Industry: Educational publishing
Size: 250+ employees
Product: Supermetrics for Google Sheets
Heinemann is a publishing company that specializes in professional development resources and services for teachers, including books, in-classroom materials, and workshops. Based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Erik Ickes is Director of Digital Marketing and owns everything to do with their website and web reporting. Erik leads Heinemann’s Web Marketing team and works alongside the two leaders of their Social Media team and their Inbound team to ensure their marketing operations are running smoothly. One of their responsibilities includes creating and preparing their monthly marketing report for Heinemann’s CEO, who presents it to their parent company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
At the heart of Heinemann’s tech stack is HubSpot, which the team uses for both marketing and sales. But with many other third-party tools in their stack, they ran into reporting challenges since they needed to combine all their data in one central place – their CEO’s report. This case study will explain how Heinemann has overcome this challenge to centralize their marketing data, eliminate several hours of manual work every month, and automate their HubSpot reporting.
Heinemann’s old process for marketing reporting
Before using Supermetrics, Heinemann’s reporting process involved a lot of manual work. Erik explains that, “The three of us all had a calendar reminder set for the second or third day of the month and we’d all go in to a Google Sheet and add our monthly numbers. Once we were done, our designer would go into the doc – which often meant chasing us down to get it done – and she’d manually take things out of the spreadsheet and put them into a PowerPoint doc. Once she had the data in PowerPoint, she’d manually build the bar graphs and charts we wanted to ensure it looked good.”
In terms of the metrics Heinemann’s marketing team were using in their reports, Erik says that, “We were taking engagement numbers from Facebook & Twitter for social. For web it was sessions, pageviews, and landing page submissions from HubSpot, which was then combined with transactions and transaction revenue. I don’t want to report purely on vanity metrics like page views; I want to report on things like average time on site and post-purchase access to companion materials. However, we had to keep the data very basic since it was all manual and no one wanted us to spend a whole day doing this.”
Of the additional challenges, Erik adds that, “This is something we had to go through every month. The slides our CEO presented didn’t look great and I felt they were a little boring. No one had complained, but as the people who needed to present the data, we weren’t happy with the set up. But perhaps the biggest issue was the time. All of these reports should be instantly accessible and they definitely weren’t. If someone said ‘The CEO’s coming and needs this kind of report urgently’, we’d need to scramble to get it ready. We wanted instant access to our performance data and we also wanted more depth to our numbers.”
All these challenges led Erik and the Heinemann team to look for a better reporting solution.
From manual reports to automated reports
In September 2019, Erik took a trip from his native New Hampshire to Boston, MA for HubSpot’s INBOUND conference. There, he met the Supermetrics team, who had just announced their new integration with HubSpot. As a user of one of Supermetrics’ original products, Data Grabber, Erik was pretty excited to discover he could now bring all his marketing & sales data, including HubSpot, into spreadsheets and dashboarding platforms. “At INBOUND I found the Supermetrics team at their booth and discovered their new HubSpot connector. After discussing with their team, I realized this could help us fix our reporting too,” Erik says.
The Heinemann marketing team have now been using Supermetrics to blend their HubSpot data with other marketing data to create a new CEO report. Erik explains that, “With Supermetrics we’re pulling data from three primary sources: Google Analytics, HubSpot, and Google Ads. For our report we now have a new slide with four quadrants, which are leads, engagement, awareness, and sales. With the Supermetrics connector for HubSpot, we’re pulling in various funnel metrics including emails sent, CTRs, landing page submissions, and leads passed to reps. We’re blending those with web analytics numbers including page views, average time on site, and companion material access, as well as social engagement.”
The Impact of Supermetrics on Heinemann’s business
This new reporting set up has allowed Heinemann’s marketing team to make better use of all their available data to build better reports and improve operating efficiency. Erik says that, “Since using Supermetrics with HubSpot, I can pull data and crunch it together. It’s super quick and easy. If you add up all the time saved compared to our old process, it would be about 5-6 hours per month and that’s not including the time we’ve saved our designer. Now our reports are created in the time it takes you to open up a Google Sheet and hit refresh.”
Supermetrics has also given Erik and the team the opportunity to dig much deeper and create highly-granular reports. “Google Analytics limits you to one metric and two dimensions in a custom report, so it’s very limiting. In the past, if I wanted to stack metrics and split it with a bunch of dimensions, such as understanding sales performance in a certain region of Texas, it was almost impossible. Now we can blend all our data to get these levels of insight, which is great,” Erik adds.
As for next steps, Erik explains that, “Our next step is to create marketing scorecards for each team. Then we’ll do one for each product line and individual products so we can create a scorecard for each book where we’ll have timelines of sales that ties-in in other initiatives, like PPC campaigns or social pushes. And because of Supermetrics, we can deliver this report in a matter of seconds. This means we can answer questions like ‘does sending an email three months before or one month before a new launch improve book sales?’ From here we’ll find better ways of how we can market our products. And since we’re in a highly seasonal business, we’ll be better able to manage summer vacations, when things are often very quiet.”
And Supermetrics will be part of Heinemann’s journey, with Erik stating that, “Once people discover Supermetrics, you realize it’s the greatest thing ever and you think, how did we live without it?”
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