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Creating a Marketing Reporting Cadence

By February 22, 2024No Comments

Creating a Marketing Reporting Cadence

We work with many clients at various points on the spectrum of marketing reporting maturity. Some orgs we work with are super early in their maturity, and some are much later in their maturity. But, the orgs that do marketing reporting best, have a reporting cadence.

What’s a marketing reporting cadence? Well, it’s a predictable reporting schedule that sets an expectation for the rest of the marketing org about what’s going to be reported on and when that is going to happen.

There are many benefits to having a marketing reporting cadence…

  • Predictability – People like to know when things are going to be reported on
  • Few ad hoc requests – If you have a reporting cadence, the ad hoc requests that come up will be fewer and further between
  • Data familiarity – When you report on data in a predictable and repeating manner, everyone in the org becomes more familiar with the data
  • Adoption – Reporting and data becomes adopted much more seamlessly when there’s an established reporting cadence

There’s probably a bunch more, but these are the ones we wanted to include in this article, because they have the biggest impact.

So, how do you get started with creating a marketing reporting cadence? Well, it starts with understanding what you want to report on.

Identifying what you want to report on

Before you get started on the who, the when, the how or anything else. We need to start with the “what”. What are we going to report on??

It’s easy to have a bunch of ideas in your head, but that won’t help us get started. So, we need to write these things down. Let’s write out our reporting wish list. You’ll probably want to include things like…

  • How many net new leads did we create and from where?
  • How did those leads turn into MQLs?
  • How did those MQLs turn into Opps?
  • How did those Opps turn into Win?
  • What are our funnel conversion rates?
  • How does marketing influence Opps?
  • How does marketing influence Wins?
  • Which specific wins did marketing influence?
  • Which specific wins did marketing source?

I’m sure you can come up with quite a few more than just the ones listed above. But, you’ll need to start writing these down into a wishlist.

Now, these are very specific, so the next step would be to categorize these. You want to have anywhere from 2-4 categories. One category may be related to lead generation specifically. Another category may be related to the funnel generally. Still another may be related to pipeline. And, maybe the last one is related to wins.

You’ll also want to prioritize these reports. We would recommend no more than 3-4 prioritization levels. P1 are the absolute must-have reports. From there on down, they get less and less important.

At this point, you now know what you’re going to report on. Now, it’s time to figure out the next step. How often?

Determining you reporting intervals

The reporting intervals are just as important as what you’re going to report on. Because they determine how frequently we’re going to report on each of the categories. It’s important to focus these intervals on the categories at hand. And, you may have different intervals for each of your categories.

Why are the intervals so important? Because, if you report on things too frequently, you’ll be creating reports for things that aren’t changing. Or, if you report on things too infrequently, you may miss things and be too slow to make changes where necessary. So, you have to find the right intervals of time.

Some orgs have smaller, faster deals. Other orgs have larger, slower deals. And there’s a whole spectrum in the middle there. So, you need to find what is the right reporting interview for you. That could be that a specific category is reported on every two weeks (fortnightly), monthly or even quarterly. The goal here is to be prescriptive with how often you’ll report on that specific category.

Make sure to document that along with your wishlist. Also, feel free to experiment with this a bit. You may start out with one reporting interval, and then realize that it’s either too short or too long.

Assign an owner

This one is the one that probably gets overlooked the most… and that’s having an owner for this thing. This is the person that schedules the meetings. They are also responsible for creating and analyzing the reports and data. And, they’re the one that makes recommendations around the reporting intervals… if they need to be decreased or increased. This person is your analyst.

This is the person that should be coming up with the insights. They should be an unbiased person in the org, so that they don’t have any personal reasons to analyze the data in any specific way. They are also the one that is responsible for QA’ing and troubleshooting the data in the reports. It’s a good idea that this person be someone involved with the Marketo Automation and/or Marketing Attribution platform.

This person will then execute the plan that has been outlined in the steps above. They will create, run, and analyze the reports… and then create a vehicle to disseminate the results of their analysis. This could be a PowerPoint deck, a PDF document or just a regular Word doc. But, the focus should be on the actionable insights that they are taking from the reports and data, with links back to the reports should we need to deep dive into the data.

During this process, they should also be doing deep dive into specific topics where they find questions or interesting threads to follow. Reporting should be like a pyramid… with the foundation being what’s happening. As this person asks more questions and dives deeper into the data, they start climbing the pyramid until they get to the “why” and the insights. This is where the actionable insights are found… way up at the top of the pyramid. A dashboard can’t do that.

Optimize as you go

Once you get started with this process, you’ll start to see areas of optimization. You’ll see things that weren’t on the wishlist that need to be added. You’ll find things on the wishlist that just don’t seem that important anymore. You’ll want to schedule in periodic deep dives into specific channels or schedule a deep dive into a specific large campaign (like a product launch). That’s all good!! Optimize the cadence as you go. Move things around. Experiment with new ideas.

The goal here is to get started with a cadence, so that you can then optimize it to meet your needs.

One of the biggest reasons our clients don’t get started with a reporting cadence is because they expect it to be perfect from the start… so they get paralyzed with how to get started. With this framework, you’ll be able to find a “good enough” starting point, so that you can then iterate it as you go and ultimately wind up with something that perfectly fits your needs.

If you need some additional ideas, or need some help getting started, don’t hesitate to contact us.