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The ABCs of Marketing Reporting

 

Most people will agree marketing plays an important role in the success of a business. However, the way people view marketing methods for their business tends to vary. Some see it as a key investment for business growth, while others consider it a necessary evil. This point of view often depends on how well you can see the impact of your marketing efforts. That’s where marketing reporting comes in.

So, what is marketing reporting? Simply put, marketing reporting is the process of using data to measure the performance of a marketing strategy. The data gathered by marketing reporting offers tangible proof of your marketing efforts, provide accountability for the marketing team and the channels being utilized. It’s easy to lose sight of tracking results all the way through to ROI. Many companies only focus on impressions and clicks which can be very misleading.

A well-done marketing report is both comprehensive and easy to understand. It offers in-depth insights to help you evaluate what’s working and what’s not. From there, you can easily adjust your existing strategy or create a new plan altogether.

Marketing reporting allows you to quickly identify these marketing insights:

  • Where leads and sales are coming from (channel, geography, audiences, messaging)
  • Which campaigns need to be ramped up and which ones need to be dropped 
  • Where to invest more of the budget
  • Where your efforts should be focused

The Fundamentals of Marketing Reporting

 Marketing reports are used to track campaigns regarding SEO, social media, paid search, email marketing, programmatic (banners, video, native) and content marketing. Each report can be customized to suit different types of campaigns. The metrics tracked in a report depend on where marketing efforts are focused and the desired outcome of the campaign. 

While a report is tailored to each individual campaign, the structure is generally the same. Each report starts with a summary to highlight key points in the report. The summary addresses areas of success, challenges, and goals moving forward. After the summary, the marketing metrics are laid out which typically track traffic, engagement, conversions, and business impacts.

Identifying Which Metrics to Report

Figuring out which metrics to track in your marketing report first starts with identifying the goals of your marketing campaign. Is the goal to increase revenue? Are you trying to simply generate awareness or improve engagement (click-through rates) to your website? Clearly defining the desired outcome will help determine which marketing metrics will properly show the ROI of the campaign.

The most common types of metrics tracked in a marketing report include:

  • Clicks
  • Channel Sources
  • Conversions (leads, sales, signups)
  • Bounce rate
  • Purchase/lead funnel
  • Average order value
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Top-rated organic and paid keywords
  • Social engagement
  • Paid ads and quality score
  • Customer lifetime value

How Often Should You Pull a Report?

The goal of marketing reporting is to track the progress of your marketing efforts. How often you generate the necessary reports will depend on the type of marketing campaign. A good rule of thumb is to generate a marketing report at least once a month. However, some campaigns will benefit from being analyzed on a daily or weekly basis, such as ecommerce campaigns, social media and content marketing campaigns.

On that same note, some types of campaigns are harder to analyze in shorter time frames, such as SEO focused campaigns. Because SEO is more effective over time, SEO driven campaigns tend to take much longer to produce tangible results. A weekly–and sometimes monthly–report may not offer enough time to properly gauge the results. In those cases, generating a marketing report on a quarterly basis may provide better data regarding page and keyword optimization.

What to Do with the Report

By consistently tracking the results of your marketing campaigns, you can fine-tune your efforts. Over time, patterns will begin to emerge from the data. In addition, you can analyze the performance of keywords and identify which ones are producing the least results. The marketing report can help you decide what to do next. Either scrap the marketing efforts that aren’t working, or test different theories as to why they are underperforming.

OpGo Marketing provides done-for-you marketing reporting to provide a tailor-made strategy to optimize your business. Contact us for more information about our services.

 

To trust your marketing, you need to measure it.

Business owners need to measure their marketing. We’ve all heard it, but many businesses don’t do it. Why? Because business owners almost always hire marketing contractors to implement their strategies. Unfortunately, not even all marketing contractors can afford to measure results completely. OpGo specializes entirely in measuring marketing—we invest in the metrics and analytic tools to give our clients custom insight into their investments. But, for those who want to do it themselves, we’ve compiled our most important metrics here.

Plan a Detailed Marketing Budget

Review the margins on your products and services. Most companies have multiple, so you’ll likely have several corresponding campaigns. Efficient marketing tailors each campaign to its persona with laser focus. Share the uvp on the product in your campaign. Sure, it might sound easier to spend all the budget on one mega-campaign, but customers rarely offer more than a glance at an ad. If they don’t find something relevant, they’ll move on. If you are banking on ROI, spend the extra effort and cost it takes to build a laser-focused campaign.

Analyze Customer Lifetime Value

Analyze your customer list and segment it by purchase behavior. How many customers buy one time and how many buy multiple times? And how long do they stick around? Hindsight is 20/20 so use it to set goals for the future.

Product Margins and Cost Per Campaign

Your marketing team will have more than one idea to market each of your products and services. The concepts they share will require different marketing mediums and costs. Decide what you can afford at this time based on the sales or lead goal for the campaign.

Here are a few examples of mediums that could be included in each campaign:

  • Campaign Example #1: Video, landing page, and retargeting.
  • Campaign Example #2: Direct mail, landing page, sales team follow-up.
  • Campaign Example #3: Programmatic banner ads to a look-alike audience, shopping site, emails to cart abandoners.

Marketing Mix & Channel Specific ROI

  • Marketing Mix ROI – Calculate the overall ROI for the year on the marketing mix.
  • Channel Specific ROI – Calculate the ROI for each channel. This is easy to do with digital channels. If you are using traditional media like broadcast and print, at least calculate the cost-per-thousand (CPM) and compare it to the digital channels used in the campaign. Typically, the traditional media channels are used to generate awareness and add lift to the campaign. (Testing campaigns with and without these lift channels can provide more insight.)

