Run The Numbers

Chris Brogan, blogger, speaker and President of “Boston’s Premier Social Marketing Agency,” lets math help guide his business decisions.
Yes, that stuff you endured in high school has real value.

I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking something I’m doing is really worthwhile, until I look at the number value of the things I’m doing. For instance, every time I fly somewhere, I effectively chew up 2-3 days. When I consider my earning potential for those three days, will it be better spent back at the office working on my projects, or will it be better spent in the field, drumming up new business and meeting new connections? The answer, obviously, is a mix. You have to do both to stay alive. But when I do the counting, I determine how many times away I’ll need, and how much time in the office I need, and try to reconcile my hours accordingly. I aim for a high score in productivity, but sometimes err on the side of networking.

I haven’t had math since 12th grade. Maybe that’s why I don’t often “do the math.” I certainly don’t do it here on AdPulp. If I did, the ledger would be a pitiful thing.
Let me tell you where I do “do the math.” When I work up an estimate for a client. Yet, even there, I’m ashamed by the degree of guess work that goes into it.
Prospecting is another important place to “do the math.” The more you prospect the better your chances of landing new business. Simple math.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.