Every marketing discussion doesn’t end without mention of ‘How will this bring in ROI?’ It’s like the awful tasting dessert placed on your table after you have finished the main course. If you have your projections worked out before the meeting chances are you will walk out like a boss. Discussions don’t go well if either parties don’t have an agreement on what ROI driven marketing means to them.

Who & what decides whether the campaign has succeeded or failed? A true-blue marketer would make sure that there is an agreement on the goal in the campaign brief. Agency has every right to question and seek an explanation from the client on the brief. For the agency, it’s like the priest asking ‘If you object to this marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace.’
 
Feel fortunate to have heard the term fewer times than my colleagues on the agency side. To those preaching the value of ROI-driven marketing. If you don’t spend a dime on marketing and you a generate a sale will you term it as 100% ROI?
 
Marketers have an obsession with vanity metrics & usage of ROI. It’s the notion that everything in this world is binary and you will be able to put a number in front of every activity. It’s like a B2B company choosing not to put up a sign board outside its office as it doesn’t fit into their ROI driven marketing strategy. We have to move away from vanity metrics to actionable metrics. The focus has to shift from ROI to Revenue Per Employee.
 
While we can get into details of everything, that’s wrong with ROI & its usage. For conclusion, we decided to pose the same question to marketers.

ROI is a funny term, easy to put a meaning to, but very hard to understand, even harder to calculate. In a world where direct marketing, branding & social work together, it is hard to calculate ROI of those individual marketing efforts, marketing is a team sport, there are no MVPs.

Ravi Vyas, Founder –  Pure Metrics

While some campaigns can be media-led to achieve sales targets, pure social should focus on building engagement and in the long run NPS. It’s all about offering ‘consistent and memorable experiences’ to our TG in this hyper-connected world and the brands who get this are remembered both online, and also when they’re standing in front of the store. A part of this is also catered by being responsive online and answering queries which could tilt the customer in your favor. How many brands look at that when they’re plotting their media spreadsheets? If your customers don’t talk about your supposedly cool products, then that’s an opportunity lost as they won’t influence their social circle, which wouldn’t be the case if the brand came across as a highly engaging, likeable brand and replies to you even at 11pm in the night. Coffee? So, it’s our constant endeavor to educate and inform our clients about emerging behavioral trends and set expectations right before we lock the ROI.

Arif Khan, Planning Director Digital, Cheil India.

Erstwhile digital marketing metrics like CPC, CTR has become a passe now. What marketers now focus are – a good quality lead (usually with 7-8 validation checks), high ticket conversion, repeat users (in the case of e-commerce), active users (in the case of app-based businesses), time taken to conversion etc. With the continuously evolving technology, it’s now feasible to track and measure every moment of truth in a consumer journey and hence the ROI metrics are well defined and measured across each stage of the journey. This is going to evolve further in future. So, no more digital marketing is going to be a talk of just impressions and clicks!

Anandan Pillai, Associate Director, Resultrix

Marketers are not magicians. If we are talking about absolute numbers, each marketers will have their own way of expressing that. Personally, I do believe that every marketing effort has to be accounted for. It can be attributed at various stages and can have a dollar number against it or even the engagement metrics. End of the day, the marketer has to know which efforts succeed, which needs focused investment and which ones need to be scrapped. I belong to the group that looks at vanity metrics holistically and not in silo. Map metrics to customer journey and see how you can convert them.

Malhar Barai, Group Manager, Tech Mahindra

What are your thoughts on ROI driven marketing? Do share them in the comments sections. If you have any feedback on the blog or the article, share them in the comments section.