Thursday, July 10, 2008

Show Me The Money

One of the things I love most about our industry (marketing and public relations) is the total lack of standardization.  I am warning you right now to save your emails about PRSA standards.

As I indicated in my last entry, our industry is WAY over the top with talk about ROI (return on investment).  And much of that talk is being driven by social media/marketing, where it is popular to contend that measurement is much easier and more reliable.

Let's begin with a definition of ROI.  There are so many to choose from, but they all basically say the same thing: "The profit or loss resulting from an investment transaction, usually expressed as an annual percentage return." This particular definition is brought to you by Cisco (why not?).

[It's something very personal, a very important thing. Hell! It's a family motto. Are you ready Jerry? I wanna make sure you're ready, brother. Here it is: Show me the money. SHOW! ME! THE! MONEY! Jerry, it is such a pleasure to say that! Say it with me one time, Jerry.]

ROI is not about touchy-feely stuff.  It's not about creating traffic or increasing awareness levels.  It's not about engaging customers in conversations that lead to trial.  

ROI is about money.  You spend X amount and get Y return (minus the X investment) and that (in broad-sweeping, unacceptable accounting terms) tells you your gain or loss.

At the moment, to my knowledge - and I am fully prepared to stand corrected - NO ONE can tell you the ROI of social media/marketing.  Yet everyone insists on talking about ROI.  For example, the  Bulldog Reporter is actively promoting its July 16 Webcast Tutorial: Social Media Measurement for PR: How to Measure the ROI of Blogs and All Things Web 2.0.


I absolutely guarantee you that you will not learn how to determine the monetary return on your blog investment.  Not gonna happen.  Still, I would not discourage you from attending as you may learn lots of valuable information about social media and "measurement."

[You are hanging on by a very thin thread and I dig that about you! ]

The motivation is sound.  The intention is good.  But I think we are doing our industry a major disservice by purporting to provide clients with an ROI when what we are really doing is documenting deliverables, monitoring/tracking activities, reporting results and evaluating the meaning.

Tell me I am wrong; I am listening.  But I have yet to read a single case study that accounts for tangible dollars.  That's all I am saying.  

If we are not showing actual ROI, then let's not call it ROI.  Let's be honest.

[I am out here for you. You don't know what it's like to be ME out here for YOU. It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, ok? ]

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