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on September 29, 2021 (last modified on December 1, 2021) • 13 minute read
A blank page can look terrifying.
You make yourself a cup of nice, hot coffee, sit in your comfy chair, and open a new document, but… Your strategy report won’t write itself.
And when you have no idea where to start or how to make your report look professional, neat, and above all, compelling, minutes may go by without you writing a single word.
But what if we told you things didn’t need to be that hard? That you could write exceptional strategy reports by following a simple guide encompassing both the report’s structure and contents?
That’s exactly what we’re about to share with you! Without further ado, let’s get started.
Writing a strategic report can be crucial for your business growth.
In this type of report, you look at your strategy (either overall business strategy or by department – marketing, financial, etc.) and analyze its performance over a specific time period – usually monthly or annually.
When writing a marketing strategy report, you typically take a look at the results of different activities and plans you’ve implemented, and compare your current status to the goals you’ve set before a specific time period. You may also compare your current results to the last year’s figures, so you can see where you stand and evaluate your progress, or the overall business goals of the company.
A strategy report also presents possible action plans for the future, based on the performance analysis.
Based on your strategy report, you can determine what changes you want to introduce, what elements of the strategy you want to keep and replicate, and what activities turned out to be unsuccessful.
Some experts separate the contents of their strategy reports into three categories that answer the three primary questions about their business, or in this case, marketing strategy:
These questions are actually a good illustration of any strategy. You have a starting point, at which you want to revisit your goals, mission, and vision of the business you want to have in the future. If there have been any changes to these, you should redefine them in the strategy report.
While looking at your current situation, it’s also a good idea to perform a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and bear them in mind while writing the report.
You also have a set of goals you want to achieve. To get there, you need to have a strategy. It’s a well-defined plan with clear, actionable steps that you can take (and measure in the process) to get to your marketing goal. It’s essential that the activities you complete can be measured because that’s how you track your progress and improve your strategy over time.
While building your path towards your goals, you should be aware of your competition, as well. Do you have a sustainable advantage that helps you stand out from your competitors? In what ways can you make it even better, or at least maintain it? Your unique selling point is something you should nurture to stay competitive.
Don’t neglect your short-term goals, either. Every great goal can be broken down into smaller objectives and everyday completions of these smaller goals eventually lead to bigger progress towards the greater business goals. Where you see yourself tomorrow is just as important as where you see yourself in ten years.
Like most marketers and marketing managers, you want to know how your efforts are translating into results each month. How is your website performing? How well are you converting traffic into leads and customers? Which marketing channels are performing best? How does organic search compare to paid campaigns and to previous months? You might have to scramble to put all of this together in a single report, but now you can have it all at your fingertips in a single Databox dashboard.
Our Monthly Marketing Performance Dashboard includes data from Google Analytics and HubSpot Marketing with key performance metrics like:
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics and HubSpot Marketing experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template that contains all the essential metrics for monitoring and analyzing your website traffic and its sources, lead generation, and more. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your HubSpot and Google Analytics accounts with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
A good strategy report usually covers the following primary areas:
Defining any strategy starts with defining your goals. You don’t know what to do until you know what you want to achieve. That’s why a strategic report needs to include strategic objectives – your long-term marketing goals that help you accomplish your vision.
To determine your goals, you should think about what your mission is and how it connects to your vision. How will your marketing strategy help you achieve your vision and carry out your mission? The goals you set should be aligned with your overall business objectives.
You can only measure your progress towards your goals if you determine what your KPIs are going to be. Look at the list of your goals and think about how you’re going to measure your success. For example, if your goal is to provide an exceptional customer experience, you may want to track your customer retention rate or repeated purchases.
Including your KPIs in the strategy report will help you evaluate the success of the strategy and determine which areas were the strongest, and which ones didn’t meet the expectations.
A marketing strategy report should also highlight the issues that you may have encountered while executing it. Maybe you had wrong assumptions about your target audience, or your ads didn’t perform as well as you’d expected.
Obstacles and issues are not something that should be excluded from the report just because it doesn’t feel pleasant to talk about them. They’re actually a great opportunity to learn and work on the strategy to improve it – identify its weak points so you can fix them in the future.
