Ready to Automate Your Marketing Reports? Start Here

Do you spend hours every month ctrl+c and v’ing data into Situs Poker Online spreadsheets and color-coding Excel charts to prove your marketing ROI? Stop what you’re doing, drop the eyedropper tool and roll your office chair over here because it’s time to start automating your reports.

Report automation can streamline data integration and visualization tasks, which lets you focus on things like analysis and campaign creation instead. Done right, an automated reporting approach can eliminate manual errors that occur during data entry and provide current data on demand without requiring you to update a spreadsheet.
But before you automate your reports, it pays to carefully think it through and consider all the decisions you’ll have to make. It’s also important to know that planning and gathering data will take up about 80% of the project timeline, with the actual report building consuming approximately 20%. Here’s a step-by-step process:

Step 1 Choose Your Tactics:
Start by defining what your automated report will track and how the information in it aligns with your business goals. How does your team improve its business decisions? What do you intend to learn from the report? Also, identify stakeholders. Who reads your report and why? What specific information are they looking for? When you understand these basics, you can decide how simple or complex your report has to be to do its job, and that will define the scope of your automation project.Step 2 Choose Your Metrics:

Next, identify which key performance indicators (KPIs) are relevant to the task you defined in step 1. If you’re looking at leads generated, for example, define the metrics you’ll need specifically. Are you tracking regional performance? Nationwide? Global? All of the above? Define that, and then sort out your data sources and whether they can be captured automatically. If not, define what it would take to automate data capture. More often than not, a stakeholder may be presented with a challenge on a larger scale that will alter what information is included in the report. An example is if your company has changed media vendors and the marketing manager wants to check the ROI of the new vendor compared to the previous one. The goal for whoever is making the report may be to analyze site visits and conversions for the last two weeks of paid media, while the goal for the marketing manager would be to determine which vendor has the better ROI.

Step 2 Choose your metrics:
Next, identify which key performance indicators (KPIs) are relevant to the task you defined in step 1. If you’re looking at leads generated, for example, define the metrics you’ll need specifically. Are you tracking regional performance? Nationwide? Global? All of the above? Define that, and then sort out your data sources and whether they can be captured automatically. If not, define what it would take to automate data capture. More often than not, a stakeholder may be presented with a challenge on a larger scale that will alter what information is included in the report. An example is if your company has changed media vendors and the marketing manager wants to check the ROI of the new vendor compared to the previous one. The goal for whoever is making the report may be to analyze site visits and conversions for the last two weeks of paid media, while the goal for the marketing manager would be to determine which vendor has the better ROI.

Step 3 Choose Your Schedule:
The next factor to consider is how often you want to produce a report. Should it be weekly? Biweekly? Monthly? Quarterly? Once you figure that out, make sure your data sources refresh often enough to support your report cadence. Also keep in mind that while it makes sense to automate reports you need frequently, ad hoc reports for purposes like tracking metrics in a finite campaign may not be suitable for automation.

Step 4 Choose Your Technology:
Once the basic elements of your report are defined, it’s a good idea to consider whether to incorporate AI and machine learning applications that can make your report smarter by providing insights to drive decision-making. If you’re working with very large datasets, for instance, AI and machine learning can analyze the numbers behind the scenes and surface insights that analysts would likely overlook.

Step 5 Choose Your Delivery Method and Visuals:
How will you deliver your report? The medium you use will affect decisions you make about design elements like graphics, fonts and images so now is a good time to decide if the report will be consumed by users online, in an email or as a printed document. Keep in mind, a lot of automated dashboard platforms account for mobile viewing so it’s important to keep in mind when determining the best way to share this information with your stakeholders.