By Adam Singer
If you don’t have a boss that expects you to deliver results reports on your programs today, you will in the future.
But regardless of your current organization’s sophistication with marketing analytics, there’s no reason you shouldn’t step up and report results like a boss.
But what exactly does that mean? I don’t just mean “being awesome” (well, I do mean that too) but I mean being the leader in your marketing organization I know you can be. Following is an overview of the basic steps to get there.
Marketing dashboard using the recently launched Google Data Studio
1. Start with a plan
What are your goals for marketing? What channels will you use to accomplish them? Do you have alignment and agreement on all metrics from all stakeholders? What will be your reporting cadence?
A fleshed out measurement plan is a requisite prior to implementing any single marketing tactic. Once your plan is in place, channels and tactics determined, and resources allocated, only then are you ready to execute and report results to your team.
2. Be sure you’re capturing all the data you need
This should go without saying, but be sure you have implemented all the right code and configuration with your marketing and analytics tools in order to capture all your data. This is one of the first things we talk about in our (free) Analytics Academy Digital Fundamentals online course.
If you’re not capturing data properly, it is exceedingly difficult to report on marketing results. Learn more about data capturing my previous column on the subject.
Bonus tip: setup alerts to know if something changes from a data capture standpoint. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a quarter only to see your data capture is not happening properly: alerts will help you sleep better.
3.Create the right reports for the right stakeholders
Your CMO is interested in entirely different set of metrics than your product managers. Your marketing team loves all the tacticle KPIs, but your sales team likely only wants to hear about leads generated and associated pipeline metrics.
It’s our job as marketers and analysts to make sure we’re delivering a view of data that is relevant for each audience.
This ensures not just that we’re showing how our tactics are delivering on promises, but shows respect for our peers’ time by delivering them a customized view of business metrics they care about.
You can always expand reports if certain people ask for more, but don’t overwhelm people with charts and graphs not relevant to them, especially busy executives.
Bonus tip: check out the recently launched Google Data Studio to make beautiful dashboards from all our data sources for free.
Sample Google AdWords report
4. Always include an executive summary with anticipated reports
This is where the real analysis work comes into play. Sending reports with agreed upon metrics to your manager or to a client is great and illuminates your hard work that month or quarter.
But context is critical. What worked well and what didn’t? Did you have a blog post, social ad, or email campaign that stood out as a shining star that month? Call it out and share the what and the why, as well as “what’s next” (replicate your successes!).
Executive summaries are your chance to tie all the metrics together with your team’s hard work and show you can articulate what the data means – your most valuable skill as a marketer and how you grow trust — and marketing budgets.
5. Start to learn and become proficient in marketing forecasting
You’ve got a marketing plan, you’re capturing data and sharing it with the right team members as part of a process. Awesome work, you’re already in the top percentile of marketer.
Now go further: after you learn to walk with results reporting, you’ll soon want to run. Start to forecast where you see results going.
This can be done not just by having goals, but by also including a dashed or light grey line within reports to show how you’re trending compared with expectation. Truly sophisticated managers will appreciate this forward guidance.
And even if you don’t exceed your numbers every month, the fact that you have goals will motivate your team to do better, dig in to see what’s working and in the future get good enough at forecasting to trend with – and hopefully beat – your forecasts.
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