Marketers: You Want Board Buy-In? Change How You Report

by RedEye RedEye

Andrew Furlong, Sales Director at RedEye, explains why digital marketers should change the way they report to get their teams the attention they deserve

Are you lazy? Take a look at your current reporting. As a digital marketer, are you taking the easy route and compiling a stack of reports in ‘marketing language’, hoping your CEO and board will translate them and understand your team’s value and achievements? They won’t! So take it upon yourself to change the way you report and reap the rewards.

A quick Google search for ‘marketing metrics’ finds plenty of articles outlining the top reporting metrics. All claim that every marketer should not only know their metrics, but also use them to report on. And it seems they have to form an acronym to be taken seriously.

CTR, OR, CPA, RPV, CPC … We could fill a whole page with reporting acronyms, however that’s a rather dull exercise, so we’ll give it a miss!

The list of acronyms will undoubtedly continue to grow due to the expansion of digital marketing and the constant cycle of new suppliers and industry analysts creating buzz terms.

In a very pragmatic way however, what is more and more apparent is that, if done correctly, digital marketers are not just reporting on marketing, but are measuring the performance of their (digital) business. This shift, knowingly or not, puts marketing (if it weren’t already) right at the centre of most businesses.

When I compared all these lovely marketing reporting acronyms to what a CEO or other senior managers report on (increase in sales, new customers, lost customers), very few of the same metrics came up. So does that matter? Yes it does, for two key reasons.

First, marketing is fundamental to the success of most businesses, but if it is only seen as a cost item on a budget plan, then it will always be hard to get the senior buy-in you may need. To drive the change you know is needed, you have to be able to prove it and articulate it in a way that resonates. That alone is a good enough reason in my book.

Second, maybe less critical, but equally important to most of you reading this as a marketer or ecommerce/digital professional: you want to make damn sure your expertise and strategy is being recognised right at the top of your organisation. If they can’t make head nor tail of what you report on, you aren’t going anywhere fast.

As a professional digital marketer you therefore have to decide between two approaches.

Approach one

CEOs and their boards just suck it up and get to grips with the many digital marketing metrics and try to distil them into meaningful KPIs themselves.

Approach two

Marketing teams change how they report. Changing how you report is probably the sensible way to go.

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about how you create reports that really resonate:

• Understand the metrics that define your business performance. Speak to your CEO and Board to understand the information they really need—don’t just work from assumptions
• Review how reports are currently compiled. Challenge people: ask them, “So what does that mean and what impact does that have on sales?”
• Understand the customer journey—use attribution models to link up acquisition spend with retention channels
• Liaise with other departments to get the information you need to evaluate the full business and the impact of marketing
• Challenge your suppliers and agencies to move beyond standard reporting (analytics, email, ads etc). They must support you and may have some great ideas
• Make sure you are always able to produce these new relevant reports quickly (within 24 hours)

As a final (although obvious) point, get close to your customers. If you don’t have easy access to your customer data and don’t know who your best customers are, consider a customer data platform.

Good luck – change is good!

This article also appears on RedEye’s blog.