When you’re working on a campaign, you need to create a marketing report.
It’s not enough to just leave your marketing activity hanging.
You need to know how it’s performing, and what benefits it’s bringing to your business.
The good thing about marketing is that everything is measurable.
There are quite literally tons of online services which enable you to monitor the progress of your campaigns, and collate different sets of data.
This gives you an insight into how your business is doing and if there are any areas for improvement.
The information you gather for your report should drive all future decisions so that all of your marketing efforts are focussed and strategic.
In this blog post, we’ll talk about what a marketing report is, why it’s important, and most importantly what to include.
Oh, and did I mention we’ve also attached a free template?
What is a Marketing Report?
A marketing report presents the performance of your business.
It pulls together information from a variety of sources to build up a big picture of your marketing efforts.
Typically it includes information on your strategy, market research, goals, promotions, and what you expect to achieve.
By having this information in a central place, you should have everything you need to make a decision on the future direction of the business. Using the data in the report, you can gain a better understanding of what’s working and what’s not, and then take action to resolve it.
However, you need to consider the purpose of your marketing report.
People often fall into the habit of just pulling a bunch of numbers and fancy graphics together, without really considering their relevance. Everything you include in your report should make sense and enable people to make clear next steps.
They shouldn’t be looking at the data feeling confused and trying to work out how everything ties together. Only Include data that gives a good, digestible insight.
The main thing is to keep your report simple, and make sure you understand the numbers yourself.
There is nothing worse than going into a board meeting and getting your numbers mixed up!
Make sure you can explain each of the metrics effectively.
Why Do You Need a Marketing Report?
From justifying your marketing expenses to identifying how to improve your existing marketing strategy, this report is a highly useful tool.
By uncovering different types of data, you can draw conclusions about marketing campaigns and make sure you are fulfilling company expectations. Management will want to know how the budget is being spent, and if these tactics are working.
For example, has utilising a social media channel increased traffic to the website?
Has writing more blog content resulted in more leads?
You need to be able to back up your decisions, and get people on board as to why you have chosen certain tactics over others.
You can use this information to support your points and identify how the company can move forward.
If social media was working great for your company, then you would invest more time and resources in expanding this platform.
If video content was receiving lots of engagement, then you would focus on creating more video content.
Similarly if a certain webpage was resulting in lots of bounce backs, then you might decide to remove or review it on your website.
It’s about using the information logically and practically to drive the direction of future marketing efforts. By better understanding how people are interacting with your content, and what type of content is most successful, you can shape your marketing strategy to appeal to their needs.
However, a marketing report should never be used to simply ‘review’ an existing campaign as you can look at marketing dashboards for this.
Creating a report for the sake of it, without a clear understanding of what you’re to achieve, is a waste of time.
They are there to help you make an important decision and provide an in-depth view of where your business is at and where it is going.
Who Is a Marketing Report For?
Marketing reports are useful for lots of people within a business as they inform key decisions.
Whether you’re presenting to your manager or CEO, it must be adapted to suit the needs of the audience.
You must understand what they want from your marketing report, otherwise you’re just back to presenting a load of floating numbers and fancy graphics.
Especially those in very senior positions who are already busy, they just want the core pieces of information so they can identify actionable steps. They don’t want to be overwhelmed with a bunch of different metrics that don’t make their life any easier.
I’ll reiterate my earlier point: keep it simple.
Below are a few ways you can better understand your audience to make sure your marketing report fulfils different requirements.
Understand What Your Audience Need
Although this seems pretty obvious, you could make the mistake of assuming you already know what your audience wants. However, by simply asking the question of what they need to see in the marketing report, you can pull off the relevant data and make it more cohesive.
This will also save you a lot of valuable time instead of pulling together reports that no one really cares about. Keep it concise, and only include information which is going to benefit your audience.
Don’t Use Jargon
When you’re working in marketing, it can be easy to fall into the habit of using acronyms and jargon. While your immediate team might understand what you mean, your CEO and people in other departments might be clueless.
This can cause a lot of confusion and takes away the context of what you’re talking about. If people don’t understand the report, they will not be able to interpret the data and draw their own conclusion.
I can totally relate to this as I hate acronyms!
Well hate might be a bit strong, but I do find them very confusing. I think it can cause a real communication gap, and makes it difficult for people to engage in a particular subject.
Avoid using any terms that people might not understand and explain your points clearly and concisely.
If you need a marketing report for two different audiences, for example your marketing team and your CEO, then make sure you create separate reports.
