By combining metrics from multiple data sources, you can create more informative, more insightful reporting dashboards.
Marketing | Sep 21
Jessica Malnik on June 16, 2021 (last modified on June 14, 2021) • 12 minute read
No one is excited to read a 20-page marketing report once a week. Yet, this kitchen sink approach is still what so many marketers rely on each week when they report on their results to their boss.
Instead of spending the time upfront to identify the primary marketing KPIs that really move the needle, they throw every data point they can find – including a ton of vanity metrics – into a big ole’ report and send it to their boss once a week.
This approach helps no one.
And as the marketer creating these reports, you are wasting hours each week manually compiling data instead of doing the work. And, your boss has to play detective each week if they want to figure out what is actually happening in marketing.
If you want to create compelling marketing reports that don’t take hours to put together and increase your odds of getting a promotion, then keep reading.
In this post, we’ve curated the top marketing KPIs that fellow marketers are sharing with their managers.
If you want to stay in business, you need sales. As such, the best KPI to show is how the marketing efforts you are doing translate to revenue.
“At the end of the day, the best to judge your marketing’s success is by measuring it’s growth in sales revenue,” says Avinash Chandra. “Not only does it serve as a good indicator when it comes to strategic planning, but it also allows for identification of growth trends.”
One way to take this a step further is to clearly show sales trends over time.
Anthony Chen of PaidSearch.Pro says, “One metric in performance based marketing could be total unit sales compared to last year as well as an increase in average basket size.”
Or, you might want to segment sales by location.
Tori Bell of Clever Touch Marketing adds, “It is important to compare the volume of sales between online and physical stores so that you track where demand is high and where it is low and figure out why. If there is a higher demand in a certain area you can look at customizing certain services and products for that region, For instance,where there are two locations with similar sales volumes you can try a promotional sale at one location to see if it drives up sales.
Managers obviously need this information to determine and authorize appropriate action such as the promotion.”
When you are tracking top line revenue, it is important to also track profit. Revenue is how much money the company is generating. Profit is how much the company actually made.
“That KPI should be something like sales, profit, leads, or some ratio that speaks to the cost to obtain those KPIs,” says Jeff Ferguson of Amplitude Digital. “If it isn’t, you probably want to ask why, because just about everything else is a diagnostic metric that is usually a distraction from the real KPIs.”
Editor’s Note: Looking to stay on top of revenue and profit numbers? Use this Quickbooks Profit and Loss Overview Dashboard.
Now, if you have a longer sales cycle, another KPI that you might want to share with your manager is leads.
“Marketing leads would be the ones I like to share with my boss because they can measure the marketing effort,” says Monique Gesmundo of Growth Rocket. “Marketing leads are also an indicator that could help the business to know whom to target.
Chris Wilks of BrandExtract adds, “At the end of the day, your manager/boss wants to know what they’re getting for their investment in marketing. MQLs are a tangible way to showcase the value of marketing efforts.”
Editor’s Note: This HubSpot Marketing Dashboard gives you and your boss a high-level overview of site traffic and new leads.
Are you generating a positive return on your marketing investment?
“I believe any business wants to see a positive return on its investment,” says Michael Robinson of Cheap SSL Security. “In order to evaluate your monthly and annual results, you must calculate your digital marketing return on investment. The opportunity to start preparing plans and budgets for future planning cycles is also important.
You don’t want to keep rising the marketing budget for an operation that is costing your company money. So, regardless of which marketing strategy the company employs, the return on investment will decide how you continue in the future.
To measure your digital marketing ROI, use the formula below:
Digital Marketing ROI = (Sales Growth – Marketing Investment) / Marketing Investment”
Christian Nelson of Reminderband says, “ROAS, or ROI, is far and away the most important marketing KPI to share with your boss. Other metrics help to understand behaviors and optimize ad strategies, but the bottom line your boss wants to know is if you’re making more revenue than you’re spending on marketing. Reporting on this KPI also highlights your value, provided your work is resulting in a healthy ROAS.”
Chris Labbate of SEOBANK adds, “When sharing marketing metrics to your leaders, I always include the full picture of sales growth, but especially on which marketing channels proved the best ROI.
Analysis of different campaigns and breaking things down into CPL (Cost Per Lead) and CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) will tell the full story of which marketing efforts are most effective for sales.
Getting more granular with your reporting you can look at the QL (Quality of Leads) coming in, and how long they stay on as a customer ALV (Average Lifetime Value of a Customer)
Having these metrics ready, helps you project future sales numbers and accurately budget for new marketing campaigns. Hitting your sales targets is a matter of reverse engineering your current business performance, and seeing where you can make improvements.”
If you work in paid ads, then ad spend is a KPI to share with your manager.
“Ad spend and revenue (profit) generated is always going to be one of the most important KPI figures to share with a boss,” says Zac Johnson of Blogging.org. “They ultimately want to see their money working, and this is one of the best ways to provide that.”
How many people are taking your desired call-to-action across all of your landing pages?
