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The Dashboard

In your first two meetings, you must decide on the vision of the marketing round. Then create a dashboard for measuring and reporting results.

The dashboard should follow the SMARTER goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound, evaluate, and reevaluate.

Evaluate and reevaluate have been added here because, in today’s world, you no longer have to wait a full year to analyze results and evaluate the effectiveness of a program. Today you’ll know in as little as a week whether something is or isn’t working. Constantly evaluating and refining your goals will mean success not only for a program, but also for the marketing round.

Too often we plan, write down our goals, and then stuff them in a drawer and revisit them only when planning for the next year. The marketing round will have a dashboard that follows the goals, is visited daily, and is updated in the biweekly meetings.

The data for each discipline will be integrated into one report, and all successes, challenges, and issues will be visible to everyone. Transparency is a word batted around almost too much today, but trust will not be built without it.

Some companies use green, yellow, and red to determine where the goals stand. Others use a numerical scale. What you use is up to you—but choose a way to show the growth or decline of the goals that is easy to read, easy to define, and easy to fix.

Your dashboard should fit your SMARTER goals and should not be solely about sentiment or awareness. As the marketing round, you should be looking at everything from lead generation and conversion to customer retention and sales.

You also want to include brand awareness, Web site traffic, and thought leadership, but be sure that all of those goals are combined with real, hard numbers, such as leads, conversions, sales, and profit—not just soft feel-good measurements, such as impressions, clicks, sentiment, likes, follows, fan, or plusses. In the end, your marketing round’s success will be determined by its ability to successfully impact business, not garner attention.

During a down economy, marketing and the disciplines underneath it are typically the first to go. But marketing in the round allows you to become an investment, rather than an expense. Working together as a team with all members having integral tasks allows the chief financial officer to demonstrate your efforts on the profit side of the P & L. It allows you to maintain, or even increase, your budgets during a recession.

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