Presenting underperforming digital marketing reports is an unpleasant yet necessary task

Opening Reportei in the first week of the month and being faced with low-performing reports is a little frustrating (hello, stats highlighted in red!). We get it.  

Even though you are up to speed on everything and know exactly why that poor result is there, you’re hit with a feeling of dread when you think of how to inform your clients.

Will they see it as an unusual, one-off occurrence? Or will they think that their marketing investment is going down the drain?  

Of course, it all depends on how you present those results. So, we’ve put three tips together in this article to help you inform your client or decision-maker about low-performing reports. Keep reading to check them out!

Low-performing reports: Negative results are not the end of the world

First, it’s worth remembering that marketing strategies aren’t perfect. Getting only positive results or seeing growth in all your reports is very difficult.

After all, actions are based on a plan, test, miss/hit, analyze, and get back to planning, cycle. That cycle helps us gauge the best course of action for reaching the goals of our clients. 

If you are in charge of that cycle, you’re halfway to knowing how to get around difficult situations and being able to explain them to your decision-maker.

Many factors might also lead to poor results, such as a pricier ad or a lower budget. It doesn’t have to mean the end of the world every time growth or decline rates show up in red.

Metrics exist, in principle, to help marketing professionals work more strategically. 

So, even when they don’t show that campaign result you’ve been expecting all month, try seeing them as open doors that will lead your future actions to success.

Low-performing reports: three tips to help you manage the situation

First, we can’t stress enough that when it comes to presenting underperforming reports, your communication must be objective, and above all, honest.

As sensitive as it may be, beating around the bush or coming up with wonderful excuses is riskier than explaining exactly what happened, why things were done, and what solutions you can put into place for the future.

Below, we’ll give you three tips to show you how to do that, as well as which features of Reportei can help you!

1. Put results into context

You probably already know what led to that low-performing report. However, those reasons might not be as clear to your client (even though you’ve been touching base regularly on the project progress).

That’s why the first step is to know how to put those results into context. Get to the root of the problem and identify what it was that caused those low figures. Then, put it into words, whether in the open analysis of the report or your regular meetings.  

If you haven’t scheduled a meeting but still would like to present results differently, you could attach videos to the report. That will allow you to bring each point to your client’s view in a more humanized, customized way.

If you want to go beyond metrics, you can activate the Marketing Timeline. That’s where you can create a history with all the actions you performed related to the project.

If your client can access that document, it will be easier to contextualize, aligning reports to campaigns, decisions, and, of course, specific issues that led to poor performance.

2. Offer solutions to the problem

Mistakes and problems happen all the time. But what will make you stand out in these situations is how capable you are of solving issues and learning from them for the future.

So, before you even speak to your client about the underperforming report, you need to reflect on the paths you might possibly follow based on those results.

In the last topic, we talked about putting the issue into context first. Once you’ve done that, the next move is to inform your client about what steps to take based on discussion or planning with your team. You can do this in written form, through a video, or a meeting.

This step is essential for the client to trust your work and be aware that you care about their success.

Also, give your decision-maker room to ask questions, expose opinions and contribute to the project. After all, no one understands their business better than they do, right?

3. Use the Sandwich Technique, if possible

Did you know that the order in which you present good and bad news can make a difference in how the client/decision-maker takes the information?

Many businesses use the Sandwich Technique, for instance, to give feedback. The idea is to present problems between two pieces of good news so that whoever is receiving it will not be unpleasantly surprised at the beginning of a meeting. Nor will you run the risk of their feeling unmotivated at the end of it.  

In our underperforming report scenario, you can also adapt this technique when telling your client about positive results, balancing them with points they need to improve.

You might show your client results of high-performing social media, then show them the negative results of another. Finally, go over the solutions to the problem. That’s a great way to use this technique and reassure your client. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s always successful. You should evaluate every case to know when it’s appropriate to use, as people won’t always take information the same way. 

Reportei’s reports give you the freedom to customize templates, for the very purpose of adapting to the needs of your clients and to the best way of informing them about positive or negative results.

So, you can use this feature to both apply the Sandwich Technique and other efficient project strategies.

But remember, honesty and your capability of offering solutions will always play the most important role in the process.

Did you like reading our tips on how to inform your clients about low-performing reports? Then share your suggestions from the methods your company or agency uses in the comments!

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