Marketers are always trying to justify their job and get more budget from the C-suites. Learn how to build a marketing report template that you can share with internal stakeholders and shine on a personal level within the organization.
Episode Show Notes
Introduction to the Iterative Marketing Report Template Podcast
(0:00 – 2:25) Introduction to the Iterative Marketing Podcast: Welcome to the Iterative Marketing Podcast, where, each week, hosts Steve Robinson and Elizabeth Earin provide marketers and entrepreneurs with actionable ideas, techniques, and examples to improve marketing results.
The topic of this episode focuses on the importance of effective reporting and how to build a report that caters to internal stakeholders’ needs. Reporting is a key aspect of communication within an organization, enabling effective sharing and dissemination of important information. This episode will provide a comprehensive understanding of the report format and provide marketers with tangible guidelines to follow when constructing their own reports for internal stakeholders.
The resources discussed on the show can be found at brilliantmetrics.com, which includes a blog and a LinkedIn group for community interaction.
Importance and Impacts of Effective Reporting
(2:25 – 7:14) Why is Reporting Important? Reporting in marketing can enhance the respect received by marketing within an organization. Reporting makes marketing’s impact tangible, showing how it drives revenue and creates actionable business insights.
The Benefits of Effective Reporting: Reports reveal the strategic reasons behind marketing decisions, changing internal perceptions of marketing. By connecting marketing actions to tangible results, reporting can earn marketing the respect it deserves within the organization.
Influence on Careers and Budgets: Effective reporting can improve your career by demonstrating your ability to deliver results. Good reporting can increase the marketing budget; if marketing can demonstrate its effectiveness, the organization is more likely to increase its investment.
The Virtuous Cycle: More budget allows for more impactful marketing actions, which, in turn, can be showcased in future reports. This can lead to even more budget, creating a positive feedback loop. Reporting can also impact personal earnings; if you can demonstrate your effectiveness, you strengthen your case for promotions and raises.
Struggling with Reporting: Finding the right balance between too much and too little information can be challenging when reporting to the C-suite. Many marketers believe in the impact of their strategies but struggle to prove it. The need to prove marketing’s effectiveness is sometimes a mandate, not just a desire.
CEOs’ Expectations from Marketers: CEOs are increasingly expecting marketers to act as focused financial stewards. They require justification for marketing expenses and expect clear returns on investment, which can be demonstrated through effective reporting.
Misconceptions about Digital Marketing: The shift toward digital marketing has led to the misconception that all digital marketing outcomes are immediately measurable. This can add pressure on marketers to provide quantifiable results, highlighting the need for robust reporting. Linking marketing actions directly to ROI is challenging due to the nature of marketing, which might be misunderstood by other stakeholders.
Traditional Reporting Vs. Iterative Marketing Reporting
(7:14 – 8:28) Revenue Generating vs. Capital Investments: Let’s differentiate between the regular reporting already being done and the novel approach that’s being proposed. A key aspect of the new approach is distinguishing between revenue-generating investments (with a focus on ROI) and capital investments (assets).
Importance of Insight Reporting: Insight reporting plays a critical role, particularly in iterative marketing, where experiments generate not just revenue improvements but also valuable insights. These insights can further demonstrate marketing’s value to the organization and should be incorporated into reports.
Components and Calculations in Building an Effective Report
(9:12 – 13:21) Return on Investment (ROI): ROI, a measure of the profit gained compared to the investment made, is a crucial component of any marketing report. It addresses the expectations of leadership in assessing the financial effectiveness of marketing efforts.
Calculation of ROI: ROI calculation borrows from the general concept, adapting it specifically for marketing purposes, often referred to as Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI). The formula is as follows:
- [(Attributable Revenue – Cost of generating revenue) / Cost of generating revenue] x 100
- Attributable Revenue refers to the revenue that marketing directly contributed to, while the Cost of generating revenue includes short-term marketing costs like media expenses and production costs for content.
Challenges in Calculating ROI: A significant challenge in calculating ROI is determining the attributable revenue, which may be influenced by marketing efforts spanning several months. In such cases, it becomes difficult to report on ROI as the attributable revenue number is unknown.
Alternative to ROI – Projected Revenue: When immediate ROI is hard to determine, marketers can instead focus on projected revenue. This estimation involves predicting future revenue based on current marketing efforts and using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to make these estimations. This approach is especially useful for B2B scenarios where sales might occur several months after the marketing effort.
(13:21 – 16:34) Introduction to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators): KPIs are leading indicators of future performance, and they differ based on the business in question. These can include metrics like marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, brand awareness scores, actual leads, phone calls, demos, or trials.
Significance of KPIs in Reporting: KPIs have a direct correlation with revenue. As KPIs increase, so does the revenue. Marketers need to focus on those KPIs that have a clear correlation with revenue and calculate the math to support it. Once done, the KPI value can be transformed into a projected revenue value.
Practical Example of KPI to Projected Revenue Conversion: Consider a business whose KPI is marketing qualified leads. Suppose for every ten marketing-qualified leads, one sale is generated, and the lifetime value of a new client is $10,000. In this scenario, each lead corresponds to $1,000 in projected revenue (10,000/10). While this does not factor in the profitability of the account, it gives a basis to project revenue from each lead.
Reporting KPIs: Reporting KPIs is akin to ‘showing your work’ in the calculation of projected revenue. KPIs indicate that the projected revenue isn’t arbitrary but based on trackable data. Not all KPIs need to be included in the report. Only those with a direct impact on revenue or other business objectives should be chosen. Other KPIs may be monitored behind the scenes, but it’s essential not to overwhelm the report with excess data.
