How to Write a Management Report (Free Template Included)



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16 min


19 August, 2021

Management report templates are hard to come by. We’ve already covered how to write a great marketing report on the Canny blog, but now we’re going to tell you how to write a management report that gets you noticed by your executive team.

By pulling together key information, you can present how your marketing efforts are performing and how you aim to drive the business forward. This enables senior management to be better-informed and helps them make important decisions.

The Marketing Report Template

When it comes to analysing the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, you need a marketing report you can rely on...

As a manager, you will have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders.

It is your job to understand marketing activities inside out so that you communicate effectively with those in senior positions. By having a complete understanding of how campaigns are performing, you can implement strategies that increase results.

Not only does this keep the marketing department on track, it also shows your big boss that your ideas are working.

What is a Management Report?

These types of reports help management to run a company, make better decisions, and monitor progress against different goals that have been set by the organisation.

They help managers monitor the finer details within a department so they can build a clear picture of what is going on. They can use this information when presenting to other managers and senior executives to determine the direction of the business.

By including performance data and analysis, they are a form of business intelligence and are instrumental in making sure a business is a success.

Furthermore, it helps ensure better communication between stakeholders, colleagues, and executive teams so that everyone is working towards a common goal.

a google analytics report screen with graph

Why Is a Management Report Important?

As a Marketing Manager you will be expected to write marketing reports. It’s an important part of your job role.
However, this does not necessarily mean that you are good at them, or that you even know what to include in them.

A management report is important as it is the difference between achieving your targets and failing to achieve your targets. We know which side of the coin we want to be on!

Furthermore, a sound management report can contribute to the success of the business, and in turn, impresses your superiors. This can lead to enhanced job prospects and potential promotions as you have demonstrated your ability to lead a department and interpret information.

It also shows you can be relied upon and trusted by executive team members.

A well presented report assists in crucial decision making and strategic planning, as managers and CEOs use your data to set the direction for the business. They don’t just guess when it comes to the future, they use the information you have gathered to craft future campaigns and proposals.

By presenting business results, potential risks, and any issues, reports help managers see the worth of an organisation over a period of time. From here, they can analyse how a company is performing, and provide the necessary information for decision makers to move in the right direction.

As a manager this responsibility falls on your shoulders, so getting the report right is key.

man covered in sticky notes

What Are the Responsibilities of a Marketing Manager?

For any customer to know about a product or service, it needs to be marketed.

It needs to be put in front of them, so a customer knows what it’s all about, and more importantly, why they should buy it.

It is the responsibility of a marketing manager to effectively position and promote a product so that it appeals to the target audience.

They must be innovative, creative, and strategic in all of their marketing efforts to make sure it is seen by the right people. As a marketing manager, you will analyse customer demand and develop strategies that sell the product, and in turn, boost sales.

Alongside this, it is also your responsibility to manage budgets and make sure any marketing spend is allocated appropriately. From engaging creative agencies, to printed resources, you oversee every marketing campaign. A marketing report enables you to justify your reasons for spending the marketing budget and shows other managers, and your boss, that you’re getting value for money.

If you’ve spent X amount on paid advertising, how has this generated results for the business?

Your marketing report will give you something to refer to when these questions arise, so that you can back up your spending with data.

The main duties of a marketing manager include:

  • Creating customer personas – Who will be buying your product or service? Where do they work? Where do they live? What are their interests? This helps you position all of your marketing activities so that they are strategic and focussed. It’s not enough just to take a stab in the dark and assume you understand your audience. Having key insights allows you to target your ideal customers which enhances the chance of your product being bought.
  • Promotion – Where will you be promoting your product? Will you be advertising in newspapers, magazines, social media, printed leaflets? This will also be influenced by your target audience as you need to know which channels they are most engaged with. Again, this keeps your marketing efforts strategic and focussed.
  • Branding – How will the company look and feel? What colours are going to be used? What will the company logo be? Branding covers every aspect of your business and is the way you present your product or service to your audience. As marketing manager, it’s your job to make sure the branding is consistent and reflects the company message.

Obviously marketing managers do A LOT more than those 3 bullet points, but we’d be here all day talking about the job role in full.

In fact, any role in marketing is complex and involves a whole host of tasks and responsibilities.

What Should a Management Report Include?

Before you collate your management report, you need to make sure it covers all bases. When you’re presenting to other managers and your boss, they should understand exactly what is going on in the marketing team.

Understanding what to include in your report ensures they are not left in the dark, and have a true insight into what you and your department are contributing to the business as a whole.

red and yellow darts on a dartboard

Goals and Objectives

This is the reason behind creating the report.

