First things first: should you even automate your marketing reports?
The answer is probably yes, unless (a) most of your reporting is ad hoc, detailed drill-down analysis rather than routine, and (b) you enjoy spending hours copying and pasting data from multiple platforms and attempting to create a visually appealing format using a spreadsheet.
Automated reporting can deliver massive efficiency gains by streamlining and simplifying data integration and visualization. That gives teams back hours they can use for more strategic tasks.
Automated reporting also reduces errors caused by manual data entry and can provide refreshed data without anyone's having to update a spreadsheet.
That said, automating marketing reports requires careful planning and up-front decisions. The discovery phase, which covers deciding what to include and sorting out data to bring into the reporting dashboard, will likely consume 80% of the project timeline, with the remaining 20% spent on the actual building of it and the QA related to data and functionality.
The following 10 tips can help you think through the entire process and ensure you've considered all elements of automating your marketing reports.
1. Understand the basics
Define the business goals your team expects the data to track in your report:
- How does it help your team make better business decisions?
- Who are the stakeholders?
- How often does everyone need to see the report?
- What value does it have for each stakeholder?