In the late 90s I joined a Silicon Valley PR agency* that launched business to business technology companies. One of the job requirements was detailed end-of-month reporting. So after 300-400 hours of delivering client services each month, I spent one to three working days preparing reports. The goal: cost-justify retainer dollars.
"Makes sense," you're probably thinking, "that's what I'd want if I were investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in consultants."
Cost-justifying does make sense. But I was terrible at end of month reporting. Not all activities tied to a tangible result. I had gaps in my records. I guessed. And worse. And that was just at the individual level. Someone else had to roll individual reports together.
On paper we were sublimely efficient pitching drones.
And some months we did do great things. Great things like helping our client form a relationship with the chief analyst in their niche at Gartner Group. Like getting on the cover of Business 2.0. Like winning a plum speaking opportunity at a prestigious conference.
Other months, not so much.
If you were our client in say 1999, you'd have received long reports at the beginning of each month, recounting activity and results over the past 30 days.
And what would you have done with them? Scan them. Take the self-assessment with a grain of salt. And turn attention back to key performance indicators like deals forged with customers and VCs.
In essence, you would have waited weeks for a fox to give you a report about eggs in the hen house. Agencies controlled key information - and that information was power.
If you are our client today, you don't get glowing self-assessments about last month's activity. With the right marketing system in place, you can see marketing results pretty much in real time. You choose when you get what information about results, and you get the information directly - unvarnished.
- Have we succeeded in getting your book to market (like with Greg Carroll's Mastering 21st Century Enterprise Risk Management)? Look for referrals and conversions to starting increasing on the same day.
- Have we earned you press coverage (like Fiona helped Innovationship land in Forbes a couple of months back)? That will show up in good inbound links and an uptick in downloads and meeting requests, starting the hour the article appears.
- Did we help you make powerful landing pages and emails about a new video series (as with the When Will It Burst series produced by Jeff Hopkins)? You'll get a sense of click through rates within minutes of sending.
- Is a particular tweet or LinkedIn post getting shared by your prospects and clients?Likes and shares can happen in seconds...
Opt for extremely granular, as-it-happens reporting if you want. Or choose to get just the highest level of info once a month. Or set granularity and frequency anywhere in between.
So, the hen house is clear acrylic now. The fox has disappeared. And us chickens can concentrate on the real work: laying eggs.
* No longer around