Marketing taken seriously?!
Current perception of marketing all too often is inextricably linked to advertising, branding and creativity. For marketing’s declining reputation to be improved, it increasingly needs accountability and a closer link to tangible business benefits and financial objectives. This was the key finding of recent award-winning research by Verhoef and Leeflang of Groningen University, the Netherlands.
As new, promising kid on the marketing block, social media need to be accompanied by tangible ROI to be taken seriously by senior decision makers. As Calibrero’s Ewald Jozefzoon illustrates, sometimes ROI in social media seems to be replaced by eg ROE. Return on Engagement is defined as “the measurement of involvement in social media based on online interactions and relationships.”
Hard or soft ROI
It’s better, ‘cause it’s new. Isn’t that almost how some fast movers promote their new toothpastes, washing powders and detergents? As new element in the marketingmix, web 2.0 or social media are receiving an ever-widening audience and bigger attention. And a lively discussion is emerging as to how to measure their actual business benefits.
Tech Crunchies take the softer ROE stance, emphasizing the need for social media engagement and relative lack in control of who one reaches, when. In a recent blogpost they do include a handy overview of ‘All Social Media statistics and Facts’ that, quite consistently, largely falls in the ROE segment as well.
Even @equalman | Erik Qualman, emphasizes the value of Socialnomics predominantly in terms of means or inputs rather than business and monetary ends. He thereby confirms that social media in essence embody a new, highly successful channel, intelligence and communications instrument with a phenomenonal penetration speed.
Value of social media
Don’t get me wrong. I love social media as – depending on the time of day – the digital 2.0 equivalent of an inspiring newspaper or an Irish pub. I equally welcome trials and experiments in social media to separate best from worst practices and to refine its discipline. From that perspective, I’m inclined to supporting the notion by @MktgROIorDIE that “many of the activities of creating soft ROI are often stepping stones in achieving hard ROI.”
Over the next months and moving into 2010 I will be trying to uncover best practices in B2B, resulting in a tangible, measurable financially-sound ROI. I will also be keen to jointly discovering new insights to properly/ best (re)defining the return of social media. This might refer to either improving a company’s bottomline by leveraging cost efficiencies or its top line growth. And, with the relatively smaller customer base in B2B, what tangible contribution is the adoption of social media bringing to enhancing customer lifetime value? Your feedback, suggestions and experiences are highly appreciated!