By combining metrics from multiple data sources, you can create more informative, more insightful reporting dashboards.
Marketing | Sep 21
Maham S. Chappal on October 13, 2020 (last modified on April 21, 2021) • 19 minute read
Marketing reporting meetings can be a little tricky to conduct.
However, as your business and team grow, when it comes to Marketing Reporting, the need to discuss data, benchmarks, goals achieved, and all the other relevant issues grows as well.
To make sure you are on the right track, 43 marketing professionals share insights on the 14 most important things to include in every marketing reporting meeting.
Learn the following:
So let’s dive right in.
All marketing meetings should start by discussing the purpose of the meeting.
As Robert Stam of SEO Mandarin explains, “By explicitly stating the goals of a marketing meeting, the session immediately has clarity and direction. Everyone in attendance knows why they are there and knows what key points to listen for. This essential step in conducting a meeting leads to more concise discussions which result in more understanding, productive teams.”
Brett Banchek of Overnight Flowers at the same time says that some time should be devoted to brainstorming creative ideas, too.
“Sticking to the same ideas may work for a time, but eventually, you’ll need newer, more innovative ideas to help market your products or services,” Banchek adds.
And don’t forget to make your meetings short and sweet. According to CoSchedule, in the first 15 minutes of your meeting, 91% of attendees are focused. This drops to 73% between the half-hour and three-quarters of an hour, falling even further to 65% after the 45-minute mark.
Editor’s note: Do you feel like you are having a lot of unnecessary meetings? Cut time spent on reporting with Databox and our TV dashboards. Display beautiful dashboards on your TV and make performance always visible to others.
Marketing reports need to be concise and crystal clear. Complicated jargon does not perform well in front of clients, so use layman-friendly language.
Beth Adan of NisonCo PR & Marketing shares, “Rather than overwhelming clients with a vast amount of reporting data, you should break it down for them into a storyline that speaks directly to their goals, and show them how the data measures up. This way, you can track where performance does and doesn’t measure up to target your efforts for the next month of the campaign.”
Instead of presenting everything in written form, jazz up your reports by adding visuals. Charts and graphs are a lot easier to understand than pages and pages of numbers and boring text, so make good use of them.
Editor’s Note: Want to look at your Google Analytics data at one glance? This Website & Google My Business – Goals & Conversions dashboard combines search, user data, plus goals from Google Analytics on your business website and also phone calls/actions from Google My Business.
We asked 43 marketing professionals to share their insights on the most important things to include in a marketing reporting meeting, and here’s what they said.
“In every marketing report meeting, what you want to show is growth or traction. You want to show how you’re making progress with previous weeks, months, or quarters. Showing data without comparing them with what you had before is useless. Whether you want to decrease your CPA (Cost per acquisition), increase your sales or profits, your marketing report should clearly show the positive evolution of your marketing campaigns.” Explains Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers Digital.
And as Alise Riedel of Denamico says, “by keeping these goals in mind, it helps to pave the way for marketing initiatives that matter and will help to keep your (or your client’s) business on track.
While some tactics may seem like something your business needs to be doing, they may not align with your overall goals. So although they might seem like your company needs to be doing something, it might not be the best use of your team’s time.”
Ofri’s Pia Greinacher feels it’s essential to discuss the roadmap in a marketing reporting meeting and “answer the questions “What did we achieve so far?” and “What do we want to achieve until the next report meeting?”.
What goals can you discuss in these meetings?
Pir Fahad Momin of SlyEcom shares possible goal targets can be “monthly or annual revenue, monthly traffic to your website, customer satisfaction score, acquisition, and conversion rate.”
“These numbers will allow you to understand what channels performed to expectations or not, and then you can drill into why and make decisions on how to adjust moving forward.” Explains Neal Taparia of Unscrambled Words
It’s not just enough to review goals; these meetings also need to discuss what’s been done regarding the action items that were created during the last meeting. As Daniel Carter of Zippy Electrics says, “every marketing meeting starts with a review of what action items have/have not been completed.”
If you’re wondering how to get the data on your marketing goals, Ariel Lim shares, “The easiest way to do that is to add goals in your Google Analytics account. That way, when it’s time for reporting (or when you transition to a live dashboard like Google Data Studio), all the conversion data will already be there.”
And once you get your hands on all the marketing goals data, “it is important to use that information and identify trends to inform future strategies and make realistic goals for growth.” Says James Boatwright of CodeGalaxy.
