Running a monthly marketing report out can be stressful. Additionally, getting prepared for them can be time-consuming.

You probably have several other clients who need you working on initiatives for them. So, time management is crucial. Similarly, it’s important that this report is generating some value.

The steps this article will outline for holding beneficial monthly reports have been adopted by agencies with rock-solid success.

Interestingly, some of these steps might seem a little counterintuitive at first.

Alternatively, some of the steps seem like common sense.

Just stay with me, this process helps marketing teams and clients alike.

Alright, let’s get it going!

Onboard Clients with Monthly Report Out Meetings in Mind

From the first time you touch a client as the marketing strategist or account manager, you should be thinking about the future. In this article, I’m specifically talking about the monthly report out, but this mindset goes even further. It stretches into the quarterly planning and identifying their intention to renew or beef up their retainer.

The general idea is that we want to keep clients, so we should have a clear idea of what needs to be done to make that happen.

Step 1: Identify their company goals.

These will almost always be something about increasing leads or broadening their digital reach, increasing brand awareness, etc etc.

Once you’ve established these goals you have some context to use for guiding your marketing. You know what’s important to them and can allocate marketing initiatives appropriately.

Pro tip: Make sure every key stakeholder agrees that this list of company goals actually is, in fact, exhaustive and relevant.

Step 2: Identify marketing goals.

In this step, you’re going to take those company goals (increase brand awareness, social presence, lead count, etc) and create goals that are measurable.

To do this, identify a performance indicator that would support a goal. For example, we might use an increase in conversions on key landing pages to support a goal like “increase leads”.

These goals should be SMART and should directly support the company’s goals.

Pro tip: Make sure every key stakeholder agrees that these SMART goals actually do, in fact, support their company goals.

Step 3: Only pursue marketing initiatives that will increase the KPIs identified in your SMART goals.

This one can get a little tricky.

So here’s a tip, when you position the marketing initiatives to be executed mention something about how this is a starting point.

“We’re going to measure these KPIs on a very regular basis to make sure these marketing initiatives are actually supporting our SMART goals. If we see our SMART goals drifting off track, then we’ll adjust the marketing initiatives to give more support.”

The key takeaway here is that you can identify goals that aren’t on track before it’s too late.

Check out what you’ve done — you made future report outs a lot less stressful.

Keep reading to see how.

Keep Your Marketing Report Out Short and Focused on Goals, Initiatives, and Performance

In my experience, I’ve noticed that marketing report outs that are more than 30 minutes are unfocused and don’t add value.

Keep this meeting to 30 minutes and use a focused agenda.

In fact, use the same report out agenda and deck every time. Just clone and update the information on each slide. This pulls the possibility of a client being surprised by what’s getting discussed off the table. It’s the same report every time you meet that discusses the same goals, the same metrics, and is executed in a planned and predictable manner.

Here’s a screenshot of how I would call out the report out agenda:

Marketing report out agenda

Here’s a breakdown of each section of this report:

  • Review the company goals to make sure that they’re still relevant.
  • Look at the marketing goals to make sure we still agree that they support the company goals.
  • Discuss the monthly marketing initiatives that were used to drive the success of the marketing goals.
  • Then, look at the marketing scorecard to make sure we’re on track. If we’re off track we can adjust our marketing initiatives at this point.
  • Look at data and marketing trends to explain the scorecard and add context to our KPIs.
  • Then, discuss upcoming marketing initiatives that include any adjustments we’re making based on the scorecard.
  • Lastly, conclude and set up the next steps, this is usually a date for the next report out, and maybe any other upcoming meetings like the quarterly planning session.

Pro tip: While this is a little bit out of the scope of this article, use a lot of the metric reporting slides in the client marketing launch exactly how they’ll appear in the reporting deck. This can make these monthly report outs even more understandable to clients.

Discuss Marketing Strategies that AREN’T Working

This is the most important part of your marketing report out meetings.

It’s common for marketers to only talk about what’s working and how good of a job they’re doing. While I understand the intention of doing this, there’s something fundamentally flawed about this approach.

This speaks to the famous John Wannamaker quote and it resonates with business owners.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Instead of trying to force our marketing efforts to appear successful, let’s help our clients understand their marketing investment by making our efforts agile and transparent.

If we can solve the problem of identifying what efforts are creating waste, we can help our clients remove those initiatives. Then, by default, we’ll also be able to find which strategies are working.

Now, we’re solving two problems for our clients:

  • Reducing wasted marketing spend
  • Meeting or exceeding marketing goals

As long as our marketing goals are tied to their business goals, this will mean an increase in business success. Talk about proving value.

Bring it All Together In the Report Out

Some exceptional changes occur in report outs if they are run as discussed above.

  • Clients stop blaming marketers for strategies that are off track
  • They become involved in the marketing work being done
  • The work becomes a team effort that everyone is invested in
  • A sense of partnership results

Let’s suppose you’re having a hard time preparing for marketing report outs. Similarly, it might feel like you need to reinvent the wheel everytime you hold one. If this sounds familiar, I encourage you to take a step back and evaluate the engagement between the client and agency.

The steps above can lead to better client and agency relationships and significantly reduce attrition.

Happy reporting everyone!

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