Interpreting Digital ROI to Manage Expectations

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Interpreting Digital ROI to Manage Expectations

Sales — Every client’s marketing goal!

How do we get there?

Before the Internet era, marketing was far simpler. You hired an advertising agency and gave them a yearly budget for ads, print and media. They were expected to allocate the funds accordingly and the results were examined based on subscribers or viewers. The company’s marketing department calculated ROI and shared the campaign results. There was only that one standard practice; results were understood and accepted.

In today’s digital marketplace with the advent of integrated marketing, measuring campaign digital ROI is far more complicated. For starters each activity supports another: Social Media, Email, PPC campaigns, Public Relations, Search Ranking all tie-in to each other. On which activity do you put more weight?

Other concerns include understanding the amount of data generated and how the digital media campaigns tie-in with regular offline campaigns.

ROI is often unique to each organization based on how they recognize revenue. Some companies accept user impressions as a metric, others want customer engagements to feel that a campaign is successful. One thing is certain, all companies want sales and the sooner the better.

So how do you find a happy medium?

Every company has a different vision. It is a good idea to find out from the start what exactly your prospective client is looking for in terms of ROI. Manage expectations by being candid and offer what you think you can deliver in a timely fashion.

It is normal for marketing departments to want to show instant success and to justify an advertising agency’s fee. Integrated marketing offers many opportunities for futuristic marketing and out of the box solutions. These options create the expectation that sales will sky rocket. But often times all you are getting is brand exposure. Let’s not even discuss the 5 successful brands that have gotten great acclaim by investing in digital media. This makes for many gray areas and leaves many companies disillusioned.

So how do I determine my ROI?

Here is an analogy: You have a house and are selling it for what you think is the right price. The real estate agent has a very different point of view from yours where pricing is concerned. You disagree and move forward. No offers are forthcoming and you wonder why? The truth is that buyers are setting their own price, they have already determined what they will pay for the house. The same happens in digital media, consumers have determined what they want from you and your products. They have made the decisions. Some will buy, some will “like”, some will need a gentle reminder. How do you keep track of all of the above?

First set very realistic expectations. Before you hire a digital marketing agency, determine with your marketing and sales department your financial goals. Be very clear and specific with all parties.

  • Is it to double your sales?
  • Is it to just build brand awareness?
  • Or a combination of both?

Each goal requires a different strategy. Again, this seems so obvious but sometimes, many departments in a company work independently from one another. To get the best results, especially in this day and age, synchronization between all departments is a must. It also helps to trust your decision. Digital marketing is a bit like the stock market. Accept a budget and let it go to work for you. Like anything else, this takes time.

Then you are ready to be very specific with your outside agency to achieve these goals.

True ROI is complicated. At best, you may only get a relative answer to what results were achieved. Even then it is just another number and unfortunately that’s what you may have to accept as a marketer. At the end of the day, the more you expose your product to an audience, the more you will get a gradual ROI.

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