All Measured Up - Making Marketing Reports to Measure

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Experiment #: 8

The last challenge that I have encountered in my digital lab is in no way to be underestimated. REPORTS - The most important element of any activity. The magic ingredient really. The final leap across the chasm that bridges Plan from Action has to be taken if I want to soar.

Stats. Numbers. Graphs. More numbers. More Stats.More Graphs. Data. Data. Data. In ‘Perceive the Pattern’, I wrote about how the numbers can turn into a true hell for the arithmophobic or the mathematically challenged.

I know this because I need to tame the lions Data and Report every week, month, quarter and year.

The free-flowing data and information is a tsunami waiting to happen each time I log into Google Analytics, Facebook insights, and any other report platform. The sheer size and quantity of the data are so overwhelming that one just does not know where to start.

But it is a challenge, and to many, I’m sure it must seem like scaling Mt. Everest, that must be conquered head on to know the results of the efforts put in.

So with a whip in hand, I have to do the ringmaster’s role and tame the beasts to perform the following tricks:

DATA

1. Revenue and Lead Generation data are to form one group. This data answers the question how many leads or conversions and how much have we earned.

2. Performance comes next. Here the questions of how well (or badly) did the website or campaigns perform and how are people reacting to our communication.

3. Engagement. Not everyone converts but they do engage with the content. This data answers the question of how many times. How many likes, shares, comments, downloads, email subscriptions and so on.

4. Strategic Data is the data that reveals information that would help drive tactical decisions. This can include stuff like traffic from devices, geographies, gender, etc. So you need this to answer the question what are the opportunities and what are my next steps.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This is where we make sense of the data we just collected. Turn the dry numbers into an artful conversation.

The executive summary is the story of what the data means in regular human language.

Ideally, it should speak of:
  • Significant improvements
  • Significant losses
  • Work was done
  • Work ahead waiting
Mind you, this is not just a replica of the dashboard but the translation of the data to arrive at conclusive and strategic decisions.

The executive summary is the evidence that validates the inferences of the data.

THE FORMAT

The method of communicating the report is just as important. It could be via a platform or through a PowerPoint presentation. Print, screen share or video.

Each method has its pro and cons. But, by far, the best method is the one that enables face-to-face interactions so the finer points of communication, like eye contact, positive body language or just the tone of the voice, can be used to give the report that final oomph. This method also allows the most meaningful connection with a fluid dialogue.

The audience who receives the report is the most important element of the report making process. It could be just me making it for myself or it could be for a team of seniors.

As the famous singer, Barbra Streisand once said - "The Audience is the barometer of the truth."
  
Well, there you have it. There is no perfect way to gather data and make a report other than to discover what works best for you and your objectives. As I have discovered through several trials and errors.

I won’t say that I have found and settled on the perfect report. It is a process that evolves with the ever-changing atmosphere of digital marketing.

"Making a report is like a work of art. And like any other work of art, it is not what you see but what you make others see" - Edgar Degas.

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