Your One-Page Secret Weapon for End-of-Year Marketing Reporting

Matt Hertig Blog

2021 will be over before you know it, and before it ends, there’s one more thing you should do. It’s a powerful, but painless exercise for showcasing marketing ROI.

Ready? Here it goes: Take a single piece of paper, and sum up your year as a marketer. 

Doesn’t matter how large your business is. Doesn’t matter if you’ve got $50,000 or $50 million for a marketing budget. Tell your story in one page. Because when you do that, you really only have enough room for three topics: 

  • What marketing did this year. Here’s how much money we spent, and here’s what it bought us in terms of new leads, customers and revenue.
  • Why things happened the way they did. What strategies or tactics produced marketing ROI, and which ones underperformed?
  • What you should do next year. Based on this year’s results and what you learned, where should you invest your budget next year? How much should you spend?

Having a marketing analytics platform will make it easier to put together a report like this, but everyone, no matter how mature or young their analytics program is, should be able to answer the questions above. 

Focus on What Stakeholders Want Marketing ROI

Investment and impact are big-picture, macro questions. But that’s what your company’s owners or C-suite leaders — i.e. the people paying for marketing — really care about. They want to know if you’re being a good steward of your budget. They want to know if you’re creating the results they want. And they want to hear your expert opinion on what the organization should do next. You can cover all of that in a one-page report. 

You may already write something like this. A lot of times, though, we as marketers show up at year-end meetings with these huge ensembles of PowerPoints and PDFs that are just … ugh. 

I don’t know, maybe your boss enjoys getting an enormous report that takes hours and hours to read. They might even require you to write a dissertation-length chronicle of the past year. If so, do what you gotta do. 

After you finish all that, take a little time and try to boil the essential elements down to one page, even if you’re the only one who will see it. This is a great exercise for focusing your attention on what really, truly matters.  

If You Don’t Tell Your Story, Who Will? 

When it comes time to present your one-page report, it’ll take you maybe 10 minutes. Then open up the floor to questions.

It’s possible you’ve already completed your year-end reviews and budget planning for 2022, but your stakeholders — whether that’s your CMO or a client outside your company — will still appreciate the one-pager, too. That way, they have something they can easily review or take upstairs (or whatever you do in Zoom-world) whenever someone gets curious about marketing ROI. 

Marketers work extremely hard, and we do great things for our organizations. Where we fall down is telling our own story about the real, measurable value that we create. A one-page summary lets you streamline that story of marketing ROI and convey it in a way that anyone can understand.  

You’re the engine that drives growth. Don’t let anybody forget it.

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Updated October 7, 2021