When something isn’t working it’s not just you who has to take responsibility and explain what is happening, it is often times your boss. And when it comes to marketing results that could mean they are left explaining a system, almost a language they may not completely understand or have day-to-day interaction with. This is why reporting is so important.
Establishing good reporting habits internally will not only help you and your team understand what is and isn’t happening it can also create a good conversation and check-in process with your boss. This will help keep your boss in the loop and will help you look at marketing goals and the impact it has on the business, instead of the department.
Below are some habits you should establish within your reporting practices to help streamline the process for you and your team and you and your boss.
1. The Dashboard
Let’s say you did want to start sending reports to your boss?
Wait, let’s take is a step back. What if YOU want to look at all the marketing data and social metrics you are hitting?
Understand the cost of a lead through an AdWords Campaign?
Track publications that picked up a press release or re-posted your blog post?
Do you have a place that lets you access that? One that streamlines the process of gathering, importing, visualizing and analyzing data?
That is the first, most important step in creating a report for your boss. You need a system in place that is doing all the “hard stuff” for you, so you can dig into what is actually going on and get the most important information out to your boss. Before anything else, you need to invest in a marketing dashboard. It will make the rest of your reporting to-dos a whole lot more manageable!
2. The Snapshot
When you log into your marketing dashboard you will see everything. Or at least we are hoping you are using a dashboard that lets you see it all (if not, re-read number one). From social, to the web, to offline data, all will be gathered, analyzed and visually displayed for you and your team to take in and then take action on. This is great for your team, this is what you want the people getting their hands dirty, creating content, testing and monitoring campaigns and adjusting budgets to see but your boss does not need to see all of this.
See your boss isn’t going to think technical, they don’t want to get lost in the weeds. They want to talk tactical and see the bigger picture. How does marketing translate into achieving business goals and impacted sales?
Your boss will most likely have a few other departments she oversees and will already have a lot of metrics and numbers coming their way, that is why you have to be the one drilling into the data, analyzing and then presenting them the information they need to know through these reports.
For them, it’s not about the details, it’s about whether or not your strategy is improving your efforts and if the money being invested is paying off. Look for major shifts or changes in metrics and then tie those changes back to events or pivots that took place in your marketing strategy. Explain the bad and highlight the good. Make things easily digestible for her!
3. The Plan
While providing your boss with a snapshot of what is happening it’s important that you don’t just talk about the good. There is always something that can be improved and when you aren’t talking about it that could be a sign you also aren’t working on it. While it can be hard to admit when something isn’t working it’s also important to be accountable and own your losses.
No one is going to have the perfect reports and responses and metrics every time and if these mistakes happened because you tried something new that data is important too. You will now know to never do that again! And know what not to do can be just as important as understanding what you should do.
You also want to make sure you are highlighting your misses so your boss hears it from you before they are asked about it from someone else. Then take is a step further by providing a plan. How do you plan to use this information going forward? Being accountable for it is awesome but what makes a difference is when you explain how you are using that information to impact your actions going forward.
So maybe something didn’t go well, you aren’t pumped to add it to your reports but if you can answer the “so what’s next” questions then that’s the information that your boss will remember and it will have the biggest impact rather than the focus being on the mistakes you made.
Wrap It Up
When it comes to your relationship with your boss it’s almost always better to over-communicate! You want them to hear everything from you first and you never want to them put in a “bad” situation because of something you might have forgotten to mention. By building a reporting structure you can create a system that does it all.
Reports ensure your boss sees the metrics they care about, it will help hold your team accountable for tracking results, and ensure that you have a plan in place to keep improving.
Want more information on what you can do for your boss? Download our FREE e-book, How Marketers Can Help CMOs Overcome Their Worries, here!