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Why marketers need to stop reporting

Published May 23 2024 4 minute read Last updated May 23 2024
marketing reporting
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  • Thomas Frenkiel
    Written by Thomas Frenkiel

    Thomas has over 10 years of marketing experience. After working in media and SEO agencies for 8 years, he joined Funnel in 2022.

That headline might have you reaching for your pitchforks and torches, but hold on! We're not advocating for the death of marketing reports altogether. Marketers are data wizards, but endless hours spent wrangling numbers from web analytics, ad platforms and CRMs can leave them feeling like glorified data janitors.

Here's the truth: Compiling reports and cleaning up data isn't the strategic magic that sets your marketing skills apart. And you’re way too smart to copy and paste data from Google Ads into an Excel sheet. 

If you're sticking with the familiar just because it's what you've always done, you might be missing out on innovative solutions that could save you time and boost your effectiveness

It’s time to stop reporting 

We mean this in a very hands-on sense. Agencies often tell us that the reporting process is inefficient, error prone, tedious, and eating into margins. So how can marketers prove the value of their work?

First, you will need to stop all that time-consuming reporting stuff and "upgrade" your systems to something more efficient and future-proof. Read on to discover how to go about it.

Start automating data collection and visualization

The secret sauce is automation. By automating data collection from web analytics tools, advertising platforms and your CRM, you can reclaim your weekends (and sanity). But more importantly, you free yourself up to work on the things that truly matter: turning data into insights and driving results.

Imagine this; instead of spending hours wrestling with spreadsheets and manually piecing together data from various sources, you have a central hub that automatically collects and normalizes your data. No more errors from copy-pasting and no more inconsistencies between platforms. Just clean, unified data ready for your analysis.

With a marketing data hub, you can:

  • Spend less time on busywork and more time on strategic analysis. Dive deeper into trends, uncover hidden patterns, and identify areas for improvement in your marketing campaigns.
  • Focus on getting insights from the data, not just reporting it. Automated reports can highlight key metrics, visualize trends and surface actionable insights you can present to your clients. Imagine reports that practically write themselves!
  • Optimize strategies and campaigns in real-time. With readily available data, you can make data-driven decisions and adjust your approach on the fly for maximum impact.
  • Work more collaboratively with your clients. Automated reports provide a shared understanding of campaign performance, fostering better communication and stronger relationships.
  • Free up time to speak with the actual customer. Focus on gathering deeper customer insights through surveys, interviews or social listening to truly understand their needs and tailor your marketing accordingly.

How Publicis Sweden reduced reporting time by 90%

Many agencies struggle with the burden of traditional reporting. Take Publicis Sweden for example. They faced significant challenges managing a rapidly growing volume of data from various sources and meeting client demands for advanced insights. Manually processing this data and creating reports was a time-consuming and error-prone process.

Their solution was to start using Funnel, which allowed them to automate data collection and streamline report generation. This resulted in a remarkable 90% reduction in report preparation time. The benefits went beyond efficiency, too. Funnel empowered them to scale, and they now manage data from more than 3,000 sources and 25 API connections. This helps them provide even deeper insights for their clients.

This shift toward data automation transformed Publicis Sweden's approach to marketing. Instead of spending hours on reporting, they now focus on data analysis and strategic advice. In other words: they can focus on what truly matters to achieve optimal results.

Take action: streamline your reporting and unlock insights

You can transform your marketing efforts by embracing data automation, too. Here are some immediate, actionable steps to get started:

  1. Identify your data bottlenecks
    Start by taking stock of your current reporting process. Pinpoint the areas that consume the most time and effort. Are you spending hours manually copying and pasting data from different platforms? Is data normalization a constant struggle?

A fictional data flow diagram including reporting pain points. Creating a data map like this can help to identify which steps in your reporting operation are inefficient. 

Before diving into the solutions, it's important to grasp the variety of challenges that can plague your reporting processes. Here are some specific issues that marketers frequently face:

  • Currency calculations: Many marketers spend considerable time reconciling ad spends manually across different currencies. This not only complicates the reporting process but also increases the risk of errors.
  • Manual work: Creating comprehensive overviews of spend or performance across all channels often involves manual data downloads.
  • Dependencies: When marketers rely on other teams to access data.
  • Large and complex setups: Large, internationally operating organizations face unique challenges in managing and normalizing data from numerous sources like ad platforms, sales systems, CRMs, and analytics tools. The complexity of these setups can lead to inefficiencies and inconsistencies in data reporting.

Identifying what pain points you encounter in your situation will help determine where automation can have the strongest impact.

  1. Explore data automation tools
    Research available automation solutions for your use case. Look for tools that can seamlessly integrate with your existing data sources (web analytics, CRM, ad platforms). Consider factors like ease of use, scalability and the ability to generate insightful reports. Remember, the goal isn't to replace your expertise, but to free you up for higher-level analysis and strategic thinking.

  2. Test and refine
    Don't be afraid to experiment! Many data automation tools offer free trials. Start by automating a single report or focusing on a specific data source. Analyze the results and assess the impact on your workflow. Refine your approach as needed before scaling automation across your entire reporting process.

  3. Focus on insights
    Once you've freed up time from tedious reporting tasks, shift your focus to uncovering actionable insights. Dive deeper into trends, identify areas for improvement and use data to inform strategic decision-making.

By following these steps, you can streamline your reporting process, unlock valuable insights from your data and become a more strategic partner to your clients. Remember, automation isn't a panacea, but it's a powerful tool that can help you transform your approach to marketing.

The future of marketing intelligence

As you explore data automation, keep an eye on the evolving landscape. Emerging technologies like AI and machine learning are further revolutionizing data analysis. These advancements can help you automate tasks like anomaly detection and predictive modeling.

By embracing data automation and staying informed about future trends, you can ensure your marketing strategies remain effective and data-driven in the ever-changing digital landscape.

Leave behind the old

When we urge marketers to stop reporting, we’re really pushing for an end to old, sluggish practices. It's not about halting what works—it’s about abandoning what doesn’t. Adopt the right tools, transform your data into insights, and elevate your marketing. 

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