How to Write a Trend Report
Trend reports, sometimes referred to as market analyses, are used to analyze your marketing strategies before, during and after you initiate them. A trend report can tell you where your message is being heard and who’s hearing it, how it is affecting sales and where marketing efforts need to change. To write the report, rely on statistics, surveys, electronic analytics and sales figures.
Begin With Insights
Write a summary at the beginning of your trend report. Write at least a paragraph highlighting the conclusions of your analyses and how they affect the business. Unlike other reports, put the synopsis at the beginning of the trend report, giving readers a point of reference for the rest of the report and an explanation of how the supporting data impact the bottom line and your marketing suggestions. Use plain English that the readers easily can comprehend to write the opening summary.
Define Your Data
Write complete descriptions of the tools you used to reach your trend conclusions, which should follow the synopsis. Highlight with bullet points which customer segments you surveyed, for example, which Web analytical tools you used to come up with your figures or what questions you asked customers in a telephone survey. Use an outline format to separate timelines, market characteristics and software tools with bulleted items underneath each highlighted subject.
Once your reader understands the processes involved in your analyses and what parameters guided your research, the charts you integrate in your report become clear. Provide a headline with each chart and clearly label the elements of the chart so their meanings are evident. Specify the periods your report covers in comparison to the key performance indicators. Use overlaying lines on the charts to give clients a representation of comparisons to highlight the trends. Rely on color coding for easy recognition of the different aspects of the charts.
Tie It All Together
Use bold headings to highlight your findings and recommendations. Give each recommendation one paragraph consisting of two or three sentences to explain the section. Include a heading that explains the charts. Use columns to express the comparison studies and what they revealed. Financial impact charts should be included in the final portion of the report. Finally, close the report with bulleted recommendations in the order of importance.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."