Everything I Know About Partnerships, I Learned From The Wizard of Oz


Len Lamberg is an Interactive Account Manager here at Top Floor, he is responsible for matching up Top Floor capabilities with clients' needs.  We asked him what it takes to make this kind of partnership work to make sure the clients are happy and their businesses are growing.  He told us he could tell us everything, then he proceeded to tell it to us four different ways! This is part three in his series. Catch up on part one & part two

Wizard of Oz: Do you presume to criticize the Great Oz? You ungrateful creatures. Think yourselves lucky that I'm giving you an audience tomorrow, instead of 20 years from now.

The big mistake that the people in the Emerald City made was thinking that Wizard knew something special, something that they couldn't know themselves.

It's the same in business.  In fact, some businesses encourage thinking that they are the only folks who could possibly understand what they do.  "Don't ask how we make the sausage," they'll say.  "Leave it all to us."

So we wound up in a world where no one knows how to fix a car, do any kind of home repair; take charge of our own health care.  We've left it all to the Experts, waiting for them to hand us solutions on their time, their way, at their price.

Many businesses are guilty of that.  It started out when we said that no one but copywriters could wordsmith an ad, or only designers could do a layout.  It's only become worse as marketing has shifted from ads in magazines, brochures and mailing pieces to the digital world.  Where clients used to be involved with proofs and mailing lists - things you could touch - now everything is online.  Clients take one look at a "TCP/IP for Dummies" book and then turn it all over to us.

That's crazy, especially in a world where Inbound Marketing rules.

Our clients thrive in an Emerald City of their own: a community where sharing solutions and new ideas is common.  It's where customers and prospects browse for solutions and information.  They are finding details on how to solve a problem, or a new idea. 

There are things to look out for down that Yellow Brick Road, and clients know that. Occasionally, they're giving a competitor a glimpse of the secret recipe, giving them a list of the seventeen herbs and spices.  But they also know that that's how they show the world that they're leaders, and that, as soon as a competitor tries to copy them, they're already on the way to making something even greater.  Copycats always play catch up.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

Oh, for heavens sake.  Go ahead and look. 

We share what we do to the greater community through blog postings like these.  If you find something you can use on your own, that's fine.  We live in that same world, sharing and collaborating.

We're happy to teach clients the ins and outs of Google Analytics, Adwords campaigns and more.  (And we're happy to teach you, too.  Please call!)  For one thing, that's just how we roll.  For another thing, as we teach clients about our business, we're learning more about theirs.  It's called a Partnership, and it helps us constantly fine-tune the work we're doing.

For our clients, we provide a detailed look at projects completed and time spent:

  • We share files and messages with clients using "Basecamp."  That software, now in its third generation, makes it easy to view documents and recall past discussions.
  • Every month, we give recurring clients a snapshot of traffic to their website and activity on Goal Conversions.  Goal Conversions are actions that site visitors take that are important to us:  like requesting a quote or downloading a white paper.  We also document everything we did to help grow the client's business during the previous month.
  • Every six months, we have a Strategy Review.  That's a meeting (in-person, by phone or online with GoToMeeting) where we take a more in-depth look at results.  We confirm that our search strategy aligns with the customer's business goals, and we look to the future to spell out what we plan to do next.
  • We use a project management software package called 'Liquid Planner.' It's mostly for internal use, but Interactive Account Managers can look at it at any time and give you a clear idea of project checkpoints and deadlines.

Oh, and one last thing about the Wizard.  In the end, he stopped being unapproachable and opened up to friends.  He saw something in each of them that they hadn't recognized themselves:  Brains, Courage, Heart and Home.  What he showed them was a solution that had been available to them all along, but which they could only find after some guided searching.

And when he did that, he became a True Wizard.

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