Monitoring the results of marketing campaigns, and overall marketing strategy, is an important activity that helps you determine how effective your current marketing activities are. Taking note of their performance helps create benchmarks for future comparison, if you don't already have historical marketing data to work with. Marketing activities should entail a quarterly report. Marketing reports can help determine campaign ROI (return on investment) and analyze how effective a particular strategy is, and what direction you should head in next. Here's what you need to know about preparing a quarterly report and why it is integral to your long-term success.
After all, marketing campaigns ultimately work to generate more revenue. But they can also have different immediate short-term purposes, like rebranding, gaining a stronger foothold in specific channels, or entering a new region or country. Moreover, closely monitoring your activities at a dedicated interval can help determine how to properly allocate your marketing resources. Some areas will inevitably need a higher budget and the appropriate experts, while others could remain the same or pull back depending on the industry, season, and current landscape. New strategies and methods might need to be introduced, and it also doesn't hurt to look at what your competition is doing.
What is a marketing report and why are they crucial?
Marketing reports provide a synopsis of your current marketing activities, and what results these activities have produced to date. Depending on how long the campaign has been running or how long a particular strategy has been in effect, the marketing report would include historical performance so that there is a benchmark to compare the current results.
By preparing a quarterly marketing report, it allows marketers and other key decision-makers to get a top-down view of a brand's overall performance or a specific marketing strategy and determine if any major or minor changes should be made. Ultimately, marketing reports that contain data that can be easily measured such as sales figures, unique visitors, email signups, social media engagement, and other metrics will help marketers clearly communicate the efficacy of marketing strategy to their clients.
By having these easily quantifiable metrics on hand and historic performance to compare them with, marketers can justify maintaining or increasing clients' marketing spend and parse what is helping or hurting them. This way, any future marketing decisions and considerations for new strategies will be based on data rather than speculation.
How often should reports be generated?
Metrics should be examined and analyzed on a regular basis, to determine if a strategy is succeeding in meeting specific marketing goals and increasing revenue. Not looking at marketing data often enough can lead to poor decision-making, while hovering over results daily or in real time may not tell the whole story of what is happening with a campaign, strategy, or overall brand performance.
Examining key performance indicators (KPIs) weekly or monthly is a good idea in order to have historical benchmarks you can easily compare current results to, and have a data-driven basis in which to set longer term marketing goals. However, as helpful as monthly reports are, quarterly reports provide a clearer idea of how different marketing strategies are working out.
This is because the results are still short term, but since quarters represent different seasons, they can also provide more insight into forecasts, planning, and analyzing results. Ultimately, reporting intervals are up to you based on what makes sense for your industry, firm size, and other factors. Quarterly reports are recommended since they can provide a more holistic view of the client's performance and whether certain strategies are effective or not.
This is particularly true of the following list of metrics, as weekly or monthly data points may not always tell the whole story, but a quarterly view would.
3 Essential Metrics You Should Include in Your Quarterly Report
Revenue, New Leads, and Deals Won
Ultimately, how many leads you've generated and deals won are the primary metric to pay attention to. This is because they are direct drivers of revenue, while some of the other metrics on this list are more indirect. For instance, gaining more social media followers is good, but it could take months or years before they become paying customers.
By forming a clearer picture of how many leads and deals you have won, it lends more insight into how leads are slipping through the cracks. Some of the cracks in the system may even actually be gaping holes that need to be sealed, such as needing to make major changes to your website or lead generation process. When your leads and deals won metric is more closely examined and included in your quarterly marketing report, it helps you understand where both the sales and marketing processes need to address shortfalls.
By closely monitoring revenue proximal to marketing activities, it helps justify the investment placed in marketing and demonstrates how efficiently those resources are being allocated.
