Why all marketers should be able to build their own reports

With an accelerated transition to online marketing (thanks to the pandemic) and an increase in marketing budgets for digital promotion, marketers increasingly have to prove their value.

There’s a vast amount of marketing data from various sources that you can use to get many valuable insights. However, analysts are often busy, and most marketers don’t know how to build reports on raw data by themselves.

Let’s see why it’s so crucial for marketers to be able to create various reports using a large number of data sources — and to do it on their own.

Table of contents

Why accurate marketing reporting is so crucial for business

In business, everything is about revenue. The main task of any company is to successfully sell its products or services and make a profit. Obviously, it’s also desirable for profit to constantly increase while costs decrease. 

Analytics and reporting are essential for any company regardless of size or industry. They help you assess how (and which of) your company’s efforts affect sales growth, total revenue, and the overall success of your brand on the market. Reporting is crucial to help you tailor your marketing plans and enrich your strategies by repeating your successes, identifying growth opportunities, and avoiding things that have proven ineffective.

Though data is everywhere, it’s not always easy to present it in an understandable format. Your marketing campaigns may have excellent results, but if you cannot present those results and prove the success of your campaigns, then your marketing efforts will not be of much use. The more accurate your measurements, the higher (and more apparent) the value of marketing will be for your company. Accurate analytics is key to business success. If you don’t measure your work, you can’t prove your importance, necessity, and value. Measuring your work helps you to:

  • Show the actual effectiveness of your marketing investments

  • Optimize your budget

  • Help you make informed, data-based, strategic decisions

  • Forecast results

Don’t forget that you can’t rely on evaluating past actions you can no longer change. To move forward, you need to understand what lies ahead. Stop concentrating on past spending and think about future earnings!

The most informed and experienced marketers don’t start launching advertising campaigns without first preparing report templates. Why? So they know exactly how the money is spent. Less experienced marketers will first spend the entire budget and then prepare reports.

In the era of the pandemic and reduced resources (less money given, more results expected), it’s all but impossible to go without accurate reporting.

In the continuous war of data, each marketing specialist wants to construct an invincible fortress in Helm’s Deep (a system of dashboards) to defeat the infinite hordes of orcs (megabytes of data), bringing undoubted benefits to the business.

Why marketers need to be able to build their own reports

Marketing specialists need reports, tables, and graphs to:

  • Report on work done

  • Make management decisions

Of course, the contents of reports depends on many factors, such as who will use them, how often, and for what purpose. And although marketers usually build reports with the constant help of a team of analysts, that’s not always an option.

It’s complicated and takes a lot of time to build a report with all the necessary data, as data collection can be quite difficult due to errors, sampling, different services using different data structures and data formats, etc. But these are familiar evils. Accordingly, it's well known how to effectively combat them.

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However, after passing the data collection stage, there’s a complexity that is not obvious at first glance — the marketer needs reports from different and completely unexpected angles to answer a vast number of questions.

What’s the problem then? On the one hand, marketers want recommendations and answers to their questions. On the other hand, analysts want clear tasks with a report structure and necessary parameters and metrics. The trouble is that marketers often don’t know what exact questions will arise while analyzing data and what kinds of reports they will need. So it turns out like in a fairy tale — the marketer asks the analyst to go there who knows where, fetch him that nobody knows what. However, this problem will go away if a marketer builds reports independently, without SQL queries and dependence on an analyst.

Like the infamous houses of Capulet and Montague, analysts and marketers have an ancient grudge. Marketers want to make data-based decisions, but to do this, they need reports to be prepared as quickly as possible — better yesterday. In contrast, analysts want to be completely confident in the data and hate to rush.

This isn’t just the usual miscommunication between colleagues from different departments. Due to these communication difficulties, a business loses opportunities and insights that could be obtained from collected data.

As soon as a marketer has more than two data sources, the Hunger Games begin. In order to create a report, an analyst often needs to build a dataset. And marketers, when looking at reports, understand they still need data from other sources or other datasets. As a result, the analyst has to drop everything and redo the work a hundred times, while the marketer has to wait days for the analyst to create the necessary reports. In the background of all this, the company loses money.

No one is immune to reporting problems — not even companies with well-tuned analytics, where all possible reports for any taste have long been ready to go. If the data structure changes (welcome Google Analytics 4), then all SQL queries will have to be rewritten.

In 2021, when the whole world has been operating online for more than a year, it’s difficult to imagine marketing in the old way without using big data. Let’s look at exactly what data-driven marketing is and how a data-driven marketing strategy can help your brand to achieve its business goals.

What solution can come to the rescue?

Building reports that are at least slightly different from standard templates is not an easy task for marketers. Mainly, existing analytical products are aimed at the needs of analysts and developers and prohibit marketers from working with data themselves. 

Marketers are still forced to limit themselves to ready-made reports or wait for analysts to prepare data, leading to missed opportunities and wasted time.

For example, you can get an automatically updated report in Power BI, Google Data Studio, or Excel. But if you need to change something in the report — add sections, parameters, or metrics, or perhaps change the channel grouping — you cannot do this yourself. You have to ask an analyst every time.

Analysts build reports that require data consolidation using SQL. Over time, there are more and more SQL consolidation queries, and the logic in them becomes more complex. Moreover, if something breaks, it won't be easy to understand exactly what needs to be fixed. And if the data structure changes completely (e.g. Google Analytics 4), then it's as good as lost. Thus, marketers cannot get the necessary reports without the help of an analyst, and the quality of the data is in question every time.​

Thus, it all comes down to the fact that marketers have two working options:

  1. Wait until data appears in a report.

  2. Start studying SQL

Who’s gonna save your day? Modern marketing reporting tools!

Different services such as Data Studio, Funnel, Grow, OWOX, Mixpanel, and Hubspot solve this problem in different ways. In addition to their different approaches, these services are distinguished by their ease of use and price. One of the easiest and most convenient services to work with (according to G2 Crowd reports) is OWOX BI.

The OWOX BI platform has helped more than 2,000 companies set up analytics and has come up with a solution that helps users build reports.

With OWOX BI you only need an analyst’s help at the very beginning while creating a customer data model. But once your marketing data reflects your company’s business model, marketers don’t need to run to analysts every time they want to create a new report. Once your data is modeled, marketers can build a variety of reports on their own.

Most importantly, even if the data structure changes (e.g. with Google Analytics 4), you won’t need to rewrite SQL queries, since with OWOX BI, such changes won’t affect you. The product itself will take the necessary steps, save you from a boring routine, and free up your time to focus on decisions to improve your marketing.

Moreover, OWOX BI is a modern universal platform that collects and analyzes your marketing data from various sources, allows you to automate reporting, and transfers results where you want them.

Smart Data

Our clients
grow 22% faster

Grow faster by measuring what works best in your marketing

Analyze your marketing efficiency, find the growth areas, increase ROI

Get demo

Key takeaways

The development of modern martech tools allows marketers to move to a new level of reporting. With the right approach to advanced analytics in your company, you can measure and evaluate almost every business investment. And with new marketing services, the marketing department itself can create the necessary reports to figure out why and how to improve the marketing strategy. Doesn’t it sound magical? 

To sum up, here are the four pillars to remember about reporting: 

  • Don’t evaluate your work for reporting; evaluate it to find the best options and stop making mistakes.

  • Predict the future and look for insights; don’t just review past decisions.

  • Understand the impact of each marketing investment on your revenue, as maximizing it is your goal.

  • Create the reports you need as often as you need and in the quantity you need without regular help from an analyst.