Earn Your Seat in the C-Suite: 6 Steps to Actionable Marketing Reporting – Part 2

In our last post, we reviewed the first half of our 6 step plan to better reporting by developing a measurement framework. As promised, we’ve put together a comprehensive reporting guide at the end of the post with examples to help you implement this in your organization! To recap, here’s our list of 6 steps:

1. Identify Business Objectives
2. Determine KPIs
3. Define KPI Goals
4. Identify Supporting Metrics
5. Determine Reporting Dimensionality
6. Organize into a Framework

Before we dive right into part 2, let’s briefly review what we discussed. We talked in great depth about how to identify business objectives, determine KPIs for those objectives, and defining goals. Suppose your manager asked you about how we did on the last campaign. Based on our framework so far, you were able tie her question to the appropriate business objectives, provide the main KPIs that measure the success of that objective, and put them into the appropriate context by comparing it to the target value. You were able to effectively answer her question and score some great worker points while you were at it! The only problem is that the questions usually don’t stop there. Most of the time, she will have some follow ups that you also need to be prepared for. Thankfully, we can help answer those questions with the second half of our framework, starting with supporting metrics.

4. Identify Supporting Metrics

Before you revert back to old habits and overload the report and your manager with the rest of the metrics that you can pull from your company’s database, take some time to strategically determine the specific metrics that support each KPI. The supporting metrics should be very much related to the KPI and should help answer those inevitable follow up questions from your manager. It is important to think about what those questions would be for each KPI. The metrics that answer those questions are the ones that should be layered into the report.

We will want to look at other metrics to help provide more context or support for your KPI. We will also want to know the total revenue that the promotion drove. We may even want to remove any promotion expenses to see the incremental margin that the promotion yielded. All of these metrics can help answer additional follow up questions and provide more information to report. They may not be our main KPI, but they help paint the complete picture and answer the tough follow up questions that come.

5. Determine Reporting Dimensionality

We’re almost there, but there’s one more critical component. The last thing to do is view all of these metrics across dimensions. Dimensions can vary by the report being developed, but they are essentially the different ways you would want to slice and dice your data. Typical dimensions across business reports include time periods, customer types, geographical locations, and product categories. Dimensions can be particularly great in helping us understand really tough problems by allowing us to view all of our KPIs and metrics across individual segments.

Without a view of our reporting across these dimensions, we would not be able to quickly drill down to an answer. But now, we have a better visibility into the segments that contribute to the positive or negative KPI values.

6. Organize into a Framework

After layering on dimensions, it’s time to organize everything together into one framework.

Highlight the main KPIs that tie back to specific business objectives. Then, put those KPIs into the appropriate context by comparing to goals. Layer in additional supporting metrics that help explain the KPIs. Finally, we can measure all our KPIs and metrics across various levels of dimensionality. All that is left taking some time to organize the framework within your company’s BI reporting solution. The end result will be a great report that will be readily consumed and drive action.

Part 2 Conclusion

It is not easy to build effective reporting. Regardless of the size of the effort, a measurement framework is a critical component that can make your reports much more valuable. By taking a step back and tying reporting components to specific business objectives and putting structure behind the design, you can get away from information overload and report data that will truly answer the most important questions. Putting together that framework takes a little bit of time and effort, but it produces far better and more organized results than jumping right in throwing data and metrics into Excel. Try it out for yourself the next time you’re tasked with building a report. You’ll find that by putting in the upfront work, your reports will not only be better but they’ll basically build themselves!