Assets in Reporting
(16:34 – 18:09) Understanding Assets: In a marketing context, assets can be divided into two categories: short-term and long-term assets.
- Short-term assets include elements like media, creative, and payroll. These make an immediate impact and can be directly linked to attributable revenue to calculate ROI.
- Long-term assets include components like brand, content, and data. These are resources that bring value over an extended period and whose impact cannot be measured in a single reporting cycle.
Reporting on Assets: Reporting on assets gives a clear picture to the organization of how marketing dollars are being utilized. While short-term assets can be directly tied back to ROI, long-term assets need to be reported separately as they impact multiple reporting periods. Understanding the impact of long-term assets can provide insight into their prolonged effects on marketing success.
For a detailed understanding of long-term assets in marketing, check out Episode 28: Marketing More Effectively With Long-Term Assets.
Insights in Reporting
(18:09 – 20:42) Adding Value with Reporting on Insights: Insights are valuable pieces of new information gleaned from marketing activities. They add value to the organization by offering actionable data that can be used to improve various aspects, including operations, customer service, and of course, marketing strategy. By including insights in your reports, you elevate marketing’s role within the organization. It shows that marketing efforts are not only producing ROI but also generating actionable insights that can be used by other departments. The most effective insights are often tied to specific audience segments or personas. Thus, it’s important that there is a shared vocabulary and understanding of these personas across the organization. This makes the insights more impactful and useful to those reading the reports.
For a detailed understanding of ROI, assets, and insights into effective reporting, check out Episode 8: The Four Elements of Effective Reporting. It delves into each topic in-depth and can provide valuable guidance on incorporating these elements into your reports.
How To Structure A Marketing Report?
(20:42 – 22:33) Audience and Purpose of Report: The report is primarily for the C-suite or executive team, investors, and other departments within the organization. The report serves to provide a high-level summary of activities and outcomes. The financial outcomes highlighted in the report directly impact the budget allocated to your department. The report’s focus on money and financial results is crucial due to its influence on budget allocation. Sharing the report with other departments can improve interdepartmental relationships. Showing how the marketing actions impact other departments’ revenue encourages collaboration. Understanding that their contributions (like writing a blog, giving feedback, or sharing crucial information) impact revenue motivates departments to participate actively. Recognizing the tangible impact of their efforts through the report can significantly improve interdepartmental collaboration.
(22:33 – 31:31) Content of the Report
Focusing on Revenue: Group ROI and revenue reporting by program for maximum insights. Balance the level of detail – avoid overly broad numbers as well as minutiae.
Understanding the Concept of a Program: A program is the intersection of an audience and an objective, encompassing all tactics used to reach that audience and meet the objective.
Reporting Structure: Start with a high-level graph showing media investment versus revenue. Highlight how much was spent on each program and the revenue generated over time. Include both actual and projected revenues.
Program Summary: Provide a detailed breakdown of each program, focusing on ROI. Showcase key performance indicators (KPIs) as evidence of the ROI.
Key Metrics to Include
- Impressions: Gives a sense of brand awareness generated.
- Engagements: Demonstrates interaction with the brand beyond mere awareness.
- Projected Revenue: Revenue expected from the current period’s marketing activity for each program.
- ROI: Return on investment – the net gain from the marketing efforts.
- New Contacts or Qualified Leads: Represents potential future revenue.
Importance of Graphs: Use graphs to provide context and show trends over time, which can highlight growth and improvements. Repeat the program revenue and ROI section for each ongoing program, regardless of the number.
Asset Building: Divide costs into short-term investments (media, content tied to immediate gains) and long-term investments (branding, evergreen content). Highlight the growth over time of long-term assets leading to future profitability. Combine cookies and leads, often tracked through CRM, to measure the size of your addressable market. Depending on your organization, you may be able to report on brand awareness. Use AdWords or external market research firms to assess brand awareness. Track the number of people Googling your brand name as a proxy for brand awareness. Identify and distinguish between short-term, program-specific content and long-term, evergreen content. Measure the quantity of evergreen content produced. Assess the quality of content through engagement metrics, total time spent engaging with the content, or directly connect it to revenue or other KPIs leading to revenue. Always graph these metrics to show trends over time.
Insights: Insights should be presented as bullet points with minimal text. These insights should be organization-wide and pertinent to the high-level nature of the report. Insights can inform decisions about sharing additional information with other departments or stakeholders.
(31:31 – 32:32) External and Internal Marketing Reports: The report structure discussed is intended for external stakeholders like executives, other departments, and investors, focusing on high-level summaries and key KPIs. For internal use and iterative marketing, more granular, real-time statistics are needed, presented typically through a dashboard or other reporting mechanism. The structure of internal reports is customized based on the organization’s nature, the role of marketing within it, and whether the marketing team is internal or external. These reports are more detailed than their external counterparts.
Join Us Next Time
(32:32 – 33:42) Conclusion: In this episode, we discussed how generating reports can be beneficial for your department, stakeholders, and your own professional growth and performance assessment. The key elements of a report include Return on Investment (ROI), Projected Revenue, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Asset Building, and actionable Insights.
In the next episode, we will discuss how marketers have the opportunity to refine their advertising and other paid media strategies through iterative processes.
Have a great week and we’ll see you next time. This concludes this week’s episode. For notes and links to resources discussed on the show, sign up to the Brilliant Metrics newsletter.
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