Website, Search Rank, Social Media, and Email Stats
Metrics related to your website provide a clear picture of how your web presence translates to both overall marketing strategy and revenue generation. Monthly and weekly traffic, where the traffic is coming from, and how many conversions result from clicks are all helpful metrics that tell you how effective your SEO and SEM is and what your audience is interested in. It may be different types of content that perform better with some audience segments than other, or they tend to beeline to speaking to sales and service representatives rather than spending time on your website.
Keep track of pageviews, the number of sessions, session length, unique new visitors and returning visitors, bounce rate, and traffic sources to get an accurate read of how your website is performing. It could be time for a site update, and to improve page speed and accessibility, remove cobwebs and orphaned links, and update outdated information.
These aspects of your website are not only important for a stellar user experience that keeps engagement high, but they're also important for SEO. Search rank is a metric that's prudent to track quarterly, because potential customers being able to find you easily is integral to keeping revenue up. If you're not ranking well in search results, this is a cue to boost your SEO spend and explore new keyword and content strategy.
Social media also increases SEO authority and traffic to your website, in addition to overall brand awareness. B2B and B2C social media have different elements that need to be paid heed to, but what both have in common is that social engagement can foster quality leads and keep the brand relevant. Social media metrics to include in your quarterly report would be new followers, impressions, and interaction on posts that communicate which social channels you should prioritize and which ones should take a backseat.
If your social media performance is lacking, it could be any number of issues with your approach based on your industry and target audience. The wrong platform, not developing enough of a brand voice, and being too bland and repetitive are often culprits for why business social media fails to launch. Think about what your target buyer is drawn to on social media, and what would make them want to engage.
Email metrics are also important to note in a quarterly marketing report since unlike social media, they have the reader's attention rather than potentially being lost in algorithmic churn. Pay attention to the email open rate and how many subscribers are actually reading the emails. Click-through rates also tell you how responsive the emails are, along with the user's intent such as clicking on links to see more content or schedule calls with a represenative.
Unsubscribe rates are also important to track because while they have a negative connotation, they should be compared to how many new subscribers you've gained this month or quarter. High unsubscribe and low open rates could be an indication that it's time to rethink your email marketing strategy and how effective this marketing activity is. If too many emails are being bounced back or reported as spam, both the technical aspect and how emails are collected need to be examined more closely.
Paid Advertising Data
Paid advertising, like display ads, also has metrics that can be tracked to determine if the amount being spent is producing enough ROI to warrant the ad budget. Impressions are important to note, but the marketing report should highlight just how effective that ad campaign is like the click-through rate and conversions. Other signs of intent like signing up for a pre-order email list also matter, because paid ads can serve brand awareness purposes or advertise a very specific product at a time when customers are likely to click and buy.
Decision makers want to see that advertising budgets are justified if those ads are actually increasing reach, awareness, or getting conversions right away.
Where to start?
Setting up your quarterly marketing report can sound intimidating, but it doesn't have to be difficult. The best place to start is to talk to your client or manager, and asking them which metrics are relevant to their short-term and long-term marketing goals.
Depending on what the client or manager needs, they may want a general picture of the marketing KPIs or to zero in on a specific area like social media or email if they've been looking to address shortfalls in those areas. If they're more interested in certain marketing activities while displaying little interest in others, that's your cue to include more comprehensive metrics and a more general picture respectively.
Regardless of which metrics that the viewer cares more about, show more than just the numbers. Explain the context of those numbers with a narrative centering around the campaign or strategy, and visually present the numbers with charts, graphs, and other images that help explain these changes and what recommendations can be made based on the results.
Data-Driven Success with LAIRE
At LAIRE, we believe that marketing decisions should be based on data rather than instinct. While different marketing activities have a tendency to be siloed, they all ultimately come together to drive revenue and keep generating leads.
If you're new to creating marketing reports or need additional expert hands on deck for your marketing activities, contact us to schedule a free 20-minute marketing assessment with our digital marketing professionals. We're here to help analyze your marketing efforts, ROI, and provide the best recommendations for your brand.