This will allow you to tailor the content and the language you use to the needs of your audience. You should be collating different sets of data depending on who you’re presenting to, which goes back to my earlier point about understanding what your audience needs.
By creating an individual report you can be confident your audience has the information they need rather than sifting through data which means nothing to them.
What Should a Marketing Report Include?
When it comes to crafting a great marketing report, there are some things you need to make sure you’ve covered.
This enables anyone viewing the report to see exactly how different campaigns are performing.
Let’s take a look at the different things you should include.
Goals and Objectives
First things first – what are you hoping to achieve?
By outlining how the marketing department is contributing to the organisation’s overall goals, it sets the focus for the rest of the report.
Furthermore, it assists your team members as they have something to compare the different numbers to.
Be clear about your goals and explain how you hope to achieve them. This enables your audience to see how everything ties together and supports the end goal. It’s important you help them build up this bigger picture as it gives meaning to the rest of your report.
To stay on track, make sure you compare where you’re currently at with the end goal for each report you pull. This allows you to see how close or far away you are from the target and identify any ways you can improve.
Typical goals include:
- Number of website visitors
- Monthly or annual revenue
- Your conversion rate
- Number of leads
By identifying where you are in relation to set targets, you can make necessary adjustments to your marketing efforts before you fall too far behind. This is why it’s important to pull reports regularly, so that under performing campaigns aren’t allowed to just float.
You need to let everyone know what they’re doing and why, as there should always be a purpose behind each marketing strategy.
Social Media Data
Social media has become a huge part of a company’s marketing efforts.
From telling customers about company updates to reaching out to new clients, this platform is used by organisations globally.
When it comes to your marketing report, there is a time and place when social media stats should be included. For example, if your customers convert directly from social media channels such as Instagram.
It might also be that you have brand awareness goals that social media reach is part of which would make this data set very useful.
By analysing social media channels, you get an insight into:
- Your followers
- Level of engagement
- Audience demographics
This data not only helps you understand how an audience interacts with your content, but also who interacts with your content.
For many businesses this can be very interesting as your perceived audience might not be your actual audience. Maybe you have a set customer in mind, yet those interacting with your posts or tweets don’t fit this audience persona?
You can use this knowledge to better craft your content to make sure it is seen by the right people.
The data for your social media should be available in the ‘insight’ or ‘analytics’ tabs of each platform. Similarly, if you’re using a scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite, you can also pull reports from there.
Email Marketing Data
This type of data is highly useful as it provides you with an insight into people who are already engaged with your website or who have subscribed to your content.
Email marketing data lets you see how your web traffic converts into subscribers and leads. Whether they’ve signed up to a newsletter or completed a download form, these prospects have engaged in your offering.
It lets your team know what types of content are connecting to your audience, and which your products and services are mostly popular.
At Canny, our most popular download is our Branding Brief Template.
This gives us an insight into what our customers need from us so we know what type of content to focus on.
It’s the same for any business.
The data gathered should set the direction for your future decisions.
Information to cover in this area include:
- The number of emails sent
- The open rate
- The click through rate
- The bounce rate
- New subscribers
By keeping track of these numbers, you can see which campaigns were most successful, and more importantly, what types of messaging your audience is engaging with.
Do they respond best to discounts and promotions?
Is there a particular product people are interested in?
You should use this knowledge to craft future marketing campaigns as you know what works. This is also highly valuable for your sales team as they can use this information in conversations with potential customers to spark their interest.
This data not only lets you know how many people are using your website, but also what they’re doing when they get onto your website.
It’s a real window into how your website is performing and how your site visitors behave once they are on your website. You can find out their age, gender, location, and how they ended up on your website in the first place, to gain a deeper understanding of how you can grow your business.
The data captured here can be used to create a better user experience for web visitors as by understanding who your audience is, you can create content that appeals to their needs.
For example, if you discover most of your visitors are accessing your website on a mobile device then you should make sure your site is fully optimised for a mobile experience. This includes everything from how the page loads, the structure, and the type of content to make sure your website is compatible.
In your report, you should make sure that you’re covering:
- Your website traffic – The total number of people coming to your website
- Unique visitors – The number of individual people coming to your website
- Paid vs organic traffic – The number of people who are visiting your website naturally compared to the number of people clicking on your paid ads
You can drill this down even further, by looking at:
- Page visitors – The web pages which are receiving the most visitors
- Channels – The way people are getting to your website i.e. through social media
- Behaviour flow – This is how users navigate through your website
- Devices – The way people are accessing your website either, whether it’s a mobile device or desktop
- Clicks – This tracks where people click on your website, whether it’s adverts, outbound links, or a internal link
If you have an ecommerce website you can also check important metrics such as revenue, conversation rates, popular products, and top referral sources.
