A farmer sits over his worn wooden kitchen table ruminating. The thought of staring down the baking sun through another season of drought has him willing to make a change. Yesterday he visited two mystics who both advertised their ability to make it rain.
The first sat on his stoop and said only: “Pay me. I’ll make it rain.” His fee was large, but not immodest.
The farmer followed the second mystic through a sprawling observatory as he inspected instruments, scrawled in log books, weaving through a ballet of assistants. He never paused a moment as he described tracking wind direction, temperatures, millimeters of mercury, and rattled off twice as many names for “cloud” than the farmer had ever heard. He showed the farmer charts and tables of labor hours, equipment costs, and projections of “key performance indicators”. His advertised fee was a fraction of the first mystic’s.
Neither guaranteed results.
The first said “We’ll have to work together and experiment. The same things don’t work every time, you know. But we’ll know we succeeded when it rains.” Skeptical, the farmer asked, “That’s it?”
“Nope. When you want to hire me again next year, the same proportion the rain increased, so shall my fee. And that’s the last time we’ll ever talk about money.” He thrust forth his smooth gnarled hand as contract.
The second led the farmer to a spacious office and pushed a thick inch of papers across the glass-topped desk.
“It’s a three year contract. These things take time, you know. If you flip to the Compensation Table on Page 14, Section 2, you’ll see how our pay only increases as each KPI is met. If we don’t meet the KPI’s, you only pay our base fee.”
The farmer tallied row after row in his head. The fee piled as high as mystic’s mountain of observations and figures.
“What if it doesn’t rain?” he asked.
The mystic frowned. He tilted his head then shook it. “No, no, no; too many things can affect whether it rains. Didn’t I explain how our proven system works? The KPI’s are a far more precise measurement.”
You are the farmer. Take a look at your marketing.
Are you counting rain and paying for results, or paying folks to stare at the clouds?