How to improve your marketing reporting

It’s a truth universally acknowledged, that a single marketer in possession of a good company, must be in want of an improvement of the marketing reporting. In an ideal world, every marketer wants to get a bonus every quarter, be considered indispensable and valuable by the big bosses, and build reports with the wave of a magic wand. In reality, marketers must constantly prove that all their activities bring the company tangible profit. But with an ongoing pandemic, growing online competition, and decreasing marketing budgets, this becomes challenging to do.

In addition, if reporting takes up most of your day, then as a result, you simply won’t have time for essential activities — planning creative campaigns, analyzing performance, improving your marketing strategy, etc.

In this article, we consider what marketers can do to improve their reporting.

Table of contents

Why marketing reporting is so crucial

The digital marketing landscape is getting shaken up by:

The current situation resembles riding out a storm; you don’t have time to overcome one wave before the crest of another appears.

As the amount of data used by marketers steadily grows, business management wants clear answers to questions: What efforts worked out? Where should we invest to earn more? Answering these questions is impossible without advanced reporting. Marketing analytics is no longer just a theory or a toy for big rich companies. It has become both more accurate and more urgent. With its help, marketers can defend their budgets, control spending, evaluate marketing efficiency, and most importantly, use data to improve marketing and meet goals.

The pandemic has boosted online media usage. As Gartner research from 2020 shows, digital channels accounted for almost 80% of marketing budgets, with digital advertising representing 22% of total spending. Moreover, the customer’s path to conversion is becoming more fragmented, as customers are using more devices to search for brand information.

The global media landscape by GWI

However, to efficiently use a massive amount of data from these channels, you need to spend a lot of time and resources on creating an analytics system (data storage, connectors, visualization of a large number of different reports for different requests), which is a long, painful, and difficult process. Data collection alone (which involves handling different data structures and formats as well as sorting out duplicate or irrelevant data) can take the lion’s share of your time. But you still need to put that data to work! A marketer still needs the help of an analyst to create a report, which can take five days on average. And all this time, the marketer cannot act based on data insights but only on intuition. Modern all-in-one cloud solutions like OWOX BI, however, make marketers’ lives easier.

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The pandemic has accelerated the globalization and digitalization of businesses. The most crucial matter for companies today is their ability to quickly adapt to new conditions and assess what’s working and what’s not, what needs to be changed, and what to stop doing altogether.

Challenges marketers face

It's increasingly difficult for marketers to work efficiently, as more and more is being demanded of them. Technologies are developing quickly and lots of changes are happening (new Google Analytics, third-party data restrictions, etc.); it’s simply impossible to follow them all with advertising becoming more expensive and competition increasing.

The magic that can help marketers fulfill their goals and prove their value in the market is called analytics: with right data, you can get everything you need. According to Gartner, 85% of marketers say that by 2022, “significantly more” of their organization’s marketing decisions will be based on marketing analytics. However, only 54% of marketing decisions are currently made with the help of analytics.

Why don’t marketers rely on marketing analytics to make decisions?

Among the main pains that marketers face are:

  • Poor data quality (duplicated, missed, and inaccurate data)
  • Finding relevant insights (not actionable and unclear recommendations)
  • Creating ad hoc reports (too difficult to do without technical knowledge)

Let’s figure out why these challenges prevent marketers from working effectively.

  1. There’s a massive amount of fragmented marketing data coming in (data with different structures and formats) and limited time and resources to process it. And keep in mind that if you don’t collect all data or you collect the wrong data, you will take actions based on faulty information (marketers waste 21% of their marketing budgets because of bad data).
  2. To be sure of the data you collect, you have to update it, check its quality, and make sure the connector you use supports updating the APIs of the services you use to collect data. Also, it’s by all means necessary to get raw unsampled data, avoid duplication and data loss, avoid distorted reporting, and ensure the relevance and high granularity of data collected. Another problem is that it’s very difficult to blend data correctly to build reports (keeping in mind that marketers cannot say in advance what reports they will need).
  3. After collecting data, marketers need to decide which reports they need in the current situation. To control the marketing machine, you need two types of reports: performance reports and ad hoc reports.
  4. The current approach to working with data isn’t optimal for marketers — they most often cannot build reports on their own because it’s too complicated. To get answers to questions, they have to set tasks for analysts and wait for reports (at least three iterations per new dashboard). Why is this so? Until you get an answer to the first question, you don’t know what the second one should be.

