In a recent Q&A webinar, “Ask The Pros: Boost Agency Performance with Client Reporting,” experts from Marketron, NPAccel, and NinjaCat discussed the many ways agencies can leverage reporting to engage clients, prove value, and scale results.
The webinar featured a panel of marketing data and client reporting pros including Chris Kligora, SVP, Customer Success at Marketron, Chris Coomer, VP of Data, Analytics & Insights at NPAccel, and Paul Deraval, Co-founder & CEO at NinjaCat. There were four main themes to the discussion; client engagement, proving agency value through reporting, team structure, and report automation and scale. Watch the full video replay below, or continue reading for a brief recap of the webinar.
(4:33 - 12:30) After introducing the panel, the discussion started off on the theme of client engagement and reporting with an audience-submitted question: “what are the best ways to share relevant insights with a busy client that won’t wade through the data?”
Chris Coomer from NPAccel was the first to jump in. “I think it really involves interacting with the client and finding out what it is that they're interested in, ” said Coomer.
“Too often people create these dashboards and get things set up and they don't go to the source of the information. They don't say, ‘what are you looking to get out of this?’”
Chris Kligora echoed the importance of understanding what metrics drive meaning for clients.
“Every client has different metrics that matter,” said Kligora, “and understanding the metrics that matter are going to be the key and actually making sure that you're delivering the insights that make the most sense for them.”
And in response to the very direct question, “are dashboards dead?” Paul Deraval posits that they are useful and have a place, but they may be on life support in certain situations.
“Dashboards have certain purposes for certain people; they offer a sense of comfort and transparency, but the real recipe is ‘know your audience. ' Paul finished the first segment with the reflection that it’s the presentation of relevant data stories that can really make an impact.
“You might win with dashboards, but you retain and expand [client relationships] with killer customized data stories.”
Proving Value to Clients
(12:30 -21:09) What is the connection between client reporting and agency success? How does better reporting reduce costs? These are some of the touchstone questions that sparked the second segment of the webinar in which Chris Coomer mentioned the importance of reporting as education.
“When it comes to client reporting, I’m looking at how that ties back to the overall success of the business, and I think it really comes down to education,” says Coomer. “One of the things we do at NPAccel is we spend a lot of time educating people outside of analytics and make sure they understand the connections.”
Paul then chimed in, mentioning the ground reality that reporting provides for businesses.
“All agencies and media companies realize the importance of client reporting, because it really is the tangible thing, the proof of value. We've heard in certain organizations, sometimes as much as 60% of bandwidth is dedicated to curating and creating quality reporting; it’s that important.”
Kligora finishes the segment with a transformative story about how NinjaCat helped his old reporting team drastically reduce costs and speed up results.
“In my previous role at Gannet, we had really large customers where some of the reports actually were built by hand before we started using NinjaCat,” states Kligora.
“Originally, it could take up to 14 man hours to actually build an effective, useful report. With NinjaCat, the man hours became literally seconds with the ability to open your email and the report was sitting there already built, so there is a massive time savings.”
(21:09 - 33:30) On the topic of how agencies can best structure their reporting teams, Chris Coomer states that centralization of data is a key prerequisite to success.
“We have teams in UK, Canada, Brazil, and Australia, each with different organizational structures,” says Coomer. “We’re able to work on all these accounts because we have a centralized data setup. However, I don’t think there is one right way to organize a team. Different clients and companies have different requirements.”
Kligora then provided insight into how scale and complexity can influence the way a reporting team is structured.
“On my executive accounts team, I made sure that every single one of my CSM has had the ability to build their own reporting. On my national side, the national side was very, very different. We actually had one individual who's responsible for building all of the dashboards.”
“It’s high scale/low complexity in the national level, versus low scale/high complexity in the executive accounts department, so the way you structure your team depends on your organization and what you’re trying to accomplish.”
Automation and Scale
(33:00 - 43:00) Finishing up the webinar, the panel discussed the topic of scaling and automating client reports.
For smaller agencies or teams, individual, one-off reporting might work for a while. However, with enterprise clients or agencies with thousands of accounts, locked down templates that can scale with automation are required.
“What happens is absolute chaos,” says Paul. “When you have a media company with thousands of clients, you open up and tell everyone to go build their own reports, that turns into an unimaginable nightmare when you have hundreds or thousands of variations of reports and templates. That tier of customer needs to be locked down to standardization and simplification to achieve scale.”
“Once again, the use cases for reporting are going to be defined by the client and their needs,” states Paul.
“If you go into complexity with a deeper metric, like the definition of a conversion; one client might have a completely different definition for a conversion, and these are the nuances that just kill teams when they’re trying to do reporting at scale.”
Paul goes on to describe the kind of template that can create the right kind of scalability and customization.
“In NinjaCat, one of the things we’ve done is taken a lot of these nuance things like definition of metrics or filters and allow you to create agency level defaults for these things.”
Meet the Experts
Chris Klilgora is responsible for the Marketron SaaS and digital client success teams. Prior to joining Marketron, Chris served as vice president of client success for Gannett/USA Today’s national brands and executive accounts team.
Chris Coomer heads up analytics at NPAccel, a full-service digital marketing agency. Chris’s expertise is focused on master data management, data strategy and business intelligence. Prior to NPAccel, he served as the global metrics lead for The Nielsen Company.
Paul Deraval is co-founder and CEO of NinjaCat - Paul is a passionate software veteran with 20+ years of experience building and scaling startups from the ground up, Paul’s seen the data and reporting challenges faced by marketers first hand.