Let’s start at the beginning: do you need to automate your marketing reports?
The answer is probably yes, unless (a) most of your reports are ad-hoc, detailed rather than routinely analyzed, and (b) you enjoy spending hours copying and pasting data from different platforms and displaying a visually attractive layout using a spreadsheet.
Automated reports can offer massive efficiencies, streamlining and simplifying data integration and visualization. Returns hours for teams to use for more strategic tasks.
The following ten tips can help you think through the entire process and make sure you’ve considered all the elements to automate your marketing reports.
- Understand the basics
Define the business goals that your team expects data to follow in your report:
- How does it help your team make better decisions?
- Who are the stakeholders?
- How often should everyone see the report?
- How valuable is it to any interested party?
Depending on your answers, you’ll know whether you need a simple report or something more complex: a business intelligence tool.
- Assign goals to KPIs
Find out which KPIs you need to track progress toward business goals and what data sources you see in the first step.
An interested party usually receives a challenge that it faces immediately, but it is really a bigger problem that will change the way a relationship is established.
- Find the correct cadence
How often your report should be published: daily, in real-time, weekly, monthly, and quarterly? Is there data on updating the data sources to be considered when integrating this information into the report corresponding to the delivery of the report?
Remember that automatic reporting makes sense for routine information; ad hoc reporting because individual requests may or may not be a suitable candidate for automation.
- Think machine learning / AI tools
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning applications in your report can provide insights to help you make better decisions.
Depending on the type of data involved in creating the report, it may be appropriate to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze large data sets and highlight patterns that may be lacking in human analysis.
- Determine the reporting medium and visual aids
Many automated dashboard platforms are responsible for viewing on mobile devices, but they also take this into account when determining how stakeholders will view reports. Also, an advantage of automated reporting is that you can create compelling charts that tell a story at a glance.
Also, consider using white space and colors to improve readability and accessibility; pay attention to the needs of people who have difficulty distinguishing certain colors.
- Add automatic alerts
If the information in the report you are automating is important enough to be produced on a routine basis, you probably want to know immediately if the numbers differ significantly. Set automatic alerts, set the threshold to trigger an alert, and identify the stakeholders who should receive an alert.
- Keep it as simple as possible
During the discovery process, stakeholders will likely identify the items they would like to see and you can discover new sources of data to add to the report’s usefulness or visual representation ideas.
Try to find a balance between these choices and the need to keep the report clean and simple. Keeping the report simple can maximize its usability.
- Decide whether you want to build or buy
Your report can be created, obtained, or developed internally with the help of an external expert. Making the right decision to build or buy depends on an honest assessment of organizational capacity, complexity, and compliance issues related to the data sources you will use, the story you are reporting, and internal access to knowledge and/or information tools.
- QA, QA, QA; and set it up, but DON’T forget it
Quality assurance cannot be overestimated. Make sure that your KPIs from the source is precisely linked to your data. Check and check, and again.
Also, read the Stakeholder Report regularly to make sure that you are still performing the activities identified during the discovery phase. The user’s journey changes over time, so the report must be updated.
- Tell (don’t leave alone) a story with data
The way the automated dashboard is structured must be clear, concise, and fluid to tell a story about the data. But the stakeholders who review the reports have different roles and their strengths may not include the ability to conclude the data.
Text Insights is an addition to the automatic review screens. This text not only guides the visual material contained in the data / visual material but also what actions can be derived from it; it is essential to include it in the delivery of the report.
Automated marketing reports are a great way to save time so you can focus on important tasks, like campaign planning and lead generation. If you regularly copy and paste data from Martech platforms into a spreadsheet and mess up maps, automating your reports is probably the way to go.