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Never Drive Without a Dashboard

by Micah Aberson, http://www.l-s.comTuesday, May 12, 2009

Would you be surprised that 40% of marketing professionals don’t use a formalized marketing communications plan? Maybe not…especially if you’re one of them.

When you don’t know where your brand is heading, it doesn’t matter which way you go. But when you have a defined objective, you want the most effective path there. That’s why marcom plans are such a valuable asset.

Personally, I like to think of them in terms of news.

News tells the stories of the day, and in the same sense, your marcom plan is how you’ll tell the story of your brand. It identifies the 5 W’s of your marketing strategy: the who (target audience), what (branding and creative), when and where (media planning) and why (research and overall strategy). But unlike news that’s printed and quickly becomes history, your marcom plan is a living document, adapting to the needs of your brand and the factors in flux around it.

Today’s newest plans are even more flexible. They’re measurable in real-time, so marketers can make adjustments and see results immediately.

Think about it. Without a dashboard in your car, you’d never know how quickly you’re approaching your target destination or how much fuel you have to get there. It’s the same with marketing. Without dashboards, you don’t really know where you’re going and how quickly you’re getting there…if at all.

At L&S, we’re actually measuring ROI as it relates to marcom plans through real-time dashboards.

This set of metrics can be defined by you and is displayed on an online “blackboard” where you can quickly evaluate the success of a marketing plan or campaign.

What they measure is up to you. But most dashboards include:

  • Digital inputs, like web visitors, referrals or quality metrics
  • Traditional and non-traditional media responses such as impressions, click-throughs, call center volumes or other inquiry types
  • Sales metrics communicating how customers move through the sales funnel (online or offline) including leads, sales, product types, geographic and timeline sales trends
  • Other engagements consumers might have with a brand during a campaign

By evaluating these measures, you can track ROI from the beginning of a campaign to any defined point in time, pushing you to set initial campaign goals and look at immediate benchmarks.

With dashboards like these, you can gain a real-time picture of what’s happening with your brand. Without them, you might be simply driving in the dark.

Business Intelligence Digital Dashboard
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About the Author

Micah Aberson is the Director of Business Development for Lawrence & Schiller in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Aberson also serves as an Account Supervisor, joining in 2003. Aberson has worked with many prominent brands, political candidates and trade associations on effective communication strategies. He has received numerous sales & marketing awards and was honored by the Jaycees in 2006 as one of the “10 Outstanding Young South Dakotans.”
Aberson graduated with honors from Augustana College, where he now serves on the Board of Trustees.  He also has an MBA from the University of Sioux Falls. 


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