November 15, 2010

Return on What Investment?

Measurement is tricky business.

There seems to be more discussion about ROI in the last few years than in any time in history. Some may point to the economic reality, others may suggest it’s because social media are still as confusing as calculus.

Perhaps the issue for some business owners is that the social web requires sweat equity while the work on other media ends after the creative stage and once it's 'placed' it does the work for you.

How often do you or your manager measure the return on investment of mainstream channels? The issue is often tied to money and time.

We use the phrase “buying media” when discussing the big four traditional channels and things get pear-shaped when someone suggests that a LinkedIn group and a YouTube channel with a couple of videos do not a social media commitment make.

So you figure out your advertising budget and then go shopping.

You try and cut the best deal and cover as many bases as you can. Then you go on with running your business. Media does its job for you (or so you think). You are no longer necessary for the process to see itself through until perhaps a creative freshen or new schedule change need to be examined.

I would caution that hiring the least experienced person in the building or worst yet asking an intern to do it for free may be unwise. Ask yourself if you would trust this person with your next bank deposit before you hand over the keys of your brand to the new kid.

Anyone demanding ROI on social media requires a long honest look at what they are prepared to invest in order to get a measurable return. And we both know that investment is much more than what’s in your wallet.

What says you?

knealemann | email

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