According to a report by The Fournaise Marketing Group, 80% of CEOs don’t trust marketers. Ouch.

And, if that wasn’t bad enough, the report also found that CEOs think:

  • 78% of marketers “lose sight of what their job is: to generate more customers/demand for their products or services.”
  • 75% of marketers don’t understand what’s meant by “ROI” or “performance”.

Historically, one of the biggest contributors to this distrust by CEOs has been the lack of insights to justify both the time and spend on marketing. CEOs are looking for numbers that show the impact you’re having on revenue for the company, and not the click-through rate of email campaigns or keyword ranking fluctuations. So, with your marketing meeting coming up, you may want to step up your game by building out a comprehensive report that highlights the progress that has been made over the past four weeks by your team. What metrics have you been tracking? What does your CEO want to see from the marketing team each month? How can you clearly demonstrate that you’re having a measurable impact on the business by bringing in more leads and sales each month?

It can be challenging to find the correct balance between divulging data about every digital marketing channel and campaign you have been working on versus what your CEO will find useful. According to AdAge, CEOs are increasingly looking for conversion-based metrics. With this in mind, the objective of your report is to prove using data that you helped to generate ‘X’ amount of traffic, which in turn lead to ‘Y’ number of leads, and ultimately led to ‘Z’ sales for the business. If you can do that each time you meet management, you will face fewer challenges with securing a promotion, getting a budget request approved, and adding more people to your team.


The nitty-gritty details of what has worked and what has not will always be critical to the person responsible for managing the digital marketing team. They need to be aware of things such as keyword ranking fluctuations, the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) for each channel, how well particular content pieces are performing, and much much more. Keeping on top of what’s happening both within the company as well as in the competitor landscape is part and parcel of any digital marketing manager’s job. However, when reporting to the CEO, they are generally only concerned with answers to the following four basic questions:

  1. How much money are we spending?
  2. How many people are we reaching through our digital marketing efforts?
  3. What impact has our digital marketing efforts had in the past month/quarter?
  4. What is the return on our spend for this period?

If you want to be an effective and respected digital marketing manager, you need to be able to answer these four questions. One of the easiest ways to do this is by providing a short top-level report that highlights the data most important to senior management.

In the table above, each row helps to answer one of the four key questions that you can expect senior management to have.

  1. Amount Spent: in some companies, it can be difficult for marketers to get the budget they require from management to spend on digital marketing campaigns. Your report needs to show how carefully you’re managing the budget by reporting on the spend for the past month.
  2. Website Visitors: how many people have you reached in the past month through your marketing efforts? While this figure could be considered a vanity metric as it doesn’t directly impact business goals, it’s still useful to see how many people have interacted with your website for a given period.
  3. New Leads & New Customers: how many people have shown interest in your product or services and then went on to become a customer? These figures will clearly show management the impact you’re having on the success of the business.
  4. Cost Per Lead & Cost Per Customer: Sure, generating more leads and more customers is important for any company, but not if the cost starts to spiral out of control. Reporting on this figure each month will help to provide insights into what campaigns or tactics have performed best for the company.

NOTE: If your company is selling a product or service that’s subject to seasonal change, you may find that the % MoM change figure to not be the best way to assess the performance of marketing campaigns. It’s best to add a % YoY change column to this report to provide better context on why there is a notable rise or fall in particular figures.

As a marketer, it’s easy to become distracted by the latest tool, platform, algorithm update or trend, so it’s worth remembering that your purpose is to generate demand for the business. You’re not there to build “followers”, “likes” or “shares” as those may be nice metrics to track, but how do they impact the business that has placed its trust in you?  Reporting on metrics that demonstrate the true investment that went into the marketing activities you performed will go some way towards building trust with the CEO.