Reporting with a Purpose: Making Your Metrics Drive Strong Conversations
It’s the end of the month, and a client’s campaign has just ended. At this point, the first thing on any strategist’s mind is building, checking, and distributing performance reporting. Everyone provides reports in some form, but do all organizations take advantage of the power of reporting? Are your reports used to drive change? Do they do justice to the success that you have worked hard all month to achieve? Instead, are they short documents with high-level numbers that you hardly ever review or talk about?
Any agency that provides a data-driven service owes it to themselves and their clients to provide clear, in-depth, and thought-provoking reporting. It should have the following key characteristics:
- Able to be repeated accurately and automated
- Able to be easily accessed by clients
- Shows clear results to drive future decision making with the client
- Shows the value of the service that is being provided
Let’s go through each one of these in a bit more detail.
Automation – A reporting process should be as automated as possible without sacrificing accuracy, so that the team spends less time generating the reports and more time actually looking at them! There are many excellent reporting software systems on the market today that can assist an organization in data collection, aggregation, and reporting in a custom way.
Accessibility – After reporting is automated, accessibility becomes the next key aspect of any system. Clients need to have the ability to observe their campaign’s performance in real time, which allows for greater trust between the parties and a higher overall thought level. Reporting should drive us and our clients to be thought leaders and change-makers throughout the life of the campaign.
Clear Metrics – Reporting on the metrics that truly matter to your client’s success is crucial to both parties learning from results. If the metric can be easily glossed over without any potential impact or question, it does not belong in the reporting. Only include things that the client will think about, and only go as detailed as they are comfortable with. Strive for providing the correct balance between detailed data and clear results. Too much “fluff” can be overwhelming. Once this balance is achieved, it will be very fruitful in discussions and change-making within a client-provider relationship.
Show Value – Reporting isn’t just a way to learn about how to get better. It is also an avenue for an organization to show the great work that they perform. Include metrics and comparisons that show how well the campaign is performing. Show how the client would be much worse off if they were to discontinue service, and always be indispensable as an agency. Clients need to know how well they are doing, so that they have confidence continuing the service into the future.