There are several alternative methods to track ROI over a period apart from using a marketing dashboard. These include:

1. Using Google Analytics: This tool can help you track the performance of your marketing campaigns and calculate ROI.

2. CRM Systems: Customer Relationship Management systems can track sales and customer interactions, helping you calculate ROI.

3. Excel Spreadsheets: Although more manual, you can track expenses, sales, and calculate ROI using spreadsheets.

4. Financial Software: Tools like QuickBooks can help track expenses and revenues, allowing for ROI calculations.

5. Custom Reporting: Depending on your business, you may have custom reporting tools available that can track ROI.

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Interpreting data from a marketing dashboard with more than 20 individual inputs can present several challenges. One of the main challenges is the complexity and potential for information overload. With so many inputs, it can be difficult to discern patterns, trends, and actionable insights. It may also be time-consuming to analyze all the data.

Solutions to these challenges include using filters effectively to focus on specific data subsets, employing data visualization tools to better understand patterns and trends, and using statistical methods to analyze the data. It's also important to prioritize the most relevant inputs and focus on key performance indicators (KPIs).

Global companies like Apple and Google can optimize their marketing dashboards to track budget vs actual spent by implementing a few strategies. First, they can customize their dashboard to track key performance indicators (KPIs) that are relevant to their marketing goals. This could include metrics like ROI, customer acquisition cost, and conversion rates. Second, they can use dropdown fields to filter data and make the dashboard easier to interpret. For instance, they can filter by media platform or marketing channel. Lastly, they should limit the number of inputs tracked to avoid overwhelming the dashboard. A focus on 5 to 10 key inputs can help maintain clarity and usability.

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