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Creating an Effective Ultimate Dashboard

  |  May 9, 2014   |  Comments

There are three key elements to focus on if you're considering creating a content marketing dashboard: purpose, metrics, and design.

These days it seems like content intelligence is a lot like the automotive business; the focus on what's under the hood is being balanced by a focus on what's on the dashboard.

You've certainly heard enough about the connected car to know that music, communications, and directional technology are selling cars. Let's connect that, though, to content marketing. The focus on the platform and infrastructure, the engine if you will, is now being joined by how the results of that platform are affecting business. Content marketing companies that are leading the field in technology, are also leading the field in dashboards.

It's a welcome and necessary development. The Content Marketing Institute research shows that 93 percent of large B2C companies, 94 percent of midsize companies, and 95 percent of small companies use content marketing. Where usage starts, measurement follows. The trend toward big data and more importantly, big data visualization, makes the concept and execution of a content marketing dashboard essential.

There are three key elements to focus on when considering creating a content marketing dashboard: purpose, metrics, and design.

Define the Purpose: A dashboard should feed into overall business goals. A financial services company, for example, that is tying its results to a dashboard approach should clearly show different rates of engagement to tie back to success metrics. You can then develop measurable marketing objectives and define the strategies, programs, and tactics to support those numbers/objectives. Using a dashboard will clarify the relationship between content marketing programs and business outcomes. Having the capability to graphically analyze data in this way can enable an organization to more effectively analyze trends.

Choose Your Metrics: Choosing what metrics to include in the dashboard is critical. Above all, they must be metrics that matter and that are relevant to the job at hand. But that doesn't mean every metric should be included - far from it. You should be highly selective in determining which metrics earn a spot on your dashboard. The business needles, or outcomes, are more than just a revenue number to chase. You need to understand that the desired outcomes you should be chasing have to do with which customers (new or current) you are targeting, how many of them you need to convert, and what products/services you want them to purchase.

Craft a Stimulating Design: Design of the dashboard plays directly into the trend toward effective data visualization. For content marketing and the execution of content intelligence it should clearly illustrate the concepts, keywords, and key phrases that resonate with the user. Dashboard design should be colorful, accessible, and sharable.

How hot is design for data? Harvard and MIT are currently working on a data visualization benchmark project that declares: "There is an opportunity to use visual representation in innovative ways to gain insights into biological data to effectively communicate science. To do this requires discovering novel visual encoding systems and applying existing ones in new ways."

In the end, it's simple: Content intelligence requires a blend of big data and content. If you can't see the results, your audience most likely won't be able to read them.

Image via Shutterstock.

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Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition.

Prior to her role at NOOKTM Jeanniey launched a wearables fashion technology company called Ringblingz. Before getting into the wearables business, Jeanniey was the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Zinio, where she grew the business by more than 427 percent, into one of the largest global digital newsstands. Other notable roles in her career include her involvement as the executive director and senior partner at OgilvyOne, where she led the digital Dialogue business and worked with Fortune 50 brands including IBM, Unilever, and American Express, and being a general manager at Grey Direct. At Grey Direct Jeanniey launched the first email marketing division of a global advertising agency. Prior to her time in advertising, Jeanniey spent seven years in retail leading a variety of groups from Consumer Relations and Operations, to Collections and Digital at JCPenney.

One of Jeanniey's favorite times in her career was when she founded the Email Experience Council (which was acquired by the Direct Marketing Association). Jeanniey is a recognized "Women in Business," a frequent keynote speaker, and has authored three books and launched a number of companies ranging from entertainment to technology and fashion.

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