“ALWAYS report on the core business metrics in addition to marketing KPIs, whether that’s MRR if you’re a SaaS business or sales.
The reason why you absolutely need to do this is always to link back to the core KPI of the business, which is a much better way to measure whether one period has been more successful than the other.
For example, you might have a lower month for leads and trials, which may seem disappointing, but if you’re bringing in the same amount of MRR/revenue or more, it means you’re attracting customers who are a better fit!” Advises Veronika Baranovska of Sendible.
Taylor Roberts of Movers Chicago is of the same view and says, “Ideally, you would have identified what the KPI’s are prior to your meeting with the client so you are both on the same page and you are in agreement about the goals of the marketing campaign. Having the KPI’s identified will help you determine if various marketing campaigns are working, how to make needed adjustments, and if your efforts are resulting in increased sales.”
Tommia Hayes of CHC: Creating Healthier Communities explains, “No matter what type of marketing projects you’re working on, you always have an end goal. And you measure that goal by analyzing and reporting the metrics. That’s why it’s important to keep a close on your campaign and discuss all metrics during a marketing meeting. This provides insights into what’s working and isn’t. Plus, it provides an opportunity to discuss with the team ways to make improvements before the end of your project and or campaign.”
One of those metrics is New User Signups.
As Jack Paxton of VYPER shares, “For VYPER, New User Signups are a key metric that is always brought up in our marketing reporting meetings.
One of our primary goals is for a website visitor to sign up for our service by creating a free account. This places the user within our platform. Another crucial goal is when a user completes the checkout process after creating a free account.”
Majid Fareed of F Jackets believes Cost Per Conversion is another important metric that needs to be tracked and discussed.
“Every month, you should include cost per conversion in the marketing report because more conversions don’t provide value if it has more cost. All the marketers always try to get maximum sales, but if the cost per conversion increases, they prefer to sell less with minimum cost.” Explains Fareed.
The Snow Agency’s Daniel Snow believes, “CTR is a significant metric because it allows you to recognize your clients. By attempting to attract your target demographic, it shows you what works and what does not work.”
And what does a low CTR mean? It means, “you are targeting the wrong audience or that you are not convincingly speaking in their vocabulary to persuade them to click.” Explains Snow.
Ray Yoder of Garbrella Pergolas believes the same and says, “Google Search Console clicks are one important thing that should be covered in every marketing reporting meeting. This is a key metric to determine what queries users are clicking on to get to your website, and how many of those clicks are driving qualified leads that turn into sales.”
“Although meetings report the status and results of projects or campaigns, it should also discuss what the next steps would be for the team. In the end, this question should be answered – ‘With the information we have, what would the next actionable steps be?’” Says Chelsea Hunt-Rivera of Honest Paws.
Katrina Dalao of Referral Rock agrees and adds, “It’s important to hear feedback and thoughts about what happened, but it’s also important for them to guide how you’ll move forward.
Be detailed when outlining these next steps. Who will carry them out? How will they be measured? Make sure the expectations are as clear as possible.”
“I feel it’s important to acknowledge victories in marketing meetings even when the situation is dire. Many times marketing meetings are held to get things back on track, and it can feel like one negative after another, with a little bit of a positive outlook at the end.
We try to acknowledge wins made by the team, even if they’re small. Pointing out what’s working or how people are still putting in exceptional work does a lot to boost morale, and it lets everyone know what they should be modeling as they work to improve things.
Even if your marketing team is just one person, I guarantee that person has several small wins under their belt that deserve to be acknowledged. Even if the progress is incremental, it’s going in the right direction.” Advises Ravi Parikh of RoverPass.
Marco Baatjes of Caffeinated Face agrees.
“The single most important aspect of a successful marketing reporting meeting has to be setting aside a few minutes to discuss big wins! It could be things such as press coverage or networking and being featured on an industry expert’s website. Big wins can instill a sense of accomplishment and give purpose to a marketing reporting meeting. Not only that, it will allow your staff to strive to achieve great results each and every time, and it gives them something to look forward to in the next marketing reporting meeting.” Says Baatjes.
What are your potential and present customers saying about your brand online?
