Don’t take marketing skills for granted: they’re precious and need investment
“I see investing in more and better marketing as the best way to gain a competitive advantage and proactively drive my business forward. But I need the marketing to be more accountable. We need marketing ROI to be better measured and more visible.” The words of a senior business leader in conversation with MPG’s CEO.
What’s missing in this business are the tools and processes needed for good, consistently delivered marketing measurement and reporting.
At MPG, from day 1, we have always put marketing intelligence at the heart of our business. We’ve just released the 4.0 version of MPG’s Analytics & Intelligence Dashboard – now covering virtual events, sponsor lead generation and subscriptions acquisitions.
If you don’t currently have marketing measurement and reporting in your business – here’s a guide on what it is, why it is important and how it’s done.
What is marketing reporting?
Marketing reporting is the process of recording and presenting marketing performance data in a dashboard.
This should cover the revenue or bookings being generated by marketing and sales, as well as the detail on channels and tactics, such as social media, email, PPC and website.
To ensure the focus is on the most strategically important metrics, we work closely with our clients to understand what’s important to them and tailor our reporting tool to give them the most valuable intelligence.
To make sure they have the right marketing reporting tools and processes in place, it’s important for senior decision makers to know what ‘good’ looks like when it comes to reporting formats and metrics to focus on. Armed with this knowledge, they know what to expect from marketing teams and how to ask the right questions about marketing ROI measurement.
The value unlocked by marketing analytics and intelligence reports
1. See how marketing is performing in achieving commercial goals
The simplest, but arguably most important, benefit is providing high-level insight of marketing’s performance overall. Tracking how many sales/bookings are being made and/or how much revenue is being generated compared to forecasts and the previous periods provides a high-level understanding of how marketing is driving results.
2. Understand how your audience is engaging with content and products
Marketing data can provide invaluable insight on how your customers are reacting to your products and content, revealing what is of most interest to them, what their concerns are and what else they may buy/engage with.
3. Understand the profile of your audience
Who is reading, registering, and buying? Where are they from? What company do they work for? What is their job function? These are all important questions that regular reporting can answer. Understanding the composition and behavior of your audience enables not only more effective marketing, but also more effective data-led decisions across business as a whole.
4. Enable better marketing performance
Reporting provides regular, valuable insights on the marketing channels and tactics that are performing best.
This gives marketers ownership, showing tangible results for their efforts and providing context on how they are performing against targets. They will also feel more confident in making decisions, as they can base their thinking on data instead of a ‘feeling’.
Reporting also holds marketers to account, challenging them to explain how they are making decisions and how they plan to address challenges and make the most of any opportunities.
5. Highlight any potential issues, even outside of marketing
Sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint issues or inefficiencies – things that are holding a business back from engaging with their audience and achieving more revenue.
Reporting should show all elements of the sales pipeline so you can find these issues. For example: low engagement across all marcomms could indicate the product not being right for the market, or you could find leads are dropping off when passed to the sales team because a key step in the lead management process is not working as it should. Identifying the problem is the first step towards fixing it.
So, what does good marketing measurement and reporting look like?
Added insights and intelligence
A marketing report is of no use if it only consists of ‘a whole lotta numbers’. The stats on their own are not valuable. What makes a marketing report valuable is the insights you can pull from the numbers and the important actions you can take based on these insights.
So, before sharing a report with the business, a marketer should spend time analysing and interpreting the data, putting numbers into context and drawing out insights and recommended next steps. This is the ‘intelligence’ element that unlocks all the value and should therefore be on ‘page 1’ of every report.
Updated at least once a week (or even better, in real time)
Feeding intelligence into your marketing should be ongoing, so reports should be produced weekly, at a minimum. This consistency and frequency will allow you to react to opportunities and challenges as they arise and keep marketing ROI front of mind.
Simple integrations between your marketing dashboard and martech stack can enable real-time reporting and reduce manual updates.
It is also essential to have a weekly meeting – a firm commitment in the diary for all key stakeholders – to review key findings and agree on next steps. This keeps everyone aligned and committed to marketing ROI.
Mapping against predictions, targets and benchmarks
It is essential to know what ‘good’ looks like when analysing and interpreting marketing reports. Without this important context, you can only guess at what the various data points really mean for your performance.
The following three data sets will help you add the all-important context:
Predictions/targets: tracking performance against targets is essential in understanding how likely you are to achieve your end goals.
Historical data: comparing against your past performance is also important – even if a lot has changed.
Benchmarks: comparing results to your relevant internal or external averages allows accurate performance ratings.
It is best to use as many of these points of comparison as possible as they can be tied together to reveal the full picture. For example, you may find your revenue generation is tracking below your target which prompts analysis of the individual channels via historical data/benchmarks. This could then reveal a specific channel, for example email, is under-performing. Deeper analysis may reveal that recipients are opening emails at a high rate, but not clicking anything. You now have a specific, actionable insight: we need to improve our email messaging and layout to encourage more clicks.
Marketing intelligence reports are essential for understanding the performance of marketing and the ROI it is delivering. CEOs benefit from greater visibility, allowing them to make informed decisions on marketing investment, as well as to hold marketing accountable for ROI.
Marketers gain access to the stats that matter most and can respond practically and with a sense of confidence and ownership.
Marketing reporting and analysis has been at the heart of MPG’s philosophy and our core methodology since our inception. We are proud that our clients are able to hold us accountable for results and push us to continuously improve and innovate. Our data-led, scientific approach to marketing has revolutionised the marketing of many businesses. We look forward to continuing to help our clients make intelligent marketing investments in the months and years ahead.
MPG’s Analytics & Intelligence Reports are custom-built to meet your requirements. To learn more about how we can help you develop an intelligence-led approach to marketing to drive more growth and value for your business, get in touch.
To receive MPG’s shared expertise straight to your inbox, subscribe to MPG Insights.