05.10.2021 by Līva Luriņa
Is marketing an investment or expense?
This question has been a focus for a long time, and there are companies that still think that marketing is a waste of money. But they couldn’t be more wrong.
The task of every marketer is to create a campaign and prove the value of their marketing activities. Campaigns turn into actions, then actions turn into leads, and, finally, leads turn into sales. That’s why a marketing report is so important – it shows what companies are achieving through their marketing efforts.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know to create compelling, comprehensive, and impactful marketing reports. We’ll answer questions such as:
- What is a marketing report?
- Why do you need a marketing report?
- What should you include in a marketing report?
- How do you create a marketing report?
- How do you customize Infogram’s report templates for your marketing report?
What is a marketing report?
A marketing report is an overview of marketing performance, based on data collected and analyzed from different sources. These sources include SEO tools and web analytics, social media, product data, email marketing, and more.
The primary purpose of a marketing report is to evaluate your marketing efforts against a predetermined set of goals and KPIs (key performance indicators).
For example, how many MQL (marketing qualified leads) did you get from a webinar series, or what’s the ROI (return on investment) of your paid advertising campaigns?
The best marketing reports use data-driven, visual storytelling tools to represent data within a specific time or activity cycle, like a quarterly marketing report or an autumn sale campaign report.
Why do you need a marketing report?
A marketing report is important to the marketing team, as well as management, sales, product development, and other teams for several reasons. Here are four main benefits of creating regular marketing reports.
Make data-driven decisions
Expertly created marketing reports will give you all the data you need to make a decision and take action. But, of course, creating a marketing report is not a trivial or easy task to do.
To use a marketing report as a decision-making tool, you need to analyze the right set of data. This helps you make accurate conclusions and discover the quickest path to success. Still, this is the part many marketers struggle with – how do you pick the right data for a marketing report?
That’s a difficult question to answer, but you can start with the advice from this bestselling author:
“The most important thing you can do to avoid misjudging something’s importance is to avoid lonely numbers. Never, ever leave a number all by itself. Never believe that one number on its own can be meaningful. If you are offered one number, always ask for at least one more. Something to compare it with.” – Hans Rosling, “Factfulness”
Use charts and graphs to create comprehensive reports that preserve context, show connections between metrics, and never leave lonely, meaningless numbers on their own.
Measure performance from all activities
Let’s say you have an awareness campaign running on social media. Analyzing just social media performance isn’t enough, and that’s why a comprehensive marketing report is so crucial.
A good marketing report helps you understand the correlation between several metrics. For example, how increased webpage session durations lead to growth in the email subscriber list.
It shows connections between all your marketing actions, helping you better understand what’s happening in your marketing infrastructure.
Update other teams in the company
A marketing report is proof of what precisely the marketing team is accomplishing for your business.
Suppose your company has teams that are not working directly with marketing. In these cases, there could be a biased opinion that all that marketing does is create fun images and post them on social media. Ironic, isn’t it?
To avoid this unfortunate response, your marketing report should highlight the goals and actions of the marketing department and how they connect with company-wide successes.
To clearly communicate marketing efforts to everyone, make sure that the marketing report is as clear and straightforward as possible, and it explains all abbreviations and complex metrics that it uses.
Highlight areas for improvement
When you’ve collected all the essential data from your platforms into one marketing report, it’s easier to see the areas of your marketing strategy that require change.
And it’s not only about marketing strategy. This report is about people – users, viewers, buyers, and researchers – who are intersecting with your brand. Therefore, analyzing funnels and marketing data could also highlight areas for improvement for a product, UX, sales, development, and other teams and help align and adjust their processes.
What should you include in a marketing report?
There is no one correct answer to this question. When you create a report, the scope and depth depend on pre-defined goals, platforms you’re gathering data from, and the current focus area.
For a simple marketing report that stakeholders, clients, and CEOs will actually read and understand, these are the four main elements you should focus on.
As with any other part of the business, the marketing process is all about setting, focusing, and achieving the right goals. In the same way, an excellent way to start your marketing report is to reiterate your marketing goals and KPIs and show where you are right at the moment.
To make this goal section easier to understand at a glance (and all the other sections, as well), try using charts.
The choice of the chart is totally up to the data you’re highlighting. For example, you can use progress bars or gauge charts to show the actual progress of your actions, or create a Gantt chart to explain the process or project plan. Explore charts templates here to find the most appropriate for your progress visualization.
Projects and results
If you’re presenting a monthly marketing report, you can briefly describe what your team worked on during the time period.
Here you can introduce social media activities and results (reach, engagement, clicks), email marketing campaigns (open/click rate, funnels), or paid advertising results (CPC, conversions, costs, leads).
If you’ve made any significant changes in the website, design materials, or strategic positioning, mention them in your report. It will be a good foundation for further insights, deliver context, and help others better understand your marketing report.
Website and SEO data
A company’s website is like a front door where users enter and get their first impressions of the brand. Even more, they go on to successfully become customers, or the opposite – a lost lead. That’s why including website performance in marketing reports and analyzing user behavior are crucial.
For that, you can use line charts to show the change in website traffic or average session duration. Choose pie charts or word clouds for highlighting SEO-related data about the most valuable keywords or geo locations you’re targeting. If you want to explain the relationship between two or more variables such as traffic source and session depth, use bubble or scatter charts. It makes it easier for the audience to understand the data and notice connections.
Analyzing your web page’s data is essential, as 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. If your data report catches some issues or descending trends, you know it’s time for webpage improvements.
Especially important is to measure SEO-related KPIs, as it is an essential part of any long-term digital marketing strategy. However, organic results happen slowly compared to paid advertising or social media, and you need to keep an eye on them and track how your SEO efforts are performing month over month.
Finally, close your marketing report with leads and wins. Here you can point out results gained during the reporting period, compare them with previous reports, and draw some learnings for future campaigns.
In most business cases, generating leads is one of the main tasks for marketing and the simplest way to prove the value of your work. Include all the data about leads you have, especially if you’re on a lead-driven campaign.
It’s super necessary to understand where leads come from. These can be organic search results, paid ads, direct search, social media posts, email campaigns, or something else. So, be sure that you explain the distribution of lead sources in your report, for example, with the help of pie charts.
This way, you’ll clearly visualize results and be able to save the company’s money and your time, and invest effort in only the most successful channels.
How to create a marketing report that stands out
Once you’ve clarified your goals and gathered all the data you wish to present, it’s time to create a compelling and comprehensive report.
Here are our top tips to make your marketing report speak for itself:
- Use headers or page transitions to split your report into sections to make it cleaner and easier to read.
- Add your comments, callouts, or notes to important metrics, giving additional context for the audience about the specific KPIs.
- Use images, videos, and GIFs to enrich your report, making it more personal and eye-catching.
- Include an Executive summary or Conclusion in your report, summarizing all the main points of the report.
- Pick colors for your report theme and use them consistently.
- Add branding to your report, such as your company’s colors, logos, or standard layout.
- Enable interactivity in your marketing report to make it more engaging when you present your marketing report
- Invite your teammates to collaborate on reports, allowing them to comment, edit, or add data to their sections of the report.
To save time and effort for yourself, but still deliver that powerful and creative vibe that people expect from the marketing team, try out our ready-to-use marketing report templates.
You can check the Infogram’s template library for designer-made report templates that are based on dataviz best practices, and are fully customizable and adjustable to suit your needs.
Here are just a few report templates you can choose from and build your own marketing report in minutes.
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