CAC, CPL, & Close Rate

Analyze the prior year’s marketing investment and calculate the cost-to-acquire a customer, cost-per-lead, and the close rate. This is a starting point when setting goals, aka benchmark.

  • Cost to Acquire a Customer (CAC) – How much did you spend last year and how many customers did you acquire? This is the easiest way to calculate your cost to acquire new customers. Even if the prior year wasn’t an ideal year, do the math. If you know the lifetime value of your customers, you can use that info in combination with your margin to assess whether or not your CAC is too high.
  • Cost per Lead (CPL) – Calculating the cost-per-lead is very straight forward. What did you spend and how many leads did you get? (Also, assess the quality of the leads—bad leads should not be counted!)
  • Close Rate – If you are B2B, you’ll be monitoring your close rate. (How many leads became customers?)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) – The customer lifetime varies among businesses. How long do your customers remain loyal to you? How many times do they purchase and what is the average order value? Once you know this information, you can decide how much you are willing to invest in a new customer.

Channel Cost-Per-Conversion

What’s most interesting about channel optimization is the buzzwords flying around with clicks and impressions. Impressions and clicks are components of calculations—they are simple aggregations that feed calculations like click-through-rate (CTR) and cost-per-conversion. You will use them to optimize digital campaigns, but clicks and impressions are worthless unless you tie them to benchmarks for leads and/or sales.

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Cost-per-click (CPC)
  • Click-through-rate (CTR)
  • Conversions
  • Cost-per-conversion
  • Conversion Rate

Need help building a brand awareness campaign?

First, be sure you really know your brand. (This sounds obvious, but an awareness campaign is a big investment and you want to put your best foot forward.) Then decide where you want to be known (geography) and by who (target audience). If you are providing great customer experiences, it more of a game of what you can afford and how you communicate.  You’ll need to decide how often (frequency), maintain differentiation from your competition, and keep a pulse on timing. The buying cycle plays a role in when you run your ads and so does demand in general (who is buying and why). Getting brand recognition is not going to be overnight, but every touch counts. Brand awareness is the beginning of long-term relationships with you and your prospects and customers.

Know Your Brand

One of the best ways to better understand your brand is to work with a third-party that specializes in branding. They will help you by asking questions similar to these examples provided by Alex Honeysett:

  • I want my brand to make people feel ________.
  • Three words that describe my brand are ________, ________, and ________.
  • I dislike brand voices that sound like ________.

Establish Brand Guidelines

Brand awareness is communicating the personality of your brand—the brand’s personality creates stickiness in the minds of your audience. Consistency is key in getting others to recognize and recall who you are in the market–this is where brand equity grows. Brand guidelines will be used by your team and anyone assisting with your campaign. The last thing you want to do is invest in a brand awareness campaign that leaves your audience unsure of who you are. Here are components to include in your brand guidelines:

  • Logo and acceptable variations
  • Color palette
  • Font(s) & typography
  • Icons
  • Style for photography
  • Brand voice and writing style

Know Your Customers

Prior to launching an awareness campaign, build out personas. (If you don’t know what personas are, Kevin O’Connor of UX Magazine explains it well here.) The process involves a deep dive into the mindset of your target so you can know how to communicate with them effectively and create great customer experiences.

Set a Budget

Generally, business spend roughly 2-10% of the projected sales on marketing. If you are a new business, expect to invest on the higher end. Once you have tested channels and messaging effectiveness, set a benchmark.

  • Determine the size of the population of your target audience and how many of them you can afford to reach with one campaign. Then decide how many campaigns you can afford for the year.
  • Select complimentary channels. The cost-per-thousand will vary with each channel, but the overall mix is what will be measured. Choose a combination of tactics that are both effective in communicating your message and add overall lift to the campaign. Be sure to invest enough in each channel to make them effective.
  • Do not forget to include the cost of creative production. There is the cost of the channel and the cost to build the ads.

Evaluate Each Channel

Besides comparing the CPM of each channel, weigh in on the impact and effectiveness of the type of ad within each channel. For example, video may cost more, but you are more likely to need less frequency and able to communicate more about your brand through that medium.

  • How much of your target audience is each channel?
  • What is the cost-per-thousand to reach that target audience?
  • How much of that audience can you afford to reach?
  • What frequency will you be able to afford?
  • Is the type of ad the most effective?

Overall, you’ll want to have a frequency of at least 10x with a brand awareness campaign. (The old rule of thumb was 3x, but we have moved out of the dark ages of traditional media and consumers are being hit with countless ads (noise) each day.) Historically, print has been the most expensive, then TV, cable, radio, digital. Within each of these channels, the CPM can go up, depending on what type of targeting you choose. Usually, the more specific, the more it will cost you. (If more expensive means you hit your intended audience without waste, then that is a better decision than buying a high volume of impressions that are targeting people that don’t fit your target.)

Have the Right Expectation

If you are launching a completely unique idea or service, you have the potential to become known more quickly. When going to market with a product or service similar to what’s already in the market, you may have to invest more to break through the noise already being created by your competitors in your category.

 

General Tips

  • Use public relations. There is a great story behind every brand. PR can be one of the most powerful channels of an awareness campaign.
  • Provide great customer experiences. This is what will earn you the most credibility (referrals, testimonials, and positive reviews).
  • Establish a partner or affiliate network.
  • Create interesting and shareable content.
  • Educate your audience.
  • Give something away for free.
  • Spend the necessary amount of money and time.
  • Do annual customer research and make changes based on the feedback.

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