Automated reporting tools every marketer needs

As marketers, we all love data. Personally, nothing makes me happier than being able to prove that my team and our strategic initiatives are performing. What I don’t love about data – the time and resources it takes to collect it, organize it, analyze, and finally visualize it into charts that make sense to those who sit outside the marketing team.

The process can take hours out of each week and even worse, takes the life out of a high-performing marketing team that would rather be applying the learned insights to the next big campaign than sorting through pivot tables. 

Fact is, these reports are essential to our success. To keep my team, and quite frankly myself, motivated we identified what needed to be automated to streamline the reporting process. 

Here’s our top six list:

  1. An easy data import process.
    If you’re using the right marketing intelligence platform, connecting your existing marketing tools, i.e., Google Analytics, AdWords, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, HubSpot, CSV files, and more, in a single platform should be a breeze. The best tools allow the user to connect using their account IDs.
  2. Data mapping that doesn’t require coding.
    I’m a marketer, not an engineer. If mapping requires more than a few clicks of the mouse, you can count me out. My team and I searched for tools backed by an engineering and data science team that did the mapping for us — at no extra cost. Beware of solutions that charge hourly consulting rates on top of annual licensing fees to properly map your data.
  3. Pre-configured reports.
    We all need a place to start, and a tool that provides reports right out of the box always makes its way to the top of my list. If we’re going to make an investment in automated marketing reports, my team and I want access to those reports as soon as possible so we can efficiently set goals, monitor progress, calculate ROI, and receive notifications.
  4. User-level permissions and custom user experiences.
    Everyone on my teams utilizes data differently. Our product marketer looks at different metrics than our demand gen marketer, and the reports I provide to our co-founders varies greatly from the metrics monitored by our marketing analysts. To ensure we get the most from the platform, we need each user to be able to view the data in a way that makes sense to them based on their role in the organization.
  5. Collaboration.
    Just like each member of our marketing team uses data differently, we each have different points of view regarding the data that, when communicated to the wider team, enhance the planning and execution of our marketing campaigns. The entire purpose of automation is to save time and apply resources to areas with the greatest impact. Taking screenshots of charts, pasting them into emails and commenting back and forth via a thread of 30+ emails is not my idea of automation. My team is fast-acting and as such needed a platform where we could comment, tag, and mention team members right alongside the data visualizations.
  6. Complete mobility.
    We live in the age of digital transformation. Working while on-the-go has become the new norm for professionals in every field. If you can’t access reports on your phone or tablet, you might as well not have the service at all. Whether it’s web-based or in-app, the ability to access my data anytime, anywhere is imperative.

Now that I’ve outlined the needs of my team, I invite you to think about what you would need to get the most from your automated reporting tools. Think about what’s most important to you, evaluate options that include those features, and select the platform that gets you what you need in the fastest time-to-value.