When marketers are considering new marketing platforms they often overlook the reporting interface. Reporting is a standard component of every system, but the sales person rarely demos that part of the software. It’s not the thing that closes the sale. The workflow and management of the tool are where the sizzle happens.
But what would happen if the lead story of the software was how the reporting module really can change a marketer’s life? Pretty charts and graphs don’t do that alone, but when they are paired with the functionality that makes the marketer truly feel like the master of their own domain, that’s different. Very different indeed.
Out of the box reports come standard with every marketing platform. Many come with a limited ability to customize these basic reports. But every business has unique requirements and having the ability to configure the reports to meet those requirements gives marketers more insights into their day-to-day activities. The ability to customize reports is how marketers can solve their edge case issues and automatically generate that report that the one VP needs to see, because it looks like the report from their last company.
Reporting should not be complicated to set up, to understand, or to share. Marketers need easy access to the reports that they use the most for them to be effective. It should not take a data scientist, a rocket scientist, or even a brain surgeon to interpret what happened in the previous period of marketing activities. Clear visuals that show ongoing activity, rather than struggling to determine what a particular color means, is how marketing reporting should be built.
Marketing is not a static activity. Today’s emails, text messages, push notifications, and loyalty tactics might all work to drive more customer engagement perfectly, but what if marketers need even more engagement? Or what if they want to build marketing segments to increase revenue of the most loyal customers? Actionable reports show them the way. Part of reporting is looking back at what happened, but it is more important to use the reports to know what action to take moving forward. These reports are tools to help marketers do their jobs better and smarter.
Marketers don’t want to click this menu to choose this navigation to hover over this navigation to click on the daily report. Analytics need to be easily available from the screens where marketers spend their time selecting audiences, building creative, and launching campaigns for the reports to be effective. The life of a marketer is improved with clear reports that show what they need to know when. The days of marketing by feel are over and this is how data-driven decisions happen when reporting gets smoothly integrated into the marketing daily workflow.
Marketing reporting is not an afterthought. It is one of the most important elements of a marketing system and we need to change our thinking about it when evaluating software.
The post originally appeared on the Cheetah Digital blog.