One interesting part of my job as a Global Integrated Marketing Manager is to consolidate regional marketing metrics and provide an overall assessment of our marketing efforts. Yes, in a way, I create a global marketing report card. Here are 5-steps to create a global marketing report card:
Create a report card template
Each company’s report card may be different. However, it should include:
- Marketing Objectives: what do you intend to accomplish with your marketing budget?
- Marketing Programs: what programs will you run to support the marketing objectives?
- Key Milestones: what are key milestones for these marketing programs?
- Budget: How much budget do you have? How much has been spent? How much remains?
- Goals: What are the measurable goals for your marketing objectives? May include sales targets.
- Metrics: What are the specific tactical metrics for your marketing programs?
- Assumptions: What assumptions are you making about the relevance of specific metrics?
- Executive Summary: what is the overall status of your programs? What’s working well and what needs attention?
- Recommendations: thoughts on how to refine the programs so that the remaining budget can be spent more effectively.
Wow, this report card is hard to fill out. When you start for the first time, you may not have all the data and you will need to investigate the appropriate sources. Your stakeholders may not be happy about filling out yet another form. However, I strongly believe if the report card is done right, it should replace other metric-oriented templates.
Establish a regular cadence to gather metrics
To make it easy for stakeholders (geographies, marketing research, business units, finance, and other marketing teams), it’s important to communicate a timeline calendar. Let them know when you will need data and why. Follow up with a friendly reminder to ensure that they send your information on time.
Consolidate and synthesize metrics
Now, this is the tricky part. You have report cards from six different geographies, sales goals and marketing budget from Finance, marketing research and other report cards. Management is not interested in reviewing six separate report cards. In addition, management cares about how we are doing against our corporate objectives and business goals. This is where a holistic report card comes in. I synthesize all the data and create a single picture of the overall marketing program. Yes, you will need to work with your stakeholders through many iterations in order to refine your report card.
Present a consolidated report card
Make it easy for senior managers! Start with a one-page executive summary to show highlights, lowlights, budget and sales goal. Show success and failures. If things are not going well make sure they know about it. Bad news does not get better with age! Also, let them know what you will do differently and have an open and honest discussion.
There will be some actions items on which you will need to follow-up. Bring the action items to your stakeholders and discuss the next steps. Make an effort to inform the management about the progress of these action items. Some action items may need to be deprioritized due to budget and resource constraints. Explain the implications and get stakeholder buy-in and manager approval.
Here are some challenges I have encountered:
Trending vs. non-trending
Not all marketing programs need trending data. If you have a short-term program that is a one-time event, trending data may be irrelevant. However, some campaigns run for several quarters or multiple years. It’s important to share the trending information of these campaigns to understand how the campaign progresses over time.
Marketing research shows brand awareness is in decline, but the media metrics are exceeding expectation and content views on the website are in an upward trend. Dig into the sources of the data to understand the differences. The research data may be for the last quarter while the media metrics represent only the last 2 weeks and content views are for month-to-month comparisons. You need to interpret the data.
Metrics are tied to specific marketing programs or tactics. We also need to gather data from different sources. Social media metrics come from social media tools, while event attendees are tracked in a different system. Web analytics are from web-related tools. Some of them may not have a direct tie to business objectives. For example: How do 1M followers on Twitter impact our sales goals? Is that information even relevant or should it even be reported as a metric? In my opinion, Holistic marketing metrics should be reviewed on a monthly basis. Some may argue that gathering the data from geographies, marketing research, finance, and business units is cumbersome. It IS involved and requires real effort.
However, if you don’t stop to take stock of your status on a regular basis, you could be speeding ahead in a bad direction. Evaluate your process and automate part of it if appropriate. It’s hard to automate the whole process, given that metrics require human interpretation and modification. A monthly review also enhances communication between different stakeholders and can help keep different areas aligned on overall goals. There is an increasing focus on understanding where marketing dollars are being spent and what the ROI is for the company. A marketing report card is essential to understand, track and explain your overall marketing programs and needs to be a part of your marketing discipline.