without it, your direct campaign may not have delivered the same number of enquiries. Remember a smart strategy will have both kinds of activity. Deciding a few key measures to include in each of these three domains will make it easier to spot your successes and problems.  Below are some suggestions to get you started.

Choosing your marketing measures

Overall performance of your organisation’s revenue-generating activities

  • Total sales – compare year to date sales against your budget. If your sales are seasonal, make sure you compare the same period this year to last year.
  • Enquiries by source – call centre, visits to locations, website forms etc.
  • Marketing expenditure – how much have you spent to achieve these results?
  • Marketing cost per sale – Marketing expenditure/number of sales – this will help determine your marketing budget for the year and each campaign
  • Marketing cost per enquiry – Marketing expenditure/number of enquiries – again this will help guide your budgeting decisions

Performance of marketing activities in three separate domains

  1. Branding/reputation building activity
  • Brand awareness and reach – Ideally you’d have a survey conducted by a market research firm to determine brand awareness in your market, but for most the cost puts this out of reach. The next best thing is to track how many people each of your campaigns had the potential to reach.
    Use data from the media to estimate, for each campaign:

    • The total number of people who could have seen it
    • Cost per person/per thousand people reached
  • Brand sentiment – Measuring what the general public think and feel about your brand is also a job for market researchers. If you can’t afford that, some other sources of insight include:
    • Google Alerts (
      By setting up alerts you can track the number of news articles and whether mentions are positive or negative.
    • Customer feedback.
      Customer surveys will offer insights into existing customers’ sentiments, but won’t track your brand’s reputation among your potential customers. If you have a small customer base and rely on word of mouth for new enquiries, track customer complaints. It’s likely that if they are complaining to you, they are complaining about you to others.
    • Social media.
      You can manually monitor social media channels for mentions about your brand, try a free search tool or take advantage of listening tools available within some social media management programs like Hootsuite.
  1. Direct marketing activity for each campaign

    • The response rate (the definition of a “response” will be different per campaign, it may be a newsletter subscription, an enquiry, or even interaction with a piece of content on your website or social media.)
    • Cost per response
  1. Overall engagement with your organisation

Here’s where you measure overall interaction with your organisation that’s not linked to any specific campaign. Comparing these measures over time against marketing activity can show up correlations between marketing activities and overall interaction with your organisation.

  • Website traffic – if you don’t already have a free Google Analytics account, sign up and link it to your website. If you’re not sure how here’s a free course:
  • Social media interactions – total interactions with your pages and content
  • Inbound phone calls/email volumes
  • Outbound email list signups, opens and engagement

Next steps with numbers

There are many other figures you should be tracking at a campaign level, but do they need to be on your marketing dashboard?  If in doubt bring it back to your strategy. What do you need to measure in order to know if your strategy is working, or needs adjusting?

For support in measuring the success of your marketing activities, or designing a new marketing strategy, get in touch with our marketing consultants at or book an appointment.


Tom Rippon
Marketing Consultant
Phone: 1300 763 505