No matter what industry you are in, the key to effective marketing strategies is having a solid, yet fluid, marketing plan. Solid, because you need clearly defined goals and strategies to implement; and fluid, because those strategies should be able to adapt constantly. And the best way to ensure your strategies are in tip-top shape, is through consistent marketing reports.

Reporting involves creating a process of measuring progress, revealing value, and identifying clear, actionable steps to continuously meet your goals. So with that out of the way, here’s how to create solid, fluid and effective marketing reports.

Set a Proper Foundation

The first thing you want to do when building an effective marketing report, is to set a proper foundation. Define your goals and objectives, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), target audiences, and primary marketing channels in your funnel. When you know exactly what you are aiming for, it makes it that much easier to build your report.

Collect Accurate Data

You need to give your campaigns enough time to collect sufficient data. Track your social media engagements, cost-per-click, cost-per-acquisition, SEO performance, website traffic, bounce rate, as well as paid ad performance. Once you’ve steadily collected accurate data, it’s time to build your dashboard.

Build a Dashboard

All the data in the world won’t matter if it’s not displayed correctly. The decision-makers in your organization need a clean and clear view of the performance of your current marketing strategies, before you can take effective action. To do this, highlight the most important metrics you are aiming for (too many and the numbers can get cluttered), and create a spreadsheet or graph displaying them. If you are reporting on several different metrics, try creating multiple pages.

Compile Insights

Just because you’ve collected and laid out all the data, doesn’t necessarily mean everyone will see what you see. You’ll have to spell out the results of your reporting in understandable terms. Summarize your report’s insights, and place this in the very beginning of your report. This is where you reveal which of your strategies have been working, which haven’t, and why.

Make Decisions & Take Action

You’ve got a beautiful overview of everything that has happened the past period. Now what? Time to take action. If strategies are working, why exactly are they working? If they’re not, why not? The last thing you want to do is lose momentum on your progressing campaigns, and worse than that – doing nothing if (and when) they begin to stall. Once you figure this out, take action! Reallocate your spending based on differing areas of performance. And if campaigns simply have not been working, change them!

It’s essential that your report is as accurate and detailed as possible. Take a step back and look at your wins and losses equally. Sure, we all prefer the wins, but we gain more insights from the losses. Just accept your data, adapt your strategies to those results and change if you need to. With accurate reporting, you can be sure your marketing strategies will be as sharp, and effective, as ever.