Any business today is going to ask for updates and reports. Entrepreneurs and managers alike have learned to master the art of keeping documentation down to the “T.” When you think of reports, more often than not, you think of pages upon pages of boring and nonsensical information, meant for the number crunchers and the statisticians. But that’s all changed. With the advent of the internet, reports and stats have moved out of the basement and into center stage. Every single day, people are checking sales, analytics, margins, views, time spent on a website, clicks, etc. And these numbers, thanks to the evolution of business process and understanding, are what managers use to calculate a next move, especially in the marketing sector. That’s where the rubber really meets the road on data and reporting. But how does one really go about making these reports? What’s the best option? And who is it really for? Here are some tips on how to generate marketing reports, schedule them, and the best means of doing so.
By nature, reports are seen as boring. Who wouldn’t think that? They’re just numbers put together. They’re somehow supposed to mean something, right? So why are they so often gathered and presented in such a horrendous manner? A lot of it has to do with the means by which people have to put in together. And even before that, market analysts have to correlate the information into something usable. Usually, people would just use whatever is available in Microsoft Office. None of the options there are particularly fun. One can always use WhataGraph to boost the overall aesthetic of their marketing reports. They’re one of the best in the business when it comes to purposeful, beautifully designed, and concise information presentation. And it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. That’s exactly what a good user experience is about—simplicity and design while conveying an idea. So to conclude this point, when deciding how to present your information, always choose the option that is direct, makes sense, and is generally pleasing to the person who has to read the report.
Timing Your Reports And Work
If you’re a manager or owner of your own business, how often would you want analytics for marketing? How many times a week, month, hour, or day would you want someone coming at your desk with numbers? Although it may vary, the answer is usually monthly. Of course, there are those people who really want to be on top of it, every single day. But in the grand scheme of the business world, a monthly marketing report seems about reasonable. So now, let’s talk about timing it. If you’re making reports by hand, you know when you should prep and from which pool of data to gather from. This takes a whole lot of time, of course. The data crunching alone can take up to three business days depending on the scale of analytics you’re working with. So with this is your base knowledge, having the marketing report ready during monthly meetings, quarterly projections, and bi-annual is a good place to start. Get the ball going a week prior, have all the number correlated and made sense of two days prior, and have the information presented in an aesthetic manner by the time the meeting starts.
Because of the cumbersome methodology and the amount of information one has to go through, there’s a good case to automate the entire process. And why not? If you can run a program that collect the data in real time, ready to be collated and correlated at a whim, you put yourself and your staff at a direct advantage over businesses who do not. And in today’s technology driven world, there are very few organizations that are heavy with the marketing that don’t automate this process. When it comes to automating marketing reports, what’s important is finding a program and a system that fits the size of your business. For instance, you’re not going to use the same data analysis programs as a Hewlett-Packard or Apple, unless you are on the same or similar scale as there are. Their marketing team dives deep into the buying and behavior patterns of every single person that engages with their technology. If you’re a mid-range business with above-average marketing budgets, there are absolutely systems that are built just for you, as well as for small and at-home businesses.
So what kind of information are you supposed to put into these marketing reports? You follow any modern model of marketing and analytics, these numbers suddenly become a whirlwind of information to consider. But what info do clients really care about? First, more than anything, is the hard data. That’s your bread and butter: analytics from Google, Mozilla, Alexa, Yandex, Metrica, etc. If you’re using any of these, you have a direct link to this information. That’s your go-to. Your client wants to know how many people visit their websites, buy their products, and how frequently. The most important information regarding projections would have to be who buys the product? Who visits the website? This gives you demographic data that can be used to narrow down the marketing and advertising focus.
Your Bottom Line
When you properly automate marketing reports and time them well, the greatest upside is your bottom line. You’re saving a ton of money for you and your agency, as well as providing your clients with the most up to date information. The average individual tasked to gather and interpret market data is paid roughly $75 USD per hour. That’s a mighty pretty penny for something a program could do if a fraction of the annual cost. Switching to automation is not only your best bet, it’s the safest one.
Scheduling reports ensure that you’re on top of your game and ahead of the industry curve. When you introduce this to your organization, what you’re saying is that you’re willing to play ball in the 21st century. You’re in tune with how data works and is presented. And for something that clients generally breeze through in favor of think-tank projections and new ideas, your goal in timing things right and packaging it with the right aesthetic, is to get your client, boss, or supervisor to take a second to really appreciate it.