Scorecards and dashboards are two vital tools you will need to effectively execute your performance management initiative.

Marketing organizations that focus on demonstrating and communicating their value, impact, and contributions invest in Marketing Performance Management (MPM) processes. The definition of performance management has remained relatively constant for over 20 years. In their 1998 article and subsequent book, Michael Armstrong and Angela Baron defined performance management as a “strategic and integrated approach to increase the effectiveness of companies by improving the performance of the people who work in them and by developing the capabilities of teams and individual contributors.”

To excel at performance management, organizations need to develop and implement methods and tools that ensure the feedback, accountability, and documentation necessary for the organization to achieve the desired outcomes. Scorecards and dashboards are two vital tools you will need to effectively execute your performance management initiative.

Scorecards Keep a Tally of Your Results

Scorecards keep score. If you’ve ever played regular or miniature golf, you are probably familiar with the golf scorecard. Each player is issued a card on which the performance target for each hole is identified. The goal of the player is to achieve or beat the performance target. A player’s strokes for each hole are tallied to a total score for the round, and each player competes against the course and the other players.

Scorecards keep a tally of your score against a desired performance target.

When Marketing tracks qualified leads against the performance target set for a marketing program or programs, they are also keeping score. A scorecard reports on qualified leads generated by each program for a set time period. As golfers score their play over multiple rounds, they earn a handicap, which is a numerical measure of a golfer’s potential ability. Conversion rate and win rate reflect similar measures for Marketing.

Scorecards keep a tally of your score against a desired performance target, providing a snapshot of performance, but they will not tell you why your efforts resulted in the final score. This is the purpose of a dashboard.

How to Use Dashboards to Guide Decision-Making

Dashboards provide insight into why.

If you want to understand the why behind your outcomes and to facilitate decisions, you need a dashboard. Dashboards provide an operational view and comprise multiple measures that are related to each other. Continuing with the golf example, we can craft a dashboard of the information a golfer might employ, such as driving distance, fairways hit off the tee, and putts per hole, to gain insight into their performance compared to the competition.

Using measures that are in the context of industry standards or performance targets, a dashboard helps Marketing organizations understand where they are performing well and what improvements need to be made to achieve the desired outcomes. Determining which measures are on your dashboard depends on how the success of these outcomes will be measured. For example, to understand how to increase market share or grow category ownership, you need a dashboard that provides insight into win rate, new product adoption, and referral rates.

Scorecards and dashboards function together to play an essential part in performance measurement and management, and Marketing accountability and both should be integral to the Marketing plan. Scorecards provide a view of your performance against the plan, but a scorecard alone will not shed light on what to correct, improve, or avoid. This is the benefit of a dashboard and why every Marketing organization should create one.

Take a minute to review the means by which your organization approaches performance management and ask yourself whether you are using a scorecard or a report of various scorecards, a dashboard, or something else entirely.