If you love data reporting, raise your hand.

I'm guessing the vast majority of you are not out there shouting "Me! Me!" right now. Synthesizing data, analyzing it, and compiling a report... most marketers (i.e., not data scientists) dread the prospect.

Full disclosure: I am a bit of a reporting geek. I love it. But I totally get why people might hate the whole reporting process. It can be hard. Data is all over the place—and often not easy to wrestle into an analyzable format. It's intimidating to try to make sense of all those numbers. Excel can be scary!

Yet reporting is incredibly important. Data without reporting is just data. Without reports to capture and convey what the data tells you, you're not getting the value the data has to offer.

Too often, however, reports fall flat. They fail to communicate important insights—and, worst, aren't even read. The problem usually isn't with the data,it's with the reports themselves.

The good news: all that is fixable. By adopting the following eight good reporting habits, you can transform your data into meaning and action—and improve your results.

1. Know your goals and ensure they are meaningful for the business

That sounds obvious, but it needs to be said. Include your goals right in the report so there's no question about what you're measuring, why, and whether you met expectations.

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image of Jennifer Scheer

Jennifer Scheer is principal of Shout Studio, which provides B2B clients with end-to-end marketing services—from strategic counsel to program execution.

LinkedIn: Jennifer Scheer

Twitter: @j_a_scheer