According to a study, the existing approach isn’t just long and unpleasant: the average time to create a report is 4.5 days, and the average cost of a report is $18,000.

  1. The situation is complicated because, to truly benefit from data, marketers need to manipulate it and build many different ad hoc reports to get the right insights. In addition, the results of calculations must be visualized and presented correctly.

And, as if this weren’t enough, analysts create different datasets for different reports. Over time, the more reports are built, the more complicated the entire system becomes. It’s like playing Jenga; if you pull out the wrong brick (delete or change one data table), everything will collapse in the end.

Fortunately, there’s still a way out of this nightmare.To increase revenues, perform more efficiently, and derive meaningful business benefits, marketers need to work with data on their own. Marketers should be able to build reports on their own using raw data that can be trusted, is complete, and is updated so it contains no errors. This means you don’t have to wait weeks for an analyst to build a report for you. Instead, you can choose the metrics you need right now and get a report in a few minutes.

If marketers can build their own reports, analysts can be engaged in more valuable work, marketers can be their own masters, and the company can grow its profits. Want to know how to make this fairy tale a reality? Sign up for a demo with our experts to see how OWOX can help your business right now!

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Nowadays, analytics and data are at the core of any successful marketing strategy, playing a meaningful role in moving your business forward. Whether or not you’re using data, you can’t deny that using data correctly can serve you well.

How to build a perfect marketing report

The key to creating a good report is an advanced analytics ecosystem. With modern services, you can automate your entire organization’s data flow, regardless of your data volume and data sources. But herein lies the not-so-obvious problem for marketers.

Business intelligence tools are built for analysts; they’re rather difficult to use and require lots of specialized knowledge (SQL queries, data science, etc.). For a marketer, it’s like trying to fly a helicopter right after getting a standard driving licence. However, now you have the opportunity to turn into Neo from the Matrix and learn how to control a helicopter in a matter of minutes. Let’s look at three simple steps you need to take to improve your reporting.

  1. Start using Google BigQuery as your cloud data storage. It’s the best option on the market that considers the needs of marketers.
  2. Collect raw data from your website, ad platforms, and CRM in BigQuery.
  3. Start using OWOX BI Smart Data. Its unique patented technology allows you to build reports in minutes without going to analysts, get your reports in Google Sheets or Excel, and make decisions based on data you can trust.

OWOX BI Smart Data is a tool for marketing and management specialists that helps you fully use your collected marketing data. With Smart Data, you can effortlessly build an unlimited number of ad hoc reports (including cohort reports) to analyze your audience in different slices and get valuable insights.

Smart Data democratizes access to data for all users, regardless of their technical background. The Report Builder allows you to create a report by selecting parameters and metrics or choosing a template. Also, the service blends data on its own according to your business model.

Here’s how to make it all work for you:

  1. Collect all your marketing data in Google BigQuery with OWOX BI.
  2. Check data quality (cleaning, sampling, duplication, etc.).
  3. At the beginning, you’ll need the help of OWOX analysts or your own to build your company’s data model, but you only need to do this once.
  4. Select the parameters and metrics you want to see in your Smart Data report and get a ready report in a couple of minutes.

Important! With Smart Data, reports won’t break if changes are made to datasets. The new Google Analytics 4 and its new data structure aren’t scary anymore! Your reports in Smart Data will be rebuilt as changes are applied to the data model.

  1. For your convenience, you can easily export a report to the data visualization service or to your all-time favorites — Google Sheets and Google Data Studio.

Note! Collecting marketing data and checking its quality can easily be accomplished using OWOX BI Pipeline. Our service will quickly and efficiently collect your data, ensure its quality, and ensure the transparency of your calculations.

To sum up, OWOX BI Smart Data understands how to merge data for your reports. Using our tool, there’s no need for:

  • Analysts to write complicated SQL queries every now and then
  • Marketers to wait weeks for different versions of ad hoc reports that they need right away

Book a free demo of OWOX BI Smart Data to see how your data can work for you!

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Key takeaways

With fewer resources, specialists are expected to show better performance. This is a real challenge! So what can marketers do to bolster their confidence in decision-making and get a holistic view of marketing performance?

  • Start using modern BI tools like OWOX BI to survive the end of the third-party data era.
  • Make your company data-driven.

Cloud-based solutions make it easier to unlock the treasures in your marketing data and transform information into powerful insights and ad hoc reports that can boost your performance.