And finally, when you are building a presentation, drafting a report, or anything that you would happen to be doing for your supervisor, you also have to flexible and understand their learning style. Some people are more visual, some more verbal, others have to read everything word for word to understand something. When you need to convey information to them, think of the best way they’ll absorb the information. The same technique can be applied to clients. If you want something approved or acknowledged, you have to share the information in the way best suited to them.
For a long time, we created these elaborate reports for online that included an excel spreadsheet with all of the data on it with a companion word doc full of analysis. We’d send it to clients hoping they’d read it and, instead, they’d want us to walk them through it. So what’s the point of writing everything out if they’re not going to read it for themselves? It became a huge time suck.
We then started working with a third-party ad server that could create power points directly from the data. Since clients always wanted us to present it, this made sense, right? Well, being too good to be true, there was so much tweaking involved because the power points provided too much information that didn’t apply to what the client was doing, and so it also became a time suck.
We had a new digital media director come in and shake some things up. She felt that if the client wants us to walk them through something, then it should be something simple that acts as a guide to goal completion. She called it a “flash report.” I got inspired. I started to think differently about the kind of information clients really needed to measure the effectiveness of a campaign and we’ve gotten to a point where we’re bringing a new level of intelligence to reporting for them. We’ll still do weekly nitty-gritty internal reports so we can make optimizations, but unless the client is a total online nerd, they have no idea nor care for that minutiae.
Now, with the new excel – their pivot tabling abilities have made flash report generation a breeze. It still takes a large number of hours (between 3 and 6 depending on the complexity of the data and the reporting) to develop the first one, but after that we can knock them out in a couple of hours for each update. And the way they’re laid out, a client can eyeball the report and tell how we’re doing. And then on the call we can walk them through any questions.
It’s actually very rewarding to see how far as a department we’ve come.