Marketing reporting is a key component of any successful B2B marketing strategy. It helps marketers to understand the impact of their activities on business performance. When selecting an analytics stack for B2B reporting, it’s important to consider all of your needs in order to understand customer behavior, identify gaps in the market and make informed decisions about how to best reach their target audiences.

But with so many analytics tools and technologies available, it can be difficult to choose the right stack for your business’ unique needs. Let’s explore 3 key considerations you should take into account when selecting a marketing analytics stack for B2B marketing reporting.

Key #1: Use Finance’s BI Stack for Corp Dashboards

This may sound silly at first. But sharing a business intelligence / reporting stack with sales, finance and operations leads to cross-functional and c-suite acceptability of your measures, metrics and reporting. Simply put, it’s optics. Executives already trust the information since it’s providing financial and sales insight to the health of the business. Marketing needs a seat at that table. If your marketing reporting team doesn’t have experience or knowledge of that particular BI tool, either hire an analytics firm that does or train your team to do so.

A corollary of this key is to build all your top-level marketing reporting with finance, sales, operations, etc. to ensure organizational buy-in into your marketing performance reporting is success metrics and goals. This will also ensure that your marketing team success is measured on delivering business results not page views, clicks, and other false metrics.

Key #2: Don’t Trust 3rd Party Attribution Models

Third-party attribution models are black boxes. They may be able to give you the metrics you want but they are difficult to defend since why and how those numbers were produced is unknown. Additionally, many attribution models make false assumptions about your marketing / media investments, audiences reached, cost per acquisition, etc. The net is you need to own your own math for gravitas and confidence.

That being said, attribution models help with understanding relative performance of tactics, since the math is the same across assumptions — which in of itself is an assumption. But if you use pre-baked attribution to understand media or marketing performance, don’t use it outside the marketing organization. Use it to improve marketing programs within the marketing team. Again, marketing performance management isn’t about accuracy but about consistency to drive understanding of what’s delivering business outcomes.

Key #3: 3 Layered Approach is a Must

Managing marketing performance reporting at scale requires three deliverables: data collection / normalization; assumptions / analytics engine; and reporting / dashboard / visualizations.  To select technology effectively, align your selection process to this approach. That is, you need to select the best-of-breed for each deliverable area.

As I’ve discussed before there is a 3×6 framework we use at TBM for technology selection. Marketing Reporting is no different. There are 3 consideation groups: Enablement. These are the human elements of our decisions. Exploring People (e.g., skills) and Process (e.g., which tech most aligns to how we work); Technological. These are the requirements needed to deliver the outcomes we want. Looking at data and tech limitations. Lastly, we look at constraints focusing on our output needs (kind of reporting, types of math, etc.) and budgetary and other financial constraints (e.g., terms). Charting this up for each level you will quickly be able to identify the right tool set for your company. 

What are your thoughts on considerations when selecting marketing reporting solutions? Share your thoughts on The Buzz Community.