Since modern marketing and digital advertising are often dependent on performance analytics, client reporting is integral to an agency’s ability to effectively communicate value.
However, this same focus on performance analytics can result in superficial, uninspired, and uninformative client reports, which provide the basis for weak marketing strategies, which in turn deliver lackluster outcomes in a never-ending cycle.
Thankfully, we’ve compiled five ways agencies can positively transform the client reporting process to deliver higher quality reports, improved results, and better informed strategies.
1. Improve The Briefing Process
Impactful client reporting begins with a solid marketing brief, from which meaningful performance metrics are derived, attached, and aligned with the business goals of the client.
According to marketing professor Mark Ritson, 90% of marketers fail to brief agencies effectively, and the failure begins with a lack of strategy. Thankfully, outlining a better marketing brief is easy and well worth the effort to properly implement in your agency.
Marketers should challenge themselves to answer these three strategic questions to ensure they build an effective brief:
- Do you agree on the target audience? A seemingly simple question that can have many different answers. Based on their daily routines and engagements, marketers, customer facing sales staff, and the C-Suite all have different target audiences in mind.
- What is your position? Do you know what you’d like your target audience to think about your brand? Client-side marketers should already have an understanding of the ‘what,’ agencies advise on the ‘how.’
- What are your objectives? Again, very basic strategic stuff like SMART goals are usually skipped over in deference to tactics and platform-specific KPIs. Reduced complexity and simplicity is the hallmark of an effective marketing strategy and brief.
There are a billion ways to measure marketing effectiveness, but really only one way to plan for it, which is why getting the marketing brief pitch-perfect is so important. Go in depth into building a quality marketing brief in this blog about performance analytics for agencies.
Another way marketers and agencies can transform their client reporting process is to implement client reporting software.
2. Implement Client Reporting Software
Many are the tales of agencies that smash up against the walls of productivity with client reporting, either because data wrangling and/or complex technical barriers frustrate the reporting process. It’s usually during these moments of frustration, that agencies begin to look for client reporting software solutions.
Client reporting software is a solid decision for agencies and teams responsible for hundreds of reports, not just a handful. Take NinjaCat for instance; our scalable reporting templates help agencies potentially set up thousands of reliable reporting cadences, ownable data warehousing means the data included in reports is up-to-date, and our Campaign Monitoring functionality helps marketers identify and correct campaign performance issues before they hit the reports.
Figuring out a consistent approach to the presentation of marketing data can get unfathomably complex without the assistance of client reporting software.
Reporting software also helps agencies transform client reporting via access to plug and present templates.
With performance marketing data integrated and connected within our WYSIWYG interface, NinjaCat users can access our report builder to quickly generate white-labled client report templates that can be annotated and automated for delivery.
One thing is true with or without software; the quality of your client reports are heavily dependent on the quality of your marketing data.
3. Own Your Marketing Data Warehouse
As the volume of data needed to be structured, organized, and retrieved grows with an expanding agency, the need for an ownable marketing data warehouse increases as well.
It is completely possible, with enough coding and web development skills, to create your own custom database to handle ETL workloads. However, the DIY approach to marketing data warehousing requires tons of labor, skill, and continued maintenance, which makes the cloud-based, out-of-the-box solutions more attractive.
Vendors like Big Query, Snowflake, Azure, Amazon Redshift, and Oracle all have comparable data warehousing platforms that are cost effective, reliable, and well maintained. However, to visualize and verify the outputs from a data warehouse, reporting software is required.
Take a glimpse at this overview of marketing data pipelines to see how analytics and reporting fit into the data warehouse process.
An optimized and ownable marketing data warehouse enhances client reporting and lays the foundation for more powerful insights and better informed strategies.
4. Consider Rollup Reporting
A particular point of frustration with client reporting, specifically to multi-channel marketers, is the labor intensive process of aggregating performance data across different channels, brands, or regions.
A rollup report can provide high level marketing insights that are invisible at the granular level. With performance metrics like multi-channel attribution, assisted conversions, and channel effectiveness, rollup reporting significantly deepens the potential quality of insights.
The client reporting software you identified in step #2 above should be able to easily scale across multiple clients. You shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of report templates. You want the power of scalable reporting on your side.
5. Choose Client Report Automation
Past a certain amount of marketing data integrations and deliverable reports, there will come a time when automating the client reporting process is the sensible plan.
While there are many data points to consider when it comes to selecting the proper software to automate client reporting, according to recent research from DemandSpring on marketing automation platforms, “Integrations” was cited as the top reason marketers chose their current platform over alternatives.
These findings are interesting if extrapolated to reporting automation software. Since the quality of the product of automated client reporting software is heavily reliant on the quality of the data, a preference for ease of integration with existing vendors, partners, platforms, tools, and datasets seems like an easy inference to make.
Recap: 5 Tips for Agencies to Update Client Reporting:
- Improve the briefing process
- Implement client reporting software
- Own your marketing data warehouse
- Consider roll-up reporting
- Choose client report automation
Reach out to talk to us when you're ready to transform your agency's client reporting process.