“One extremely important thing to address in every marketing reporting meeting is “what’s the buzz on the street about our brand?” Customers, employees, and the community may not be motivated to publish information about your brand on social media or other outlets. Overhearing information or engaging in casual conversations about your brand outside the business environment can be very telling. This heads-up affords businesses opportunity to address issues, good or bad, in a positive manner.” Patrick Baxter of Baxter Christenson explains.
Brian Cairns of ProStrategix Consulting also stresses the importance of discussing social listening reviews.
“You should always know what your target is discussing. What’s on their minds, what’s hot, what’s trending…etc. The key marketing is a deep understanding of your target, and the only way that you can gain that understanding is by listening.” Says Cairns.
Namu Travel Group’s Richard Bexon shares, “The #1 thing we make sure that is in every Marketing meeting is what the customer is saying online about us. Typically we look at reviews online from Facebook, Trustpilot, and Google Reviews but also comments on social media as it indicates to us whether we are doing a good job and also what WORDS the customer is using about us. This way, we can take these words, adjust our content and attract more like-minded customers.”
According to Daniella Pozzolungo of PupDigital, customer acquisition is one of the first things to discuss in a marketing reporting meeting.
“You can obtain this data through your Google Analytics account. This will show you where your traffic is coming from. Compare periods to identify any increases and drop-offs and use this information to devise priorities for the next period.” Says Pozzolungo.
Kristin Hope agrees and adds, “It’s the first place I go every day in Google Analytics. Effectively managing the marketing budget (in both time and money), understanding where your customers find you is essential. Plus, the acquisition helps you measure the efficacy of your cross-channel campaigns.”
And once you’ve covered that, discuss traffic channels.
“The most important thing to cover is direct and organic traffic. Having this clearly laid out in the report allows your team to answer the following questions: How are people finding the site? Where are they coming from? Is there more opportunity through one channel vs. the other? Do keywords need to be adjusted? Do you need more backlinks? Etc.” The Loop Marketing’s Elijah Litscher says.
Also, keep a keen eye on user experience and discuss what’s working and what isn’t.
For Jessica Campos of Marketing For Greatness, an essential thing to discuss is user experience in all aspects of their journey. From lead generation to customer service.
“Since reputation is the new currency, we believe that marketing teams should dedicate time to prevent, anticipate, and mitigate any user experience issues that could come in the near future so they can keep the users informed and can prevent reputation damage.
Empathy maps and customer journey maps are great tools to analyze user experience. They are great tools for marketing meetings as well!” Explains Campos.
“Every marketing reporting meeting should include customer feedback. Marketing teams need to hear how customers felt about their experience using the product or service being marketed to fully understand what to highlight in marketing efforts.
Often, those of us too close to the product think we know the features and benefits backward and forwards, but what really matters is what the customer sees as the benefits, and how they felt about the experience overall.
That’s when marketers can truly address customer pain points and ensure that the right areas are being highlighted.” Explains Samantha Kohn of AutoVerify.
Editor’s Note: To get more insight into your Sources, try this Google Analytics (Acquisition Snapshot) Dashboard and reveal which marketing campaigns have been most productive.
“I like to review whatever relevant data we have, going back at least six months. This can come across as tedious, but I believe it’s kept us from jumping the gun in many scenarios. We can better appreciate small spikes in success versus an actual upward trend. And looking back that far gives everyone the chance to put the results in perspective, not just the person directly analyzing the data.” Dan Bailey of WikiLawn shares.
Lend-Grow’s Harris Schachter says, “Marketing meetings can sometimes take many turns, so first, it is important to have an agenda. For reporting, these meetings should not simply be a readout of metrics, because anyone can do that on their own time.
The crucial topic for reporting is behind the numbers – What does this mean for the business? How can we turn these data into something actionable? What are we going to do from here? If you can leave the reporting meeting with actionable insights, you can call it a success.”
Paul McIntosh of Siren Digital Marketing shares their experience and says, “At our company, every campaign we work on has assigned a metric we call “the cheat code.” This is what we have determined with our client to be the most important metric above all others for measuring success.
For some, it’s the number of leads generated that period, for others, it’s revenue; for certain projects, it’s the position of one specific keyword. It all depends on a combination of what that client’s goal was when they hired us and what number they need to know to make better decisions.
While we do discuss other data, we segment this number exclusively at the beginning of every report. Doing this helps us and our clients understand the rest of their data and why it’s important.”
According to Darren Litt of MarketerHire, risk factors should definitely be discussed in a marketing reporting meeting.
