Discussing the return on investment, or ROI, from digital marketing efforts is an essential and challenging aspect of my role as a Business Development Executive. The ability to demonstrate ROI for most marketing activities can been a challenge. The advantage of digital marketing, unlike a radio spot or an ad in the Sunday paper, is that the tracking and measurement capability can be embedded in the digital media itself. Email tracking, social media, pay per click, tagging and web analytics all provide a digitized stream of intelligence that can be gathered, sorted and analyzed for optimization and the measurement of ROI. In fact, a Pay Per Click campaign will add itself up for you! So why is the conversation around ROI still challenging?
There are many times that I am introduced to clients when they have already decided that they need a new website, an email marketing campaign, social media strategy or some other glorious investment that will save, launch or augment their brand. The prospect has a budget number in mind and has issued an proposal request or is looking to gather pricing and proposals from various agencies. You would expect most people in my position to be excited about finding an opportunity with some urgency behind it, but I really enjoy creating the solutions that solve business challenges, streamline processes and increase brand awareness and sales. Solutions like that provide ROI.
One aspect I use to gauge the ROI potential of new business opportunities is the prospects approach to their digital marketing project. To me, the clients approach has an impact on whether I can propose a solution that:
- Can produce ROI
- Can be executed by both the client and the agency
- Can be projected
- Can be measured
Sometimes clients approach various elements of digital marketing silos. They must have a website or social media presence for credibility these days. Maybe they will use it as a place to easily provide information about products and services. Maybe they will even implement ecommerce. Yet, despite the many functional areas of a business that a digital marketing strategy could enable, websites and other components of a comprehensive strategy are too-often implemented in a stand-alone fashion. Just another element of the corporation with a similar look, accurate information and a “Contact Us” form longing to be submitted. Consistency alone doesn’t build multi-channel strength.
In contrast, digital marketing elements that provide return on investment are tightly integrated with the various business functions they could serve and the business and marketing plans that guide them. Integrated digital marketing solutions such as this take time, pain staking discovery and open communication with stakeholders from different departments throughout the client’s organization. Just like this blog post, the first conversation is just the beginning!