“Obviously this is going to depend on your specific position, but in my role as head of experimentation, here are the things I share with my director of growth,” says Alex Birkett. “How many experiments concluded in this time period? How many experiments are currently running? How many experiments won out of the ones we ran? What was the win per experiment? How is our aggregate conversion rate tracking towards the goal?
Anything beyond that is getting into the weeds, which we can do if necessary. But those metrics, at a high level, will tell a lot of the story as to the progress of the program, given they include both input and output metrics.”
In some cases, you may want to report on individual landing pages.
“If your landing page is up and running, it’s lovely, and it adheres to all best practices, but you need to determine if it’s really converting,” says Ben Richardson of Development Academy. “A landing page that does not produce leads is worthless, regardless of how much traffic it receives or how well-designed it is, so keep an eye on your conversion rate.
If your landing page receives a lot of traffic but has a poor conversion rate, it’s a red flag that something needs to be changed on the page, much like your traffic to lead ratio.
Try A/B testing any of the following improvements to see which ones get the best results:
As marketers, it is easy to obsess over customer acquisition rates and costs, but it is even more important to measure how many of the customers you are acquiring are sticking around.
“Customer Attrition Rate (CAR), says Melanie Musson of SureBuyCarInsurance.com. “A low CAR demonstrates that you’re doing your job and keeping customers from turning to the competition. You look good when you save the company money, and retaining a client is a lot less costly than gaining a new one.”
Another way to measure customer retention efforts is through an NPS survey.
“Customer satisfaction is the most important marketing KPI to share with your boss because it shows whether or not the customers are happy,” says Andre Oentoro of Milkwhale. “One of the factors that make or break a business is customer satisfaction. If your company’s customer satisfaction rate is a bit low, your boss should know so you can figure out what are the best steps to take to improve customer experience.”
Paige Arnof-Fenn of Mavens & Moguls adds, “Whether your business is B2B or B2C every business is P2P, and connecting on a personal level is what matters most.
Successful businesses understand their product or service is about more than the transaction, they are in the relationship business. People buy brands they know, like, and trust. Everyone is not going to like, buy or hire you but for the ones who would be a great fit for you make sure they feel and keep a connection and give them a reason to remember you so that when they need your help they think of you first.
Your brand grows when you have consistent messaging and deliver on your promises so build a strong relationship that is based on your value proposition, not on price.
The best KPI is really customer satisfaction and specifically Net Promoter Score because repeat customers and referrals are key, the most cost-efficient way to build a business and scale your brand in my experience. Would they recommend it to others? This is important to understand for insights into why your brand matters.”
Email and lifecycle marketers might include unsubscribe rates as a primary KPI.
If you work in SEO or content marketing, keyword rankings is a KPI that you might track closely.
“We strive to improve our organic search in the hope of increasing lead conversion through direct forms,” says Natasha Rei of Explainerd. “Hence, one of the essential KPI to share with our manager is our position on the SERP. We regularly monitor our SEO ranks after pulling content strategy efforts. By knowing our top entry pages and organic traffic, we can then improve and focus on building those pages to attract more visitors.”
Measuring and reporting on sign-ups can be a proxy for leads.
“I don’t think there’s a blanket statement you can make here, but rather the metric you should share with your boss is the one that the entire team is working towards,” says Hiba Amin of Soapbox. “For example, at Soapbox, the metric that marketing owns and laser-focuses on is weekly signups. So, when we have our quick weekly team goals sync, the focus is to understand how each channel (and each direct report) is contributing within their channel to our sign-up goals.
Whether they go up or down, I think that it’s on the channel owners/direct reports to report on how their initiatives are impacting that north star marketing metric along with context around why they went up (or down).”
Not sure the above KPIs are the right ones to share with your boss? A general piece of advice our contributors mentioned is to focus on your key growth metrics.
“My advice is to only share high-level metrics unless the boss asks – it’s likely they aren’t as in the weeds as you are when it comes to how you do your jobs, so if you mandate is to increase traffic and you try and bring up metrics like bounce rate and pages per sessions, it’s unlikely to resonate,” explains Kristy Smith of The Girly Travels. “Keep it macro and on topic, unless you know they’re likely to ask for more.”
Matt Marshall of Coffee Witness adds, “Your boss cares about different things than your direct reports. Your boss cares about the health and long term sustainability of the business, whereas your direct reports need to have KPIs that are more aligned with the process.
In my experience, bosses and C-level execs care most about:
They don’t have much time for the sorts of things that you might discuss with your minions, such as links built, new pieces of content published or social media publishing statistics.
Similarly, executive level decision makers don’t need to micromanage the day-to-day processes. They tend to prefer monthly updates which they can easily compare to the prior month and ask some high level questions like:
Why were conversions down this month?
This is very different from the sorts of discussions that you might have with your team, which might include questions like:
Why did you only publish 3 new pieces of content last month?”
Regardless of your role on the marketing team, a concise report that outlines how the marketing efforts you are doing contribute to the bottom line is always better than a 20 page marketing report full of vanity metrics.
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