“If your cost per acquisition is rising or you’re too dependent on any single channel, you need the team to be aware.” Explains Litt.
Gun Made’s Brady Kirkpatrick says that their favorite reports in marketing meetings are revenue generated. “Many teams get excited about the awareness their marketing team is creating, but at the end of the day, decisions need to be made based on the revenue that actually comes from the investment in your marketing plan. We understand some marketing investment isn’t necessarily a hard return on dollars, and we factor that in as well.” Explains Kirkpatrick.
LyntonWeb’s Jennifer Lux believes the same and says, “The most important success criteria that we recommend reporting on is marketing-attributed revenue. It not only tells you that your campaigns and efforts are relevant; this metric also indirectly measures lead quality. While reporting on lead indicators like traffic or MQLs is important, understanding how your efforts impact the bottom line is critical.”
TJ Kelly of FansRaise stresses that everything marketing does MUST be tied back to the sales bottom line.
Kelly says, “Marketing KPIs like traffic and leads are great, but they’re meaningless if they don’t map back to sales and closed deals.”
Nathan Binford of MarketChorus explains, “Disqualified or insufficiently nurtured leads represent the area of greatest potential misalignment between sales and marketing teams.
If marketing is sending leads to sales and sales has to send them back or disqualify them frequently, faith in the process will be diminished as a result. This leads to broken processes and friction between teams, so discussing lead quality regularly allows you to uncover and address minor issues before they become major ones.”
Postaga’s Andy Cabasso also believes that marketing is a vehicle to generate leads and sales. “How many leads has marketing produced in the past week, month, or time since the last marketing reporting meeting? And how does that compare to the previous period, as well as the same period one year ago? It’s important to know how leads are trending to see how well marketing is delivering results.”
Just like you’re supposed to highlight your wins, don’t forget to discuss your failures too so that they can be improved.
Steve Yanor of Sky Alphabet Social Media says, “We’re a big fan of yin-yang approach. With the good comes the bad and patting yourself on the back will get you nowhere if your competitors are focused on improving their weaknesses. There is so much data that there are always spots where you can look at and say ‘this really fell off the cliff this month’ or ‘this continues to decline’ or ‘the bounce rate continues to struggle.’
Some of these are easy fixes, some of them are conversion malfunctions, some of them are tough, but you’re only going to earn credibility as a marketing leader if you report both the good and the bad.” Explains Yanor.
According to Nick Hollinger of Visitor Queue, the most important thing to discuss in a marketing reporting meeting is the ROI of all initiatives. “Often, marketers overlook ROI and focus on feel-good metrics. Even if the ROI is negative, it should be discussed with justification of how it will be positive in the future.” Says Hollinger.
Vapor Empire’s Edwin Rubio agrees and says, “ROI (Return on Investment) needs to be included in every marketing reporting meeting. This data will give you the most current snapshot into the performance of your marketing strategies. With analysis, this information is a direct evaluation of how effectively your marketing dollars are being put to use and where the budget may need to be adjusted to drive conversions. From here, the business can determine if changes need to be made for goals to be met.”
ROI can mean different things for different companies.
“Sometimes this is how many products were sold, qualified leads were generated, or job applicants that applied. No matter what the metric for success is, a marketing team should always be reporting on what the company got based on their marketing spend and how that compares to previous time periods.” Shares Jasz Joseph of SyncShow.
And as Jaime Laats succinctly puts it, “It’s easy to get caught up in click-through rates and page views, but what return are we actually getting from those clicks.” That’s the actual question.
A brief overview of your competitors’ recent marketing activities is also an essential discussion point at marketing reporting meetings.
“You shouldn’t spend too much time focusing on their actions, but discussing what was successful for them can help give inspiration for your own activities. In most cases, your competitors’ customer profile is similar to yours, so why not take advantage of these free insights?” Explains Alex Cannon of Accordably.
Alex Cascio of Vibrant Media Productions shares their experience and says, “At Vibrant, we always cover at least a few different cities (such as NY, LA, Atlanta) that are in our industry to see what competitors in major cities are doing.
This is not to say we copy anyone, but it’s always a good idea to see what type of content your competitors are releasing, how they are marketing, and what kind of success they’re having. It’s been highly effective to take the time to see what is working in other markets to then adapt it to our own, whether it’s in our industry or others.”
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