After all, what is the point of pulling these metrics together if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve?

A report just for the sake of it, is a waste of time, and time is something managers are very short of!

You need to identify the purpose of your report in line with your business objectives. Think about the key drivers of your business and how you define success. This will be completely different for every company, but it’s essential you know what this means to you.

Once you have these answers, you can measure the success of each campaign as you have set key performance indicators which can be used as a benchmark.

This lets you know how campaigns are performing and also how far away you are from achieving our goals. You can then use this information to change or tweak your existing marketing efforts to make sure you reach your targets.

You need to consider:

  • The purpose of your report
  • The audience
  • Why the report is needed
  • The report deadline
  • The subjects you are going to talk about

Understanding your readership is very important as it enables you to pitch the report at the right level and include information that is relevant to them.

Customer feedback

Customers are at the heart of what you do.

Regardless of what product or service you’re selling them, they need to be happy and engaged in your offering.

In your report, make sure to include what customers think about your product, and what could be improved. This will help you, and other managers see what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.

Maybe there’s something you could improve on to better suit your customers needs. These insights are highly valuable as without your customers you have no business.

You could pull customer feedback from surveys you have sent out to create a more accurate, data-driven report. Make sure you don’t miss out on negative feedback as this helps you identify room for improvements. You can never guarantee 100% customer satisfaction so don’t be worried if some responses aren’t glowing!

person looking at bar chart of laptop

Make it Visually Pleasing

Similar to the point above, a report needs to be engaging.

Yes, it needs to contain all of the key information to inform your management team, but that doesn’t mean it should be boring!

You can still effectively communicate data through visual means.

Make sure you use charts, graphs, and relevant brand colours to bring information to life.

These are highly valuable when expressing complex pieces of data. However, any visual should be formatted clearly and should have a clear title so readers know what it represents.

If an image or graph is being used to help explain a point, then make sure to position it as close to the point as possible. This saves your audience time when tying everything together.

Your audience shouldn’t be sifting through pages of information, trying to work out how to plan their next steps.

By having key statistics in different fonts and colours, it makes them immediately recognisable and is also a good way of breaking up large amounts of text.

Making sure people don’t feel overwhelmed is key as they should understand the report and be able to use it as a valuable tool moving forward.

Otherwise, you have wasted valuable time and resources pulling something together which is pretty much pointless.

Below is a glowing example of a visually pleasing management report.

It’s easy to understand, utilises a range of text, imagery, and colours, and communicates the core pieces of information.

Tell the Story

Don’t just present management with raw figures and data.

This is totally meaningless to them and does not give them a true insight into your department.

Tell the story behind why something is the way it is, and provide context alongside the numbers.

This keeps people engaged in your report instead of feeling confused and overwhelmed.

Any good story has a beginning, middle, and end. By showing data over a period of time (by using a graph or an infographic) you can achieve something similar.

This visual tool always helps people easily identify trends and compare data over different time frames.

A management report might be viewed by several different senior managers and executives. You can’t assume they all know what you’re talking about as they might not have as much experience in certain subjects.

If you don’t give meaning to your statistics, you run the risk of isolating people as they need to understand what they’re reading.

In order to make informed decisions and draw accurate conclusions, it needs to be based on solid evidence. Human beings learn through context, content, and meaning so this should never be overlooked.

Numbers on their own mean nothing.

Make sure you back them up with a thorough explanation.

Keep it Clear

Chances are, senior management will be very, very busy.

They don’t have time to work out what information you’re trying to present.

Your report should be scannable, so that the key pieces of data immediately jump out to them. They will most probably be reading your report along with several other important documents. If your report is confusing and stuffed with lots of words and numbers, they won’t be able to draw accurate conclusions.

One way of making sure this doesn’t happen is by including lots of white space. This makes it easier for management to digest the different pieces of information and pull out what they need when making a decision.

Colours and fonts are also a great way to break up text as by using contrasting tones you can highlight key metrics. For example, if you have important KPIs, put these in a bigger font to make them stand out and grab reader attention.

When using colours, make sure you choose wisely so that it is clear and easy to read.

Include Recommendations

At the end of your report, you should always include recommendations for how the business can improve and move forward.

This shows senior management that you are striving for success and understand how the organisation can continue to thrive. Even if the company is doing well, there is always room for improvement and areas that can be grown. Being motivated and passionate are two desirable traits in any marketing manager.

Any recommendations should be achievable and should include a time-scale. For example, do you want to increase traffic to the website in the next month or the next 3 months? Make sure you don’t overestimate your ability to hit these targets as senior staff will be expecting an update in your next report.

