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Marketing Storytelling: How to Create Marketing Reports That Tell Compelling Tales

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Storytelling in Marketing

Once upon a time, a frustrated Marketing Manager spent 10-20 hours every month creating reports. 

The Big Bad Boss huffed and puffed over Slack, demanding: “where is my monthly marketing report?”

“Here it is,” the Marketer replied, sending a 30-page PDF with lots of big numbers that, if we’re honest, didn’t mean much to anybody. It’s not even clear if the Marketing Manager understood them.

If this story sounds more like reality than fantasy, it’s probably a sign you need to rethink reporting.

Marketing reports should tell a compelling story. Just not the kind you might be familiar with.

Defining storytelling in marketing campaign reporting

They say storytelling is an art, but we’re inclined to disagree. When it comes to marketing reports, storytelling is 50% technique and 50% data. 

Compelling campaign reports use marketing outcomes to prove ROI. They link results to business goals and speak senior managers’ language, creating alignment between marketing success and business growth.

Is brand storytelling the same as marketing storytelling?

Brand storytelling refers to the creative and emotional levers used to engage audiences. In this context, storytelling in marketing reporting is a technique used to align campaign KPIs to business goals and prove ROI with engaging data visualizations.

How brands and agencies can create compelling marketing reports

In-house teams use results to justify next year’s budget. Agencies point to reports to demonstrate their value to the client.

Whether you work in-house or agency-side, the need to tell compelling and consistent stories in campaign reports is ever-present. Here’s how it’s done.

10 tips for compelling marketing reports:

  1. Link results to customer value
  2. Be consistent
  3. Be concise
  4. Be honest
  5. Use visuals
  6. Avoid jargon
  7. Omit vanity metrics
  8. Know your client
  9. Focus on outcomes
  10. Contextualize results

Start with strategy

Storytelling in the marketing process starts long before reporting. From the moment you begin campaign planning, you should have an idea of the broader narrative.

Take cues from business goals and organizational targets. Then, translate them into marketing KPIs

For example:

  • Marketing KPI: Generate 10 MQLs this month
  • Organizational target: Increase qualified leads by 100% this year
  • Business goal: Grow client base by bringing in high-value accounts

A clear and customer-focused strategy remains your “north star” throughout planning, measurement, reporting, and optimization.

Create alignment between marketing and customer value

Marketing, and therefore marketing reporting, should always orbit customer value. How customer value is defined depends on the business goals; for example, “value” could mean:

  • Increasing average spend
  • Filling the lead funnel
  • Landing key accounts
  • Growing customer lifetime value

Ensure that every metric in the marketing report links to customer value to demonstrate marketing ROI.

In a survey of over 300 senior B2B marketers, Forrester found that 20% are focused on attracting new buyers this year, and 19% on entering new markets. 

Marketers in those organizations know their north star, and benchmark their contributions against it. 

What about you?

Focus on results, not activities

There’s a global shift happening towards customer-centric marketing. The same Forrester report showed that among marketing decision-makers and CMOs:

  • 37% are prioritizing changing buyer behaviors 
  • 31% are focused on creating audience-centric content across the customer lifecycle

It’s easy for goals like these to mislead marketers into focusing on activities. As you compile your marketing report, look for opportunities to transform activity measures into results metrics. 

ActivityResult
Retargeting across platformsReturn on ad spend (ROAS)
Advertising on TikTok for the first timeConversion rate from TikTok ads
Creating a lead magnet and landing pageSales qualified leads
Segmented email journeys with personalized contentConversion rate from emails
Negotiated more favorable advertising rates ROAS and budget performance


Remember: results justify your time and budget better than activities. Let the numbers do the talking.

Which brings us to the importance of data in marketing reports.

Use high-quality data 

Every good story has a beginning, middle, and end. Your marketing report should have those components. 

Well, kind of.

Allow us to explain.

  • Beginning: Metrics collected at the start of the campaign
  • Middle: Metrics collected at the end of the campaign
  • (Open) end: Improvements you can make to grow the business in the future

The best marketing reports turn these metrics into visualizations that convey a compelling story immediately. 84% of marketers create data visualizations regularly; 48% do so every week. In fact, only 1% of marketers never use data to tell a visual story. 

So, it’s worrying that less than 60% of marketers are confident in their data sources. 

Quality data is non-negotiable if you hope to include value-adding insights and recommendations in your marketing report. And once you have the data, you need a way to filter, segment, highlight and compare results to get the whole story. 

Which means you need Mediatool.

Mediatool is an end-to-end campaign management platform that brands and agencies use to access reliable multi-channel data in a centralized platform

Powerfully simple reporting features let you explore data, create great-looking reports with a few clicks, and export charts and graphs to drop into your design document. 

Invest in better marketing reporting tools

Unlike rigid campaign reporting tools, Mediatool makes it easy to compile a compelling story.

  • Filter data: Segment and sift your marketing results to get deeper audience insight
  • Demonstrate customer value: Target tracking and real-time results prove marketing’s contribution at a glance
  • Compile all your data: Mediatool’s Integrations bring multi-channel marketing campaigns together in a user-friendly dashboard, saving you time and improving data quality

And perhaps most importantly, Mediatool’s reporting functionality is ideal for busy brands and agile agencies.

You can customize and create an unlimited number of good-looking marketing reports. Reports only take a few clicks, so you can share them on demand or after the campaign ends.With Mediatool, you’re in control of the story. Schedule a hands-on demonstration to find out why every Mediatool tale ends with a happily ever after.

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