Why your reporting and analysis need to be transparent

One thing that I’ve noticed in the past few years is that clients are less hands on but more clued up. The difficult economic climate means that marketing managers need to get the biggest bang for their buck, and, as result, they have started to delve under the bonnets of their increasingly complex marketing machines. These savvy clients know what to look for, and they want to be able to see it. 

Transparency = customer retention  

All too often, I see clients switch agencies because they are just not seeing value in their reporting and analytics. Something we do in the onboarding process at MPULL is look at what was being done and what was achieved. Either the client has received little to no reporting, or they have been receiving reports which are ‘pretty’ but have no substance to them. Such vanity metrics initially give the illusion of goodROI, but six months to a year later, the client still sees no value.

Transparency = value

There is value in transparency when it allows a client to see how their marketing efforts are delivering positive ROI, and if they are, how this is being achieved. Valuable reporting tells us whether we should stop what we are doing, continue what we are doing, or change what we are doing.

For example, let’s assume conversion rates for an inbound marketing campaign have increased month on month. Such a figure is of no value to a client when viewed in isolation. A client also needs to know how many of those new leads are becoming customers and, more importantly, from which sources they are coming.

Transparency = understanding

Once you have come up with your reporting template, make sure your client knows what is going on. Such transparency will help your agency when it tries to upsell, as the client will have already seen the value in the work you have done for them. Just make sure that when you make changes to your reporting, you convey these to the client. Let them ask questions. These will give you a clue as to what questions may be asked frequently and suggest ways you can ‘tweak’ your reports.

Transparency = honesty

In reporting and analysis, it is all too easy to omit negative points and focus on the positive. If you tried something and it didn't work, include it in your report. Make sure the client is aware of what works and what doesn’t. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where a client makes a suggestion that you’ve already tried and know will fail. No client will be happy to know that they have been left out of the loop.

Transparency = agile marketing

Continual improvement and growth comes from knowing what has worked, what hasn’t worked (don’t lie), and what can be changed to achieve your marketing goals. Agencies and clients that agree upon objectives are better able to measure success and decide on changes that will keep their marketing efforts on track. But an agency’s reporting and analysis needs to be honest if a client is to derive any actionable insights from the metrics.  

Bear in mind that actionable insights are not ends in themselves; they are only deductions. They can enable your client to seize opportunities before their competitors do, but only if your reporting gives them the big picture. A greater understanding of both the current business climate and a business’ capabilities will allow your client to adapt faster, but only if your reporting and analysis is both transparent and holistic.  

Reporting and analysis can be time-consuming. If you don’t want to have to spend time and energy on an activity not directly related to your agency’s core activities, you should consider partnering with an agency that can provide the missing element in your offering.

Download our guide to scaling your agency to find out more how partnering with an inbound marketing specialist can help you grow.

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Author: Garth Pedersen