Everyone loves a shiny green marketing report that shows everything is moving in the right direction. After all, it’s a sign that your strategy is working and your investment – whether that be time and/or money – is paying off.
Whilst it’s every marketer’s aim to send a glowing report to the relevant people every month, and every client’s ideal scenario to receive one, it doesn’t always work out that way.
Of course, it’s not ideal to see anything flagged as red on your report, but it doesn’t always mean that it’s a cause for immediate concern. If you’ve got a skilled marketing team powering your campaigns, they should already be aware of anything that could impact your results. If there hasn’t been anything glaringly obvious, a dedicated team would be straight on it and conduct an analysis into possible reasons behind any decline.
So, if your report isn’t all green – what does it mean and what should you do? In this blog, I’ll take you through some of the reasons why your report might not be entirely green – of course, possible reasons will vary case-by-case depending on the marketing channels that are being utilised amongst a range of other factors, so this is just a general overview of things to consider!
Why aren’t marketing reports green all of the time?
There might sometimes be an obvious reason as to why your report isn’t green – for example, if there’s a technical issue on your website or your Facebook ads have gone back into learning, therefore slowing your progress down. However, some reasons are a little less obvious. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your marketing report might not always be glowing…
You’re at the start of a brand new campaign where you’re building data and testing
If you’re at the start of a brand new campaign – whether that’s for SEO, Paid Social, or any other channel – you might see a bit of a dip or some stagnation when reporting on the first month. This is because, especially if you’re using an agency, you may have spent the first month conducting plenty of research and building a strategy to lay the foundations for the rest of the work going forward.
Similarly, and especially if you’re looking at a Paid Social report, you may find that the first month has focused on building data and testing audiences as opposed to solely lead generation.
Regarding SEO, it can often take months to reap the benefits of your investment – so, if you aren’t seeing much progress in the first couple of months, this shouldn’t be a major cause for concern until further down the line.
Demand for your product or service has dropped
Sometimes, as good as your marketing strategy might seem, you might see a drop due to fluctuations or a decline in the search demand for your offering. In some sectors, search trends are always changing, so it is important to always keep an eye on this and adjust your strategy accordingly.
However, sometimes you might see red in certain areas of your report due to seasonality and how this affects search demand. This is a common occurrence for fashion brands.
As an example, traffic to category pages for coats and jackets might drop in the warmer months, simply because no one’s looking for a parka or a puffer coat when the sun’s out and it’s scorching. However, traffic might be up in other areas of the website – such as swimwear – to account for the drop elsewhere, and thus in other areas of the report too.
Sometimes though, a drop in demand might be an indication of a bigger problem, such as a declining market. If that’s the case, your negative report might not be a sign that your marketing isn’t working, but a sign that your industry is suffering. So, it might be time to consider your market position and diversify your offering. You can also use third-party tools to analyse your competitors, and if they are subject to the same trends and effects.
Other external factors are at play
It’s vital that you monitor your marketing campaign and your outputs internally, but you also need to consider other external factors that might be at play when it comes to your marketing results. For example, if you suddenly start to see traffic, rankings, and clicks drop, it might be worth looking into whether a Google Algorithm update was recently implemented.
Similarly, if you noticed that your ranking positions or clicks have dropped, it may also be worth conducting a competitor analysis to see if this has had an impact on your position. For instance, if a close competitor increases their budget and starts to target the same keywords as you, with success, then this will likely have an impact on your position if the search engine results pages (SERPs) have changed. Even just dropping a couple of positions can have a big impact on the clicks that you get.
The strategy simply needs a refresh!
If you can’t see a reason as to why things are on a decline or they’ve stagnated, it might be time to refresh your strategy. Things change all of the time in the digital world – what worked six months ago might not necessarily work now.
With that in mind, it might be time to take a closer look at your positioning and your key stats, and formulate an updated strategy based on your current situation. If you’re an in-house marketer and you’re struggling with where to turn next, it might be time to consider hiring a team of marketing experts to help you!
How do you communicate this with stakeholders?
Be honest and address it
Whether you’re agency side and you have to address the report with a client, or an in-house Marketing Manager that has to go to someone in a higher position to report on marketing activity and subsequent results, it can often feel like a difficult conversation.
You might be tempted to brush over the areas that aren’t that great to talk about, but it’s important to be honest about the situation. If something on the report doesn’t look good, tackle it head-on.
If you fail to mention it but the client or stakeholder notices it, or even mentions it first, it can seem like you haven’t been paying close attention to their results and the progress throughout the month, quarter, or year.
Flag any issues at the earliest opportunity
If you notice that things aren’t going in the right direction, don’t wait until your reporting period to mention it. As soon as things start slipping or your strategy needs to be revised, communicate this clearly with the relevant stakeholders as soon as you can.
This shows that you’re keeping a close eye on their campaigns at all times, and not just during the reporting period when you’ll be put under the spotlight. It suggests attention to detail, and being upfront and honest as soon as you can will help you to build trust and a strong relationship with your client, or any other stakeholder that you’re reporting to.
Provide as much information as possible
When it comes to having a conversation about performance and how things aren’t going as well as planned, it’s important to provide as much information as you can. In other words, don’t just tell the stakeholder that figures are down and things aren’t looking great, but tell them why this is the case.
If you don’t yet have this information because it’s taking longer than expected to get to the bottom of things, reassure the client or your stakeholders that you’re looking into it and will keep them updated.
Be proactive – what are you going to do to resolve the issues, and when?
Leading on from the point above, make sure you’re being proactive – tell the client or the stakeholder the steps you’re taking to get things back on track, and make sure you pick this up internally too, ensuring that your team knows exactly what they need to do to solve the issue. That might just be digging deeper into the reasons why things aren’t going the way you hoped to start with, or it might be clear steps that need to be taken to improve performance.
Looking for a fresh, multi-channel marketing strategy that will take your online presence to the next level?
Evidently, there are many reasons why your marketing report might not always be entirely positive. What’s important is that your marketing team understand why this might be, are honest about the situation, and are proactive in trying to get things back on track.
That’s exactly what we can promise here at Embryo. We keep a close eye on all of our clients and their campaigns, to ensure that everything is ticking over nicely. If things aren’t going as swimmingly as hoped, we’re hands-on at the earliest opportunity to get to the bottom of things and turn it around.
Maybe you’ve had one too many poor marketing reports now and you’re ready for a fresh alternative. Or, maybe you’ve neglected your marketing activity entirely, and you’re wanting to boost your online visibility. That’s where our team can help – get in touch with us to find out exactly what we can do to help you meet your marketing objectives.