4 tips for tip top marketing reports (the stuff your CEO really wants to know)

For more than twenty years I’ve helped countless Heads of Marketing build dashboards and marketing reports for directors and senior management teams. 

But I remember one occasion in my early career where I attempted to produce a marketing report of my own.

Filled with excitement, I revealed my efforts to the board; only to watch (with growing discomfort) as the director skimmed through my detailed charts and stats with glazed-over eyes.

I was lucky enough to be set straight that day. And from owning my own business, I have a far greater understanding of the level of reporting detail the marketing department should provide to the c-suite.

Producing marketing reports the c-suite wants to read

At Mediahawk, I work with many clients in marketing roles who struggle with the dilemma, “how do I condense all this information down for my boss?”.

Most leaders just want the top-level figures that indicate how their business is doing and whether their investments are getting a good return. The bottom line being, “are we making money?”.

Here are a few tips on tailoring your marketing reports to the needs of the c-suite – as well as some clever ways Mediahawk helps you deliver stellar insights to impress the board.

Tip 1: Keep it top level and reduce content until it hurts

You and your CEO are interested in different levels of information.

You will be interested in acquisition per channel, cost per channel, digital performance, the latest campaigns, keywords and social media trending. You need this data to make decisions and to allocate your budget.

Your CEO isn’t making those decisions and they won’t need to see this data. In fact, the more data you send, the less they’ll see.

Remember: when everything is important, nothing is important.

But beware. Your CEO will be inherently keen on marketing performance. It’s a cornerstone indicator of the performance of the business they’re running.

Keep the data distilled to a handful of top-level metrics and they’ll be happy.

How Mediahawk helps with this

With Mediahawk, you can create custom dashboards, showing only the very top level information for the c-suite.

In fact, your boss can even have their own account within Mediahawk, allowing them to log in and access their own dashboards.

To make life even easier, they can schedule emails containing a copy of the dashboards, to be sent however often they like.

Tip 2: Support the business plan – if you haven’t read it recently, read it

Part of every CEO’s job is to ensure everyone knows what the business strategy is. So, don’t forget there will usually be some strategic initiatives, outside of the normal metrics, which will need data to support them.

Is the plan to grow customer volumes or consolidate, increase profits or grow revenue? Whatever it is, support the strategy with your metrics and align them to it.

Tip 3: Provide prior performance and target comparison to understand direction of travel

Information comes to life when it is compared. An ROI of 20% might sound terrific. But if this time last year ROI was 30%, you’d want to know why it’s reduced by a third, wouldn’t you?

Metrics in isolation seldom help. How are you performing compared to last year? How are you performing compared to last quarter? How are you performing compared to target?

Comparison doesn’t just make data useful; it gives it context and it shows you direction of travel.

How Mediahawk helps with this

Using Mediahawk’s powerful segmentation features, you can quickly and easily slice and dice your data to understand when any changes in ROI occurred.

Then you can use your Mediahawk data to justify any further decisions to increase or decrease spend on certain channels.

Tip 4: Focus on acquisition, cost, and value in your marketing metrics

As humans, we’re all inherently different in how we consume information. However, these are the key metrics every leader will want to see:

1) Acquisition

How many leads have been generated by marketing activity, and how many customers have been acquired and what is their value? You need to bring all inbound sales channels together to give one or two metrics.

Tracking acquisition is critical to accurately reporting ROI. The more you automate, the more complete your results will be. You may need to check that your CRM or lead management system updates all inbound leads – online and through offline channels such as the phone.

2) Spend and customer acquisition cost

How much are we spending across all channels and all lead generation activity? Knowing your customer acquisition cost is the first step toward understanding your ROI.

If your marketing spend was £10,000 and you acquired 10 customers, then your customer acquisition cost is £1,000. That’s straightforward. This leads us to lifetime customer value.

3) Lifetime customer value

If you’re able to increase the lifetime value (LTV) in relation to the customer acquisition cost, you will improve returns.

In its simplest form, LTV = monthly revenue / monthly churn rate.

For example, you acquire one customer paying £100 per month. However, you know that on average you lose 1% of your customers each month. So LTV = £100 / 1% = £10,000.

4) Return on investment

Now it all comes together. Simply put, ROI demonstrates how effectively your marketing budget is being spent. You could use the LTV of your acquisitions and customer acquisition cost to produce a straightforward metric.

How Mediahawk helps with this

Mediahawk’s sales reporting feature makes it easy for marketers to put their results in context with sales revenue, opportunity status and pipeline health.

When the c-suite demands insight into how marketing is impacting the business bottom line, sales reporting tools help you see the complete customer journey and identify the total value of customers.

You can even toggle the report between sales and conversions, showing the value and quantity of sales.

Producing an informative and effective board level marketing metrics report

In summary, as a marketer you will have hundreds of metrics at your fingertips.

But this doesn’t mean you need to share it all. To produce a report that is meaningful to (and valued by) board members, remember:

  • Keep it top level and cut it back on content until it hurts
  • Understand your businesses goals and strategy and align your reports to them
  • Put data into context by comparing against prior period and budget
  • Focus on acquisition, cost, and value.

About the author - Michael Morrell

CEO of Mediahawk and a specialist in marketing and telephone analytics. Michael has over 20 years’ experience advising businesses how to use marketing analytics to increase revenue through better capture, tracking and attribution of marketing leads. Prior to founding Mediahawk, Michael worked in the media, industrial and defence sectors.

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