Just looking back on your performance doesn’t have much use if you don’t act on the data you’ve collected. Some hiccups in your strategy will have a solution, and your report is a good place for you to give your recommendations.
Devote a section of the report to your suggestions on how you could tackle the issues that may have appeared in the strategy performance analysis.
With these sections in mind, you could structure your strategy report the following way:
There are many strategy report models out there. Make sure the one you choose is flexible, scalable, and effective without being too complicated. Sometimes, you’ll need to adjust your strategic plan as you go. Here’s a simple marketing strategy report model you can easily follow.
Start with a proper title. A strategic report may be a more serious document than a blog post, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t have an engaging title. (After all, you’re a marketer, aren’t you?) It can be longer than a few words, so you can try to encompass your goals or results with it.
The introductory part of the report should identify the subject of the report in a brief paragraph, explain its purpose, and what methodology and tools you used to compile the report.
Your mission should be stated at the beginning of the report. Through presenting the core values of your business and your “why”, you’ll be able to tell a story about your brand, which makes the report more readable.
Also, you’re giving the reader a background of your business before you introduce the strategy part and making a connection between the whole picture of your business and the marketing department and strategy.
Don’t forget to state your vision, as well. It’s important because you’ll also talk about your strategic goals later on in the report.
A part of your report should cover market analysis and an overview of your main competition. You can include the SWOT analysis here as you’re defining your unique selling point and comparing yourself to your competitors. Review your strengths and weaknesses, skills, and areas of improvement, and consider different internal and external factors that may affect your strategy and its success.
This analysis helps you understand where you stand now and what you’ve achieved so far. Then, you can proceed to outline a plan on how you’re going to get to where you see your company in the future.
Tracing your steps back from your goals helps you learn exactly what you need to do to reach your objectives.
Use the SMART goals technique at this point to define your goals as clearly as possible. This acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. It means you need to set precisely defined goals that you really can achieve within a certain time period and that you have a way to measure if you were successful. SMART goals can enhance your actionable strategic plan and help you stay on the right track while implementing it.
Some goals will be more important than others. Use your strategy report to describe your main projects, the ones that reflect your strategic goals. Include the following: what their goals are, how you’re going to achieve them, what tools and resources you need, what outcome you’re hoping for, etc. By determining what your priorities are, you enable yourself to choose and define the right KPIs to measure, too.
Many companies have a problem with defining business KPIs that are aligned with their strategic priorities and truly measure their progress towards the goals they’ve set. Each business should have primary and secondary KPIs that they’ll track on a company level and for each department. Only include the most relevant KPIs in your report – otherwise, it’ll look confusing and the reader won’t know which ones really matter.
Not acting on your goals and the data you’ve collected by tracking your KPIs is one of the biggest mistakes companies make. That’s why this section of your strategy report is particularly important. After you’ve reviewed your current position and defined your goals for the future, it’s time to develop an actionable step-by-step plan on how you’re going to progress. This plan consists of your projects, that also need to be defined clearly by answering these:
Finally, write a one-page executive summary of your report. It’s recommended to write this section at the end, although it’s typically included at the beginning of the report. However, only when you finish the report will you be able to see the whole picture and write an effective summary that will encompass all the relevant sections and takeaways from the report.
Does writing a marketing strategy report sound like a time-consuming task?
Well, despite its importance, we can’t deny that it takes time to write a good one. You may not always have enough time to focus on writing a quality strategic report that will amaze your clients or managers. But you don’t want to throw something together in five minutes either, because you know it’ll affect the way people perceive your plan.
So, is there a way to create a visually beautiful report without spending hours putting it together? To save your time so you can focus on the core aspects of your job?
Thanks to Databox, there is.
In fact, it only takes 24 hours to get a customized dashboard that’s ideal for your marketing strategy. This dashboard allows you to analyze your strategy performance and learn exactly what you can do to improve it. Moreover, we help you identify the right KPIs to track and visualize them in an effective way that makes them actionable and accessible. You get valuable tips and guidance until you’re ready to finalize your report.
Can you imagine that? It’s like we build a house for you AND advise you on how to decorate it perfectly.
We bet it sounds like something your business could use. If you agree, don’t waste any more time – schedule a call with us today, and let’s see how beautiful your reports can be when we create them together.
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