Marketing reports are perhaps the most important work done by the department. After all, it shows results to date, and provides a roadmap for the future. It also determines whether or not marketers will receive the budgets they want, and sometimes whether or not they will keep their jobs.
But most marketing reports I’ve seen are useless or even self-defeating. A total miss. They’re created in a vacuum, in an alternate universe, in an obscure language. It’s little wonder that marketing is often undervalued, and CMOs and marketers need to fight for respect in the boardroom.
By shifting the focus of your reports, and creating them through a new lens, you can create marketing reports that boost marketing’s reputation, clearly present your value, and win you more budget and power. Here’s how
1. Investment Rather Then Cost
Businesses exist to make money, so it’s essential that marketing shows it makes money. Stop reporting as if marketing is a cost center. Rather, present it as an investment, and opportunity for the business to invest money, and make an attractive return.
2. Predict the Future
Marketing reports are often stuck in the past, the equivalent of a weather report that predicts last month weather. Worthless. Marketers today must choose from more than 60 channels, and an infinite number of possible campaigns. Thus they need to act like mutual fund managers, and predict which of the many options will give the best profit.
3. Focus Less on Clicks
Again, marketers tend to live in an alternate universe, and measure their success by irrelevant numbers such as impressions and clicks. More than any other enterprise department, marketing presides over incredibly valuable data and intelligence. Instead of focusing on minor tactical metrics, focus on the big picture of big data to find strategies for future growth.
4. Focus More on Money
Impressions and clicks do not pay the bills, and don’t impress shareholders. Focus on money, the same language that drives C suite and the rest of the enterprise.
5. Report on Profit
When marketing reports focus on money, they typically focus on spend. Again, businesses exist to make money – profit – rather than spend it. So rather than focusing on how much you spend, shift the focus to outcome or profit. Calculate and report on how much profit marketing contributes to the enterprise bottom line.
6. Real-Time Reporting
Many marketers are stuck in the past, and report on last quarter or even last year. Recent technological advances make this kind of reporting irrelevant. With new technology, reporting can be up-to-the-minute. And as business today can change almost daily, it’s essential that your reporting is real-time.
7. Access All Data
Much of your customer data is relegated into disparate silos. To really get a high-value view of the customer, it’s essential that marketing collate this data. As information is today’s currency in business, doing this will further increase the value of marketers.
Conclusion – marketing is an undervalued facet of business, because its reporting focuses too much on irrelevancies, and not enough on what really matters: how to make more money. Make that one shift – show the enterprise how to make more profit in the future – and marketing will be elevated to a key position in the boardroom.