The Value in Reporting: A Marketing Lesson from My Dad
Fathers are notorious for saying or doing things that make us roll our eyes. There’s a reason they call bad jokes “dad jokes.”
My dad didn’t have dad jokes. But he did have odd catchphrases, like “He’s cooler than sliced bread.” But one of his random catchphrases is actually a really good marketing lesson: Missouri.
Missouri’s nickname is “The Show-Me State.” I’m not entirely sure what that means (any native Missourians please fill me in), but to my dad, it was a challenge. Show me. Prove it. I would say something like, “Please. I could jump that far,” or “I am absolutely sure Bob Vila never said that,” and every time his response was “Missouri.”
I rolled my eyes at my dad, but his point isn’t a bad one. Having a “prove it” attitude can only help your marketing strategy. Marketing should bring in more leads, should bring in more money, should grow your business. Reporting is how we prove those things are—or aren’t—happening. Here are a few key reporting principles to keep in mind.
1. Know where you came from
Make sure you get a baseline measurement so you can see actual progress. If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your site’s backend, do that immediately. Analytics will be stored on your site from the moment it begins tracking, so you should have access to any information you need retroactively.
2. Keep it simple
Look for useful statistics. There are hundreds of numbers and things to measure, but not all of them are useful. If the reporting you are getting isn’t helpful—isn’t proving its value—find a way to change it and get some numbers that are actually valuable. I recommend setting goals at the beginning, like “I want to increase my traffic,” or “I want my bounce rate to go down,” so that progress is easily tracked.
3. Find a balance
You have to find a balance between looking at the data frequently enough to act on changes but infrequently enough that that there’s a) adequate data to make informed decisions and b) adequate time to overrule arbitrary spikes or dips. That balance will probably look like once per month or once per quarter for you—I guarantee more or less than that will not be beneficial.
Reporting really shows one of two things: It proves that what you’re doing is working, or it proves that what you’re doing isn’t working. While we might not enjoy seeing the latter, in the long run you need to know whether you’re wasting time and money and find a strategy that does work. Make any marketing agency you hire prove their worth. Missouri.
About the author
I'm Autumn Nicholson. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and took the first editing job I could find, at a marketing company in South Carolina, and have been in the digital marketing field ever since. I'm passionate about high-quality content, impeccable grammar, and cute shoes. You can connect with me here:
Marketing should bring in more leads, should bring in more money, should grow your business. Reporting is how we prove those things are—or aren’t—happening.
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