Reporting is a high priority for any digital marketing agency.
In the past, Microsoft Excel was the tool of choice for many marketers— but Excel wasn’t made for these reports. It got the job done, but at a high cost of human capital. Today, the process has been standardized and simplified with the influx of automated reporting tools designed specifically for tracking marketing analytics. For growing agencies, it just makes sense to use automated marketing reporting tools to streamline the reporting process and easily manipulate and share data across channels and departments. The problem for most agencies comes when trying to find just the right tool to serve your specific needs and clearly convey value to clients.
Your reporting tool should be a solid fit for the agency’s existing marketing plan and provide maximum value to your clients. Here are four factors to keep in mind when evaluating your options for marketing analytics tools.
Your agency is growing—fast. You need a tool that will grow with you. To choose the right tools, you need to consider how your agency will grow and change over the coming months and years, and then choose a reporting tool that will incorporate those changes.
For instance, will you add more products or brand lines to your business? Will the needs of your customers change as they mature, making a standard report inadequate and creating a need for different types of reports? How will you manage a growing number of clients while still providing excellent value?
However your company grows, your reporting tool needs to support the changes. Before you make a commitment to any reporting solution, you should be sure that it will grow with your needs for the next few years.
Flexibility and Customization
With the number of reporting tools available these days, there is no need to “make do” with technology that doesn’t completely suit your needs. When choosing between options, ask yourself a few questions:
- Does the technology integrate will ALL of your current products?
- Does it offer a variety of data visualization options?
- What are the file types and sharing options?
- Can you access reports in real time, or is there a delay?
No matter how fantastic a reporting tool may be “on the shelf,” it is far more important that it solves real reporting problems within your organization and provides excellent value to your clients.
Ease of Use
Implementing any new tool requires an investment of time and effort, but once the solution is in place, it should be relatively easy for all parties to use. When selecting a reporting tool, ask yourself:
Is this a tool my team can reasonably learn how to use? Does this tool integrate with our existing programs? Does it come with an onboarding training session? How much support is included? Is there any support provided for onboarding new users?
To make this step easier, get your team involved. Ask them what functions they want to see in their marketing analytics tools. Once you find an option you feel comfortable with, you can ask for a demo or a trial period to make sure the tool has long-term usability. Use this time to get familiar with the product and make sure your team feels comfortable. If they are unable to use it effectively, it will not help your organization.
Data Integration Options
Your company lives and breathes data. It is everywhere. From Google Analytics and Adwords to Facebook, MailChimp, Twitter and Instagram. The more mature your business, the more sources you will likely have from which you gain critical data. Your automated marketing tools are only effective if they can take all of this data and analyze it apples to apples.
Strategic, data-driven marketing decisions require a 360-degree view of ALL your data. If you have to gather the data separately, it will cost you time and money. Not to mention, the more time you spend searching for data, the less time you have to work with your clients to develop strategies (and in doing so, grow your business).
The ideal technology solution should integrate data from all necessary sources for comprehensive reporting.
Is An Out-of-the-Box Solution Enough For Your Agency?
If you’re having trouble finding an out-of-the-box option that fulfills all of your reporting needs, a custom solution may be a better choice. Custom reporting solutions allow for full integration of the specific tools already in use. You can also personalize the interface so it works for your organization’s specific needs.
The marketing technology landscape is constantly growing and evolving. A smart technology investment will grow with your agency, address your evolving needs, integrate data smoothly, and continue to update with new features. For more information about custom and semi-custom reporting solutions, and to find the right tools for your agency, contact us at TangoCode today.