If there are multiple recommendations make sure you break these down into individual points. You should also list them out in order of importance so other managers know where your efforts are going to be focussed.

As a marketing manager you have to be realistic.

You can’t do everything you want to in the space of a month even if you have a full marketing team behind you. You should also be prepared to accept responsibility for the recommendations before signing the report.

annual reports on a desk

Structure the Report

Even if the contents of your report is fantastic, but the structure is poor, your audience will be less likely to read it.

Make sure you break up large paragraphs of information and use titles and headings where appropriate. For example when moving onto a new point, make it obvious what you’re talking about instead of just rolling on a large body of text.

This can be quite daunting for the reader and makes it difficult for them to understand where sections begin and end. Take the guesswork out for them, and make new sections for new topics.

Take a look at this blog post for example.

We use small, concise paragraphs, with clear headings and introductions.

This makes it easy for you to read through the information and is a lot easier to understand.

Bullet points are also a great way of breaking up chunks of text (we love these on the Canny blog too!).

This makes it very easy for managers to scan over information and is much more aesthetically pleasing. Instead of reading a paragraph line by line, they can glance over the information and still get what they need.

Basically, senior management and decision makers want information that helps them either say yes or no to different proposals.

Make it as easy as possible for them to draw conclusions and make recommendations by carefully planning the structure of your report. Put yourself in their shoes, and think about what you would want to see from a report. Thinking about your readership when planning your report will ensure it’s clear and concise. Failure to do so can cause a great deal of confusion and can prejudice the outcome.

Review What You Have Written

Before submitting your report, always take time to check over what you have written.

Especially if you have been pulling it together for a few days, it’s best to check you have covered everything you need to. However, avoid reviewing the report as soon as it has been written. Although this seems like best practice, and the ideas will be fresher in your mind, you haven’t taken time to step away from it.

By having a break from report writing, it allows you to review the content more critically and analyse any gaps you might have missed.

Reviewing what you have written gives you the opportunity to make any final amends before it is viewed by senior management. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, so never overlook the importance of this stage. By getting your report right the first time it shows your boss that you have put effort and consideration into the content.

No one is impressed by a report that has obviously been thrown together!

Most reports have a set deadline, so make sure you have completed it a day or two before submission. This gives you enough time to check it over to make sure you’re happy.

As part of your review, make sure to check that:

  • You have covered your goals and objectives
  • It’s easily understandable for your audience
  • Your recommendations are based on the data findings
  • You have used correct grammar and punctuation (not checking this is a rookie mistake)
  • A colleague has proofread the report first

women wearing black looking at laptop screen

What to Avoid When Creating a Management Report

Now you know what to include in your management report, here’s a list of things you should avoid.

By being aware of what makes a good management report, you can be sure you’re creating a valuable resource that will be very useful when making future decisions.

You should never:

  • Provide incomplete information instead of waiting until you have everything you need
  • Write with a lack of clarity which could result in confusing the audience
  • Include irrelevant information which does not help your audience draws conclusions
  • Make the report unnecessarily long as it should be clear and concise
  • Disregard relevant information only because it is negative or inconvenient
  • Make it too technical by including jargon or terms your audience do not understand
  • Submit it late as this gives a bad impression to your senior management team that you can not manage your time and workload

Make sure you refer to this checklist when writing your next report.

It will help keep you on track and avoid any unnecessary mistakes.

How to Write a Management Report (Free Template Included)

After reading this blog post, you’ll hopefully feel more confident when it comes to writing your next management report.

This is an important part of your job role, and something which can never be avoided. What’s more, is that it doesn’t have to be challenging if you follow the steps we have outlined above. By having a clear plan, and a thorough understanding of what you’re trying to achieve, your report will act as a valuable tool for senior management.

This gives them reassurance that you’re contributing to the success of the business and allows them to make strategic decisions for the future.

You also have the potential to make real change by identifying areas for growth and expansion based on key metrics.

Use this opportunity to craft a winning management report that gets you, and your marketing efforts, noticed. And with our free management report template, getting it right has never been easier.

At Canny we work with a range of marketing managers and know that report writing is only a tiny part of your job role. Let us take some of the pressure off you, and partner with an agency who treats your business as if it was our own. From web design, to branding, to content creation, we offer a complete solution to your marketing needs!

Not convinced? Reach out to a friendly member of our team and let’s see how we can help!

Hey, I'm Adrienne (no, not Rocky's wife), and I'm the COO at Canny. I spend my days in a whirlwind of paperwork and accounts, and generally keeping on top of the day to day running of the business.

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