(Excerpt from upcoming White Paper)

We’re often asked to help schools create “dashboards” of key marketing metrics or performance indicators. These are the small handful of ratios, counts, trends, and other numeric measures that aid in almost real-time monitoring of a school’s marketing return on investment (mROI). Marketing dashboard indicators are very much like the business ratios your chief financial officer (CFO) watches like a hawk. In fact, CFOs can be very helpful to chief marketing officers when it comes to setting up a marketing dashboard. More on that below…

During a recent conversation, a client asked me to identify six (or so) of the most important marketing metrics he should share with his Board of Trustees on a regular basis to help members begin to appreciate the mROI of an innovative, new website strategy. Boards are tricky. Enlightened marketing savvy might be in short supply, but their marketing advice may roll at you like a seven-year flood. Presenting an appropriate and judicious balance of dashboard complexity and detail is key.

Here’s the counsel I shared…

First, understand that while tracking mROI involves some mathematical science, it’s seldom precise and never definitive in scientific terms.

Second, don’t tackle this assignment alone. Engage senior leaders in the discussions outlined below, especially your CFO.

Third, identify which indicators are most important. Start with your institutional strategic plan and the goals identified in it.

Fourth, determine which of your school’s strategic goals have the most direct impact on your revenue stream.

Fifth, once you’ve found functional consensus on the one or two most important institutional strategic goals that influence the revenue stream, do a quick inventory of the highest-impact marketing tactics you execute to help achieve the most important goals.

And finally, from this short list of high-impact tactics, select the most costly ones to include on your dashboard.

Measuring and reporting the return on your marketing investment deserves constant tweaking. Want to discuss a specific mROI challenge? Drop me a note or give me a call: eric.sickler@stamats.com or 319.431.5043.

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