So, you’ve finally launched your first campaign using marketing automation software.

Now what?

If this describes you, then you already understand the benefits of investing in this technology to streamline and automate integrated marketing campaigns. The challenge comes when you have to communicate the campaign’s key learnings back to your boss and leadership team.

No matter how successful your campaign was (or wasn’t), there are important outcomes you should pay attention to in order to improve and showcase the value marketing automation tools can provide to your business.

We outlined our recommendations for creating a bulletproof report that you can provide to your leadership team.

It’s all about the data

Showcasing the results of the campaign alone without putting them into context won’t be enough. Simply put: Don’t just provide a spreadsheet or a few slides with some numbers. Let others know you’ve thoroughly examined the data by including the following elements in your report:

 – Executive summary: Include the biggest takeaways and show how they align with your company’s overall business objectives (this is what your leadership team wants to see). This will properly set up the story of your campaign, bring attention to the most important metrics and cut to the chase for those who may not read the entire report. It’s tempting to include a lot of detail here, but keep it short and sweet.

– Established benchmarks: If this is the first campaign you’ve run, the goals you set initially were, most likely, an educated guess. The good news: Now you have real results to measure against next time you run a campaign. Also include insight as to why you believe the results turned out this way.

– The impact of all channels: Highlight the value of each individual channel— supported by data—and how they worked together in your campaign’s workflow to produce desired results. This will put to rest any speculation that certain channels are not effective, or confirm that some aren’t necessary. It will also bring light to behavioral patterns.

Use visuals to tell a story

Showing is better than telling.

And a great way to do this is to capture screen shots from your marketing automation tool’s dashboard. If you don’t like the way your tool shows the data, take the time to create your own.

Remember: Visual data is processed 60,000 times faster than text, and 65% of your audience is visual learners. So if you’re trying to reinforce a point, this is a great way to do it.

Not sure what to show? Start with a new lead’s timeline, where you can see the path the individual took from the first time they interacted with your offer to the point where they dropped off. This can be incredibly insightful and help you understand what else that lead may be interested in based on their behavior.

Insights and actions

What did you learn? How will you improve in the future?

Get ahead of these questions by ending your report with the answers to these questions. Capture or restate the biggest takeaways (insights), and provide a clear next step (actions).

This doesn’t necessarily have to relate to your next campaign. For example: We recently learned, from one of our own campaigns, that new leads often visited our blog page. This quickly drove our attention to what posts individuals read and the topics that were of interest. Pay attention to behavior like this and evaluate what it means for your overall content marketing strategy.

What metrics does your boss or leadership team find impactful in your reports? Let us know on Twitter.