Reporting Automation is Killing Your Marketing Intelligence
One of the first places companies focus their automation journey on is reporting. Yet, this area is one of the most important places for front-line managers to focus on to find growth insights.
Reporting, quite frankly, is a mind-numbing task. Traditionally this involved pulling traffic data from one source, sales data from another, and cost data from yet another. A couple VLookups and pivot tables later and your "excel dashboard" is complete.
Analytics teams often look at this manual effort and the the resultant antiquated dashboard and wonder how much time is lost.
20 minutes x 5 working days x 50 working weeks = 10 days per year spent on reporting.
But while they save 10 days per year of marketers' time, often the loss in productivity is much greater.
You see, it is the manual process of digging in to each data source that tends to uncover the most insights. When data is summarized at an overall, channel, medium, or device level, it tends to obscure the minutiae that are underlying the segment's performance. When data is pulled manually, things tend to stick out more easily.
Second, when data sources' outputs start to diverge, it is the marketer that often catches it first. When data is automatically pulled there is little reason to sanity-check or verify the accuracy, so incorrect data can proliferate quickly and cause some pretty poor decisions.
Lastly, too often marketers mis-attribute their week's work as the key driver over the health of their campaigns. Reporting and explaining movement in results, backed by quantifiable measures gives managers insight in to which of their activities (if not seasonality) is most impacting their campaigns and can become better at setting priorities in the long-term.