You need both to run marketing.  One to manage it, another to justify it.

Your operational dashboard tells you what to do.  Your executive dashboard tells you why it matters, and what impact it’s having on the business.

You start to run into problems when you confuse the two.  Your CEO (let alone your CMO) doesn’t care about your email open and click rates.  They don’t care about retweets or quite frankly event marketing-qualified leads.

Your C-level, executive dashboard needs to focus on marketing’s impact.  Contribution to pipeline, impact on closed business, even brand value and market share.  These are the metrics your c-suite cares about, and the metrics you want them thinking as synonymous with your department.

The operational dashboard is what gets you there.  It’s your daily review of what’s working and what’s not.  Every department and individual needs an operational dashboard, with metrics they obsess over.  But just because they’re relevant to the “line” doesn’t mean they’re worth reporting up the food chain.

Your CEO doesn’t care about the # of calls your reps made.  She doesn’t care about how many lines of code you wrote, or the error rate of your latest development sprint.

If you give your CEO these dashboards, you’re telling her that she should care about them.  You’re telling her that this is what you think is important.

I don’t have a problem with c-level leaders digging into operational areas of the business to drive improvement.  Most if not all of those leaders came from the operational side, and their experience can benefit the tactics too.

But you can’t buy a beer with better open rates.  Obsess over the details, and report on the outcomes.