Archives for posts with tag: accountability


I just attended a media conference. And I was shocked to realize that the digital industry is still stuck in the old accountability paradigm. Our standard ROI measure is still the difference between the cost of the campaign and the cost of reaching the same number of people in more conventional media.

That is not return on investment. It’s the kind of measurement that lead us almost to the financial abyss.

It’s silly accounting, just like the CDO’s, the derivatives and the other financial instruments that almost turned our economy into a barter society. The only metric that should count is the incremental profit that your marketing executions generated for your business.

Instead, we focus on silliness like click throughs, cost per impression, cost per action, page views, unique views, engagement rates.

Incremental Profit.

It seems to be a real challenge for marketer to measure incremental profit. Or, maybe they just focus on the wrong metric, on things that make no sense but can be aggregated fairly quickly.

I know, it’s hard to measure incremental profit. But it’s only the admission ticket to the big boy table, to talk business to the CEO. And not bright, shiny objects with the Marketing Manager.

Blame the addiction to accountability.

Accountability sounds great, doesn’t it? You can explain each penny you invested for your client, you can show wise use of the budget and explain what happened with all his money. It’s also a good way to show the client that you’re so much better in investing money compared to the other, wasteful agencies. The sad truth is that what you measure makes no difference. You’re just measuring efficiency, not the impact of advertising. That’s why we’re in this spiral of cheaper and quicker and more efficient. The race to the bottom, the race to the be the next forgettable commodity.

I’ve never met a CEO who cares how you spent his money.

They care if marketing has an impact on the bottom line. Did it make the business more profitable? Did it grow the business? Digital Marketing needs to get out of that hole (we all dug ourselves) to focus on efficiency. It’s about impact.

Here’s a question for you: Would you rather have no money wasted, deploy the most efficient campaign but have little impact? Or, would you rather waste 90% of your money, but the remaining 10% grow your overall business by 20%?


Nobody says you should waste a dime. But the addiction to accountability creates silly communication vehicles (ahem….Zynga) and burns so much money for clients, it’ s tragic. We develop brand fluff on all these social platforms and pointless display ads to make it even worse. Highly measurable, Excel spreadsheet adoptable and totally useless.

If you think that’s okay, keep on trucking. But, don’t expect anyone to take you seriously for one second. The real game is in changing the future of a brand, improving the balance sheet of a company. For that, we need a measurement intervention.


It’s a fact: companies have become more accountable because of Social Media. They can’t just hide behind mission statements, phone trees and corporate rules anymore. All of us should love that fact. Embrace it. And we should hold each company to the basic objective of being accountable and transparent.

It doesn’t mean, you shouldn’t be accountable for your own behavior.

The anonymity of the Social Web, the constant avalanche of information often leads to misinformation, skewed messages and subjective interpretations that aren’t based in reality. The need to be heard, retweeted and seen as a thought leader makes it even worse. So-called influentials (sanctioned by Klout silliness) waste all of our time discussing their bad product/service experiences, cheered on by the legions of followers and people that believe everything they say blindly. More importantly, companies waste a lot of time trying to keep these influentials happy and calm down the mob they tend to drag along. It’s easy for anybody now to start a rumor, to share a subjective customer service experience without having to face the consequences. There are always two sides to a story but we tend to hear only one side and immediately blame the corporation.

Recruit your own army of loyal followers

Facing an army of followers as a solitary brand will never end pretty. At best, you will be able to take care of the influential and their followers will disperse, looking for the next victim. At worst, you might start a brushfire. You can’t win this battle by yourself. You need to recruit your own army of loyal customers. People that will stand up for you when something goes wrong. Even to a person with 30,000 followers. The basic task in Social Marketing is to listen and engage. The real task is start building a group of loyalists, your brand guard that will fight for you when times get tough. Don’t try to buy mercenaries, or get professional soldiers. Deliver a great experