Marketers should be very familiar with reporting. It's an essential part of your role and duties to show the performance of your marketing efforts. There are many approaches to marketing reporting, which can vary depending on the organization.
Whether in-house or a digital marketing agency creating client reports, this article discusses best practices to refine your reports.
- Why create marketing reports
- What to include in a marketing report
- Reporting tips
- Examples of marketing reports
Why Create Marketing Reports?
Marketing reports include data and insights related to business performance. It provides what's needed to monitor, assess and make smarter decisions that bring better results.
- Track marketing performance against your goals.
- Make informed decisions as a team.
- Relay information to clients, internal teams, or departments, including sales, leadership, and the entire marketing team
- Report on whether or not certain strategies have worked
- Track your organization against competitors and the industry.
- Segment performance of marketing channels and campaigns
What Should Be Included in a Marketing Report?
To summarize your marketing efforts, a marketing report has information and data from several different resources and platforms. Here's what you should include in a marketing report.
Marketing reports, by nature, are very goal-oriented. They should measure against the marketing goals you have set for your organization over a specific time frame. Your goals should be specific and measurable. For example, If your objective is to increase revenue, your marketing goal might be to generate a certain number of leads or increase sales by a certain percentage.
Ensure you have established your marketing goals align with the overall goals of the company.
Choosing the right metrics for your organization will be important in providing tangible evidence of the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Including relevant metrics in reports will provide stakeholders with a clear understanding of the impact marketing brings to the business. Report on marketing metrics by channel and campaign. Learn some of the top key marketing metrics your team should track.
For viewers to easily digest & consume data, marketers should use charts, graphs, or tables in their marketing reports. Adding these visuals makes it easy for non-marketers to understand the recent performance of marketing KPIs (key performance indicators). Graphs are a great way to combine multiple data visuals into a singular visually appealing graphic. They can be used to tell a story or provide an easily digestible overview of complex information.
What insights can you take away from the data? Insights can be derived from a variety of sources, including market research, customer feedback, and performance data. Translate numbers to insights - why are there successes or failures occurring over a certain period?
Return on Investment
It is important to measure marketing ROI and include it in your report. It's not enough to show the marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) - you must report the cost spent to acquire them to calculate profitability.
Reporting on ROI can help determine which marketing tactics provide the highest return on investment and allocate resources accordingly. This ensures your marketing budget is being used as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Below are a few more added benefits of including ROI in your reports:
- Provides insights for future planning
- Helps justify marketing expenditures
- Provides a solid benchmark for comparison
A common mistake when reporting on ROI is not including certain expenses. Be sure to include all marketing expenses when calculating your return on investment - otherwise, you will be including inaccurate or misleading data.
Helpful Reporting Tips:
Your marketing report should focus on your audience. A marketing report should be presented in a way in which the audience members understand performance and insights. Here are some tips for creating fantastic marketing reports that are easy to digest and understand.
- Cater to your audience. You should present marketing reports to your CEO and executive team or sales. Get a sense of who the audience is you are presenting to and what information they need to be successful in their roles.
- Be mindful of the language included. Marketing involves a lot of acronyms and jargon. Instead, choose words and descriptions that they'll understand.
- Keep it concise. Provide the information, data, and insights needed, but do not overload viewers with too much content. The easier it is to read a report, the clearer the takeaways will be for your audience.
- Don't hide bad results. Instead, show bad results and provide insight into why it happened and what you will do to reverse the course.
- Channel synergy. Be sure to provide insights on how marketing channels work together to drive leads.
- Prove the business impact. When presenting to your audience, particularly to an executive team, you must show the value of marketing in business terms. Make it easy to present how marketing has affected the bottom line.
- Include some next steps. A next steps section will help summarize findings and recommendations based on information and insights presented. Adding this section will help everyone understand what's needed.
How Frequently Should I Report on Marketing Metrics?
The short answer is it depends on what makes sense for your organization. Monthly marketing reports are the most common frequency, but there are certain instances when other frequencies could be preferred.
Weekly marketing reports emphasize the short-term goals of a marketing plan or campaign. Tracking performance on a weekly frequency is ideal for high-priority marketing campaigns that should be closely monitored. Weekly reports may be helpful for internal team purposes.
With monthly reports, the data is a large enough sample size to provide accurate marketing forecasts. It also can consider the seasonality of a business and how it affects web traffic and buying patterns.
These reports allow you to get a top-down marketing view of your performance. Quarterly marketing reports allow viewers to understand long-term trends by analyzing data over longer periods.
An annual marketing report reviews the marketing team's goals, accomplishments, wins, gains, and insights over the year. It's a great way to recap your efforts, including what worked and what didn't.
Examples of Reports
General marketing report
This report is an overview of an organization's marketing performance. Marketers report on all marketing activities, channels, and campaigns and how they perform over a specified period.
These reports provide a breakdown of performance within a specific marketing channel. Each channel has a role in a marketing strategy. Reporting should include KPIs related specifically to that channel that best measures success. You'll likely use several platforms to gather and analyze data to add to your report.
Typical channels include:
- SEO (Organic Search)
- Google Advertising
- Social Media Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Event Marketing
Campaign-specific reports are essential for measuring success on a campaign-level view. These reports will help marketers make informed decisions for future marketing strategies and provide insights into traffic and conversions.
Closing Out: Effective Marketing Reporting
Reporting is an integral part of tracking your marketing performance and relaying accurate information to other departments of your organization.
Plannuh, A Planful Company helps you report and track marketing ROI. You can also use our marketing performance dashboard.