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Marketers should expect more from their Performance Reporting

Although marketers are all too used to being told “you can’t have that” in response to a request for performance information, there has been some significant movement forward in technology, functionality and usability.  Given that, it’s a good time to check in on what you should expect to get when looking for a Cross-Channel Marketing Performance Measurement solution.

1. Fast:

You should expect more.  There are solutions that can now pull in the data daily and generate the reports and views on-demand.

It shouldn’t take days or weeks – When the CMO does get someone to say yes to creating a report or getting a dashboard, it usually takes at least a week.  It involves getting data from various sources, doing an analysis (usually in Excel) and then a few iterations of creating the report (usually in Powerpoint).

2. Single Source of Truth:

You should expect your marketing performance system to start with the actual source of performance data at the detail level and be able to build summary views all the way to the Executive Level from that same set of data.

Marketing is not used to using the same source of data for the CMO dashboard and the detailed campaign performance reports. The CMO report may be pulled from financial systems and/or summary reports from agencies. The detailed reports may come from your CRM system, email marketing system and/or direct social reporting sources. The net of this is they rarely agree and you find yourself explaining away inconsistencies and losing confidence in your numbers.

3. Automated:

Maybe this goes without saying given the expectation of daily updates, but the process of collecting and synthesizing the data should be automated. In these days of APIs, there is no reason that almost all of the data can flow into a system via automated integrations.

While APIs do constantly change and sometimes go dark, you should expect a solution that understands APIs and the data and can handle this complexity for you.

4. Built for Marketing:

This is something that is well-known by analysts and/or those that pull together data and do the analysis for marketing performance reporting. Marketing data is very complex and taking raw data and turning it into the views desired across the organization is incredibly complex.  Not only that, each request for a new metric, insight or view and the new sources of marketing data constantly being added drive new challenges to this problem. Marketers want to see summary data like reach, frequency, engagement, Return on Advertising and performance against budget.  However, the data comes in as tweets, posts, likes, shares, clicks, opens, views and impressions. Not only that, but marketers typically want to see data over different slices of time, regions, products and campaigns.

You should demand a performance solution built for marketing that understands these issues and does the work for you.

5. Cross-Channel:

Your one source of the truth has to work with all of your marketing channels…not just one group like web or social. You need one place that brings together all your data from social, web, search ads, display ads, CRM, mobile, ratings reports, customer satisfaction, television/radio, call stats, PR, revenue, bookings, marketing mix models, attribution models, offline sources…ALL OF THEM! 

Your marketing is cross-channel and your marketing performance solution has to be cross-channel too!  Don’t settle for less.

6. Easy and Flexible:

Look, marketers are getting more and more tech savvy and most of them have now grown up with technology.  However, marketers are not programmers and can’t afford the delay of having a programmer construct what they want in a performance solution. We need solutions that marketers can use.  This usually means some pre-built views and drag ‘n drop interfaces. However, marketers need flexibility in their performance solution.  They need to be able to easily define their own metrics and easily create new ways to view the results that are more intuitive and/or take into account new information or perspectives.  Thus, we need a solution that allows a marketer to easily configure something new.

You can’t be reliant on technical resources outside the marketing team to build dashboards, reports or even new metrics.

7. Addresses Ad Hoc Questions:

Every time a report gets distributed that provides great insights and information, questions come back trying to get to the next level of understanding.  It might be to better understand why something happened or what it is correlated to.  It might be asking for the details that rolled up to a particular metric or view. Regardless, these questions normally kick off another round of analysis and reporting and typically take too long. A powerful solution needs an easy way to drill down into the reports and dashboards.

You need a way to intuitively search your raw data and extract insights all the way to the most granular level of detail.

8. A Picture is worth a 1000 Numbers:

Most reports take the numbers and turn them into graphs that are indeed more visual and informative. However, all of these charts and reports typically relate to some piece of creative and the associated copy. Marketers love seeing the summary data but invariably they will need to understand the creative and copy associated with the performance. This information should be carried along with the details in a marketing performance system so they can easily be associated with results.

You need not just a visualization layer, while important, having the corresponding creative that matches the performance report allows marketers to see campaigns more holistically.

9. The Right to Change Your Mind:

All the digital marketing and associated tagging technology drives marketers to plan in advance how they want to view results. However, this isn’t always practical.  First, sometimes campaigns get executed in the field and someone doesn’t adhere to tagging standards. Second, sometimes you want to group data together for analysis in different way that you anticipated prior to the campaign.

You should expect a marketing solution to understand this and afford you an easy means to create new groupings of data after the fact or even in the middle of the activation.

10. Ping Me:

While it’s great to have all of these powerful reports and dashboards available at your fingertips each day, sometimes you don’t always get a chance to look or catch everything. Your marketing performance solution should alert you when something significant (good or bad) happens. It should be able to detect an anomaly and then proactively let you know. You should be able to define low and high thresholds and have the software let you know when you cross them.

You can’t afford to go over budget nor do you want to have a campaign dropped by mistake.

It’s time for marketers to stand up and demand a solution that is built for their needs and works the way they need to work to be competitive in this global economy. Don’t settle…get what you want for a change!