Marketing Management

4 Key considerations for your marketing reporting

Without a marketing reporting system in place, marketers have little way of knowing which marketing activity is generating the greatest returns from their marketing budgets. Consider 4 key points when reviewing your marketing reporting processes and systems for 2014.

Many marketing departments still operate in a knee jerk fashion, with no real marketing reporting and no benchmarks to measure performance against. If you don’t have anything in place, now’s the time to implement a system, or a simple reporting process. It will provide the visibility you need to improve your marketing performance. Take time out to set up a reporting system. It will deliver the marketing metrics needed to help you make more strategic, informed decisions about where to invest your time, effort and resources. By doing so, you may even expose opportunities that may have otherwise remained hidden.

Reports are most effective if you generate them in a timely manner, integrate them into your marketing strategy and base your planning and even your next actions, on the results. KG Moore recommends that marketing teams remember 3 key points when implementing their results reporting systems for 2014. They are:

1. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to provide focus and clarity.

Marketers need to set clear KPIs – relevant to their business – against which they can measure performance. Without KPIs there’s no measure for understanding the success or failure of the implementation, nor is there a measure of what the marketing process aims to achieve. KPIs can include:

  • simple goals such as the number of times you’ll contact your customers each month, how many leads you’ll generate, including number of online enquiries
  • how many email campaigns you’ll send out to each market segment
  • targets for content marketing such as numbers of blog posts per month, or numbers of e-books, whitepapers or case studies you’ll produce
  • website traffic
  • subscribers to your blog
  • opt-in email list growth
  • your Net Promoter Score
  • followers on social media platforms and engagement scores
  • ROI
  • purchase funnel
  • goal completion

Your decisions for setting KPIs should be based on the results that are of greatest value to your business. Above all, by setting KPIs, you can measure your performance against those targets and demonstrate to the business decision makers that your marketing team is adding value and generating a return.

2.     Choose the most valuable marketing metrics on which to report.

This is where you’ll need to consider what type of data will offer you the most valuable, actionable information. There are many possibilities for reports but it’s important not to get too bogged down in the less useful data, and stay focused on what’s likely to improve your results and boost return on investment. Metrics can include:

  • campaign reach and click through rates
  • customer retention or attrition rates
  • cost per lead
  • cost per sale
  • marketing originated customer percentage. This measures the percentage of customers that can be attributed directly to a specific marketing campaign.
  • marketing influence customer percentage. The percentage of customers that you can attribute to your marketing overall.

3.      Build a marketing dashboard.

A good marketing dashboard will quickly reveal your marketing’s contribution to the business bottom line. Many of the marketing tools that you use will have some form of reporting capability, whether it is your email campaign performance, google analytics data or information from your CRM system.  These reports can provide transactional information but often do not join together to make the connection between integrated marketing activities and business impact.  This is one of the key functions of a marketing dashboard – a single view of your marketing performance. But even if you don’t have a system that can automate reporting, pulling data from disparate systems,  your marketing team can still generate a dashboard – a graphical depiction of your marketing data.

Always choose information that offers the most meaning to your senior management team and demonstrates performance improvements. For example, you can take data from your social media reporting tools which offer an overview of engagement scores or activity. You can include information from your customer relationship management system that shows the number of leads that have converted to sales. Or you can extract data from your email marketing tool that offers figures on campaign delivery. The key is to provide your team with tools such as these that enable them to extract and analyse data.

4. Set clear deadlines for both your report distribution and your marketing activity.

In some marketing departments, deadlines are flexible. Targets are set as a guideline only and, while projects are usually completed eventually, they’re rarely on time. Budgets slip and best-laid plans disappear out the window. BEWARE. This is not good practice.

Marketing, like any business process, needs a clear, structured plan if you want to avoid delays to your new blog posts, poorly-timed press releases, or email campaigns that miss the Christmas rush. Reports can motivate your team to take on tasks and see them to fruition – on time. They encourage marketing teams to set and stick to marketing deadlines. After all, if there’s no marketing activity, there’s nothing to report on. Deadlines should be part of a well-structured marketing plan that sets clear, realistic objectives. The reporting process helps marketing departments better allocate resources and hold people accountable for their actions.

Use your marketing performance reports to build confidence in the marketing function. The marketing function has a reputation for being difficult to measure in terms of success. But this is changing rapidly, with marketing automation. Marketing reports help to build confidence in marketing by proving its impact on the bottom line and promoting its value. Reports can give clear, tangible evidence of the effectiveness of your marketing activity, comparing actual results against your initial goals. Using the results, marketers can focus on the most effective techniques and boost success. Reports also help you to grow relationships with senior managers and demonstrate that your marketing team provides an indispensable service.

If you don’t have any reporting tools in place for 2014, now’s the time to invest in one. For more information on marketing controls or for help setting up your marketing reporting processes, fill out the form below.

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