We just started August which means it’s Proof Report season at Digital Pudding. Every one of our clients receives a Proof Report every month. These simple documents you’ll only find in The Pudding are part itemized invoice, part idealized strategy and part beautified statistics. Think of it as a summary of our work for the previous month along with analysis of the metrics we’re watching and what we plan to do next.
Proof Reports generally have three parts: What We Accomplished, Proof Points and Next Steps. The first is retrospective, looking back at what happened. Proof Points are established as markers we want to monitor for progress. These could be things like web traffic, ad conversions and, of course, sales. Next steps are always offered as a way to improve on what we saw last month.
Here are some of the ways Proof Reports help us and our clients figure out how well their marketing is working and what we can do to make it better.
Marketing Insights at Regular Intervals
Many marketers look at their clients’ numbers one of three times:
- When a campaign launches
- When a campaign ends
- When there’s a problem
We’re looking at the numbers at least once a month, regardless of campaign status or success. We want to know what’s actually happening, where things are working best and where we can improve. We can figure out if all our initiatives are worth it or if we need to shift gears. And we provide our thinking to you in a neat little report.
It’s not just the top-line insights that are so valuable either. It’s the numbers behind the numbers. Why did sales increase? On what days did traffic spike? Who are the people responding to our ad? By diving into the stats, we’re uncovering more and more information that can tell us where to go next.
This commitment to reporting the numbers every month also gives us insights we otherwise might have missed. Every day at Digital Pudding is filled with various tasks that could make us lose sight of our client goals. By coming back each month to assemble a Proof Report, we refocus on the goals for each client to make sure we’re still on target. If we fall off, we recalibrate and hit it twice as hard.
Accountability for All Marketing Activity
By sticking to Proof Reports every month, we create a high standard to which we need to be held every month. We need to beat the previous month. We do that through new ideas, hard work and a commitment to success. Knowing that next month’s report will show what we did this month makes us all work a little harder.
In fact, if we can’t fill out a Proof Report for a client, we sometimes give them a credit on services (depending on where we’re at with the client, pre or post launch, etc). Basically it’s saying, “There’s not enough activity to bill you this month, so it’s on us.” That’s transparent, accountable marketing at work.
New Idea Generation
Since each month we need to think about what’s next for every client, we’re forced to come up with new and fresh ideas that are worth pursuing. Those next steps become our blueprint for the next month and beyond, holding us to new initiatives that may otherwise have gotten lost in the daily communication stream.
It really is more of a privilege than an obligation. We’re always thrilled when we know we have a new set of challenges that need to be overcome in new and novel ways. Setting up brainstorming this way pushes us to be more creative, though.
Ideas still come to us all the time, often at random. Having a Proof Report just gives us that opportunity to aggregate everything and bundle new ideas into an easily digestible package while also coming up with the strategy behind an idea.
“Pudding” the Proof Report to Work for You
We know many marketing companies do indeed provide regular reporting. However, a lot of it is top level stuff. We dive deep into the numbers behind the numbers to come up with new working theories and insights that other companies could miss. That’s what puts the Proof in the Pudding.
You too can get this same level of deep analysis. Ask us for a sample of a Proof Report to see for yourself the level of detail into which we delve, or you could simply talk to us and we’ll put together a plan to hit the Proof Points that are important for your business.