A marketing dashboard is a practical e-tool that can provide significant value to an association by helping them effectively track and optimize their marketing efforts. But what is a marketing dashboard and how is it used?


It is a visual representation of key marketing metrics and performance indicators  typically curated and presented by the association’s marketing team in a centralized, easy-to-read format and platform. It provides a snapshot of various aspects of a marketing campaign or strategy, allowing association marketers and decision-makers such as the Board of Directors to quickly assess performance and make data-driven decisions.


A marketing dashboard is often implemented as a software tool or platform that aggregates and visualizes marketing data from various sources. These software tools provide features for creating customizable dashboards tailored to specific marketing objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as set out by the marketing team.


For instance, the association’s marketing team likely plans a membership growth strategy each year with the goal of retaining existing members and recruiting new ones. To help measure the success of the annual campaign and to help build upon the following year, the marketing team sets out one to three Key Performance Indicators known as KPIs which may include: 1) increase membership by 10%, 2) retain current membership levels, and 3) drive 15% of new visitors to the membership page on the association’s website by fiscal year end. These KPIs aid the marketing team in ensuring the campaign is hitting their targets, resonating, and achieving desired results. This information is available at a glance to key decision-makers within the association helping to streamline the report process and help with the decision-making for upcoming initiatives.


But how do you get started with your association’s marketing dashboard? Setting up a marketing dashboard involves several steps to ensure that it effectively captures and presents the key metrics and insights relevant to your association’s marketing goals.


Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Define Your Objectives from the Start: Clearly define the objectives and goals you want to achieve with your marketing dashboard. Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with these objectives. These could include metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, email open rates, conversion rates, event registrations, member acquisition, and retention.


Select Your Data Sources Wisely: Determine which data sources you will need to collect data from to measure your chosen KPIs. This could include your website analytics platform (e.g., Google Analytics), social media analytics tools, email marketing software, customer relationship management (CRM) system, event management platform, and any other relevant sources.


Choose Your Dashboard Platform: Select a dashboard platform or tool that meets your association’s needs and preferences. There are many dashboard solutions available, ranging from free tools like Google Data Studio and Microsoft Power BI to more advanced paid options like Tableau and Domo. Consider factors such as ease of use, data integration capabilities, visualization options, and cost.


Collect and Prepare Your Data: Collect data from your chosen sources and ensure that it is clean, accurate, and relevant to your objectives. This may involve setting up data connections or integrations between different platforms and performing data cleaning and transformation tasks to ensure consistency and accuracy.


Design Your Dashboard Layout: Determine the layout and structure of your dashboard based on the KPIs and metrics you want to display. Consider organizing your dashboard into sections or panels, with each section focusing on a specific aspect of your marketing performance. Choose visualizations that effectively communicate the data, such as line charts, bar graphs, pie charts, and tables.


Customize and Configure Your Dashboard: Customize your dashboard to fit your association’s branding and preferences. Add branding elements such as logos, colors, and fonts to ensure consistency with your organization’s visual identity. Configure dashboard settings such as date ranges, filters, and drill-down options to enable users to interact with the data and gain deeper insights.


Test and Iterate: Before deploying your dashboard, thoroughly test it to ensure that it accurately reflects your data and meets your requirements. Solicit feedback from the Board and members and be prepared to iterate on your dashboard design and configuration based on their input. TIP: Feedback is great but also ensure you don’t cast your net too wide – as per the old adage too many chefs in the kitchen can spoil the soup – which means too many opinions can delay the official launch and getting the dashboard underway! Select key Board members and users and set a deadline for feedback to keep things on track and time!


Deploy and Train Users: Provide training and guidance on how to use the dashboard effectively, including how to interpret the data, navigate the dashboard interface, and take action based on the insights gained.


Monitor and Maintain: Monitor your dashboard regularly to ensure that it continues to provide accurate and up-to-date information. Make adjustments as needed to reflect changes in your marketing strategy or data sources. Periodically review your dashboard design and configuration to identify opportunities for improvement and optimization. TIP: Appoint one team member in marketing to be responsible for monitoring and updating the dashboard to ensure consistency and roles and responsibilities.


By following these easy-to-follow steps, you can set up a marketing dashboard that effectively tracks and communicates your association’s marketing performance, helping you make informed decisions and achieve your marketing objectives.