Of course, not every website is the same, and the reports you pull will differ depending on your business. For example, not every business has a sales offering and similarly, not every business has a blog.
That’s the beauty of creating your own marketing report, as you can include and exclude different metrics if they don’t make sense.
One of the most popular ways to access all of this important data is Google Analytics. With this online service, you have access to hundreds of metrics including:
- Active users right now
- Active users in the last week
- Traffic by channel
- How long visitors stay on your site
- Sessions by country
- Sessions by device
- What pages users visit
- Ad performance
These metrics have just scratched the surface!
You can drill deep into your website performance to include just about everything you could possibly need for your marketing report.
Leads and Customers
Essentially, how do the numbers in your marketing report become customers, and ultimately increase revenue for the business?
For this section of your report, you will never to cover:
- Number of new marketing qualified leads (MQLs) – a customer who has shown interest in what your company has to offer.
- Engaged contacts – these are contacts who are more likely to become customers compared to others.
- Number of new sales qualified leads (SQLs) – a lead who has been researched and approved by the marketing department and is ready to engage with sales.
- Number of new customers
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC) – the cost it takes to acquiring a new customer.
- Cost per action (CPA) – the cost of attaining a conversion.
- Attribution- which channels bring the most customers to your website?
These numbers let you see what’s working and what’s not.
If you know most of your customers are accessing your website via Google, then this means your SEO is working. You can double down on this and focus on attracting even more customers to your site organically.
When it comes to defining what makes a marketing qualified lead and a sales qualified lead, you need to define what this is for your business.
You need to consider questions such as how does a contact become a lead?
And what buying behaviours does a lead need to have before you pass them over to sales?
It’s important both your sales and marketing team agree on what these ‘qualifications’ mean so they can work towards the same goal.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re creating your report is to make it understandable.
As we’ve already mentioned, there’s nothing worse than presenting people with a whole load of information that they can’t wrap their heads around.
Always make sure you explain your numbers and provide context as to why a certain metric is higher than others, or why one is lower. For example, did a particular email campaign do really well and result in lots of leads? Or did your website suffer because of a new update which meant your organic traffic decreased?
Make sure you justify these numbers properly so people have some background understanding. That way they won’t question or be concerned if some metrics seem a little off.
You should also never try to bury any negative information. Be upfront about it and explain what happened, and more importantly, what you’re going to do about it.
By explaining spikes and fluctuations, you are being transparent with stakeholders and giving them a true picture of what is happening. They will appreciate the honesty.
To help explain your numbers further, you should use visuals and graphs throughout your report. Instead of overwhelming people with digits and words, this provides an easy, digestible format when explaining key metrics.
How Often Should You Create a Marketing Report?
You should be checking on your marketing dashboards on a daily basis to see how campaigns are performing and to spot any issues early on.
However, as a general rule, marketing reports should be pulled together on a monthly basis. This time frame allows your marketing efforts to gain pace and is the best indicator of performance.
While weekly reports are helpful for marketing teams to understand how their work is doing, monthly reports provide enough time for the data set to grow. This gives key stakeholders more information to look at and they can compare it month to month.
It is also a lot easier to identify trends and any significant changes over the course of a month as these could change on a weekly basis.
By running your report every month you are providing people with a broader overview of marking performance so they can make accurate projections for the future.
How to Create Great Marketing Reports (with template included!)
Marketing reports are an essential part of your marketing efforts.
They tell you if your marketing campaigns are working, or if they need to be refined.
Any campaign needs to be strategic and it needs to have a purpose.
Without having the data to back up your decisions, how can you effectively plan?
You need to know who your customers are, where they are, what they are engaging with, and how they are engaging. Essentially you need to understand what they need from your business to make sure your offering is serving their demand.
This information drives all of your future decisions to make sure your content is successful, and ultimately, that your business is making money.
When it comes to creating your marketing report, it’s essential you have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve and what your audience needs from the data. Keep it simple, understandable, and relevant.
Using a marketing report template is a great way to ensure you’ve covered all bases.
Need further help with your marketing efforts? Or are you wondering how Canny can benefit your project? Get in touch with a member of the team and let’s see how we can work together.