If you’re a business looking to jump into data driven marketing for the first time, or simply improve your usage of your data and metrics, HubSpot is a great resource. Their free webinars and education materials are invaluable in starting your data driven journey.

We recently watched HubSpot’s Smart Reporting webinar, presented by Kipp Bodnar, Vice President of Marketing at HubSpot and Rachel Sprung, Head of Analytics Product Marketing at Hubspot, and wanted to share the best tips and content!


The presenters make a great point at the outset of the presentation in distinguishing between Analysis and Reporting. Analysis is used to plan or start change, conduct A/B tests, troubleshoot issues and optimize tactics while Reporting should be used to predict growth, share results, determine success of current strategies and democratize marketing data. Sometimes, it is easy to think of these two concepts as interchangeable, yet they both have distinct uses and should be applied and referred to in the proper context.

Bodnar then moves into the “what not to do’s” of reporting. I think everyone has probably been on the receiving end of a report that is so long and detailed that you might as well just look at the original data, as that would probably require about the same amount of time and effort. Bodnar emphasizes that you can not and should not report on every single metric and should not waste time creating reports that no one will need. You have to know your audience and know what they are looking for, and create reports based on those needs. If anyone creates reports that aren’t clear, concise and targeted to a specific audience then they’ve wasted everyone’s time.

In conjunction with the specific reports, you have to know your data. The reports will be worse than worthless if you don’t, because they’ll be wrong! The worst cases of lying reports are when the data has not been cleaned, the person reporting has no idea of how the variable or metric has been derived and created, the metric is meaningless or one size fits all metrics are used. In any of these cases, your report is most likely leading someone down the wrong path, and that someone could be you. Probably one of the worst, yet most common mistakes made, is not understanding how the metric is measured. If you don’t understand the metric, you could be using it to calculate or explain something completely unrelated. Or, worse, you could be using it in the right context, but the way it is calculated throws off the entire projection or report in a way that is extremely difficult to detect. If you haven’t caught it, chances are the person to whom you send the report will not catch it either leading to a host of issues, which we’ve seen in multiple projects here at the Taylor. Research, clean and understand your data before creating any type of report.

To accelerate and get the most out of this process, marketing automation software is key. Most, like HubSpot, provide basic reports plus the capability to build custom reports for anything you want. The report can be segmented by customer type, lead or previous behavior providing extremely granular data. This helps to speed up the process and can assist you in understanding your data, preventing some costly mistakes. Cross checking your different reports to “spot check” and make sure they all agree with one another in general can be a great way to head off any major mistakes.

Every company is going to make some mistakes along the way, especially in data and analytics, but hopefully you can avoid the major mistakes and can head off the issues from the start by understanding analysis and reporting and the content in your reports!

You can watch the full webinar here.

By: Sarah Wright

Edited: Vanja Djuric