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Client reporting for marketers and ad agencies is a crucial part of the agency-client relationship. But there’s a fair chance that the mention of the term “client reports,” equates with a lot of groaning, a ton of manual data wrangling, and even more lost time.
Or, maybe you love making client reports!
Either way, client reporting is the most important thing a digital marketing agency can do to not only prove effectiveness and performance, but to prove marketing is a worthy investment, period. Here are a few reasons client reports are important:
- A rhythm of reliable client reports creates transparency and establishes trust.
- Clear client reports that tell a story with data educate clients on trends and marketing insights, which can be valuable to them in a variety of ways.
- Client reports also keep your clients accountable for the KPIs and goals they’re trying to achieve, in partnership or on behalf of your agency.
- By creating reporting templates and leveraging current automation processes to generate all of your reports, marketers can enhance the efficiency of their workflow and reduce stress.
Since client reporting reaches across so many disciplines and verticals it can feel like you’re left to your own devices, cobbling together what data you have, to tell the story you think you see.
In this blog, we’ll cover how to prepare a client report, define why client reporting is essential to the success and scalability of marketing and advertising agencies, and then share a few client report examples from NinjaCat.
Let’s briefly cover how to prepare a client report.
Preparing A Client Report
Whether you’re generating three or 300 marketing reports a month, it’s good practice to have a standard preparation process in place, so you can deliver a report that mutually reflects the goals, desires and ambitions of both client and agency.
With a framework in place to create reliable reports, you’ll be better prepared to scale up, as more clients hire your agency because you are able to demonstrate the value of your services.
Here is a simple, five-step process for preparing a client report that delivers data, defines value, and tells a compelling story.
- Client Questionnaire - In order to deliver results for a client, you have to understand that client better. Create an onboarding questionnaire, seeking clear answers to the client’s business goals, target audience, success metrics, past frustrations, and marketing expectations.
- Identify Success Metrics and KPIs - Ambitions are nice, but unless they’re tied to measurable goals, it’s just hot air. Drill down metrics to the level of granularity that makes sense, but get specific with the metrics that matter most to your client’s business.
- Determine Frequency of Reports - You need to allocate enough time and labor to each client report. Set expectations on how often your client should expect to receive reports. Even with automated reporting, you need to factor in time to analyze, add commentary and provide insights to the reports.
- Automating Client Reports - Client reporting can be a time-consuming affair. Thankfully, there are several report automation solutions that can help minimize your reliance on manual reporting across disparate spreadsheets, systems and tools in your martech and adtech stacks. Another benefit of automation is consistency in presentation and reduction in error.
- Executive Summary - Each client report, like each client, campaign, and marketplace, is unique, and therefore faces distinct issues. Be sure to add a contextual high-level summary to client reports, focusing on data highlights, points of interest, and strategic plans for the next reporting period.
Let’s review a few additional reasons why client reporting is so critical to digital marketing success.
Client Reports Equal Client Communication
Chances are there’s an established cadence in your communication, but client reports are a great way to set a predictable pattern and formalize and define the relationship marketing has for your clients.
Clear Client Reports Tell Stories With Data
At first glance, the phrase “storytelling” feels vague in marketing analytics, but wrangling data into a compelling client report, definitely mirrors the demands of typical narrative structures. Collecting data without making sense of the data is, well, senseless.
Client Reporting Can Help You Scale
If you are running multiple campaigns on multiple different platforms, you need to integrate and aggregate that data into a cohesive demonstration of performance. If you have an intelligent, scalable client reporting process, you’ll feel confident in expanding your portfolio and any data integration issues you may encounter.
Perhaps the most important step in creating effective client reporting is listening.
When agencies listen to truly understand their clients' business objectives, they will be equipped to show how their marketing campaigns are creating real value.
Preparing client reports that are aligned with success metrics, integrated with data sets and modeling, and standardized to scale isn’t just a good way to go about client reporting, it’s the NinjaCat way.