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:
- 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.
3 Tips for Effective Marketing Communication
A brand’s entire existence is dependent upon communication. It’s easy to take this for granted since we use communication in all aspects of life, but effective communication is critical in marketing. It’s more than someone not getting a job because of spelling errors on their LinkedIn profile or because they wore a wrinkly shirt to an interview; It’s a matter of brand existence. Marketing communication feels more two-way today than it was 10 years ago, but the fact is, marketing communication has never been one-way. Feedback was just delayed with traditional channels (TV, radio, print, outdoor).
According to Psychology Today, “The most common problem that we can make as message senders is coding our thought, feeling or need in a way that has a low chance of being understood by the receiver.” To be effective at communication, consider Aristotle’s three elements of great communication: ethos (credibility), pathos (emotional bond), and logos (logic) as discussed in 2013 by Scott Edinger, Harvard Business Review.
Here are three tips on how to be effective in your marketing communication:
1. Be authentic.
Before you craft your marketing messages, listen to the needs of your target audience. Hand out samples and do pro bono work with a goal of getting quality feedback. Don’t follow and copy your competitors. If you are constantly comparing yourself to your competitors, you will become them. Focus on your customers (personas) and craft your messages for them; Then watch your brand’s authenticity start to shine.
2. Create a feedback loop.
The definition of communication is the “imparting or exchanging of information.” Duh, right? The point is communication is an “exchange” of information. There are always signals being sent back to your brand, but you may not be capturing them. Don’t just rely on transactions (sales) as your key performance indicator. Be proactive and set up other signals that indicate what you are doing right and where you can improve. Don’t rely on email and/or pop-up surveys. They are way over-used and may result in a negative influence on the survey. Social media engagement and reviews are additional ways to get feedback.
3. Keep up with marketing technology.
Companies like Facebook and Google are able to provide insights to help you know your customers better, but you have to invest the time learning how to use them. Make sure features (maps, shopping carts, videos, catalogs, etc.) on your website work on all screens (desktop, tablet, mobile). Know what technology is available to help you learn and serve your customers better. iBeacon adoption is one area to monitor. Marketing technology isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. The best way to keep up with technology is pay attention to thought leaders and innovators in the “martech” industry. There are many sources within the industry that do a great job of keeping marketers informed. Here is a short list to start:
How to Choose a Marketing Channel
When choosing a marketing channel, it is easy to get stuck in a pattern of doing something the way it’s always been done. All the choices are paralyzing–aand new ones keep popping up. Internet globalization continues to put competition is right outside your door. It’s time to let go of your fear of digital marketing channels and give your competition a run for their money!
Focus on Success
Hone in on what success will look like in the end. Focus on your marketing goals and make initial assumptions about which marketing channels you feel may be the right ones. These assumptions will evolve into concrete solutions if you follow the process outlined ahead.
Strip yourself of your own bias and mentally suit up as your buyer. Why should they buy from you? What makes you different from your competitor?
Walk the Journey
Map out the touch points in your buyer’s path to purchase. What channels are they using to find you? What triggered the need? What is influencing and/or interfering with their decision to choose you? Friend’s opinion? Staff feedback? Loyalty to the competitor? How does this ideal buyer spend his/her time? Sitting behind a desk? Constantly in meetings? Watching sports on TV? And what is the most important feature of your service to this particular buyer?
Ask for Feedback
Start asking your existing customers what made them choose you. There is nothing more valuable than raw feedback from your existing customers. Be sure there is a neutral party asking the questions.
Analysis of Marketing Channels
Here is a list of factors to consider when choosing your marketing channel(s):
- Cost-per-thousand (cost per thousand impressions)
- Minimum investment (some media outlets require minimums)
- Length of campaign
- Reach (unique viewers, not overall total impressions)
- Frequency (needs to match the objective and factor in channel “noise”)
- Number of total channels (impacts reach and frequency of all channels)
- Message type (viewer impact and cost of production)
An example is shown in the chart below from Peter J Solomon Company (2015) where you can compare cost-per-thousand (CPM) of TV, radio, video, mobile, display, outdoor, magazines, newspapers, and more. You may take one look at the cost-per-thousand of newspaper and immediately omit it from your marketing plan. But, be sure you are thinking about each channel from your buyer’s perspective—you may decide that is your number one channel.
Channels and content strategy
The marketing channels chosen must fit within the content strategy. An ad within a channel is one touchpoint along a journey within the overall ‘content strategy’. A buyer’s journey is influenced by all of the interaction and experiences they have both online and offline. Be sure the channels you choose are synchronized as much as possible. When it comes to timing and frequency of ads within your channel(s), refer to the buying cycle. Ads should interact with your buyer within a channel with a set time and mental state in mind.
Choosing a media channel is not easy, but when you think and act like your buyer, you can choose with confidence. If you practice, you will be able to see the response from your buyers. You will also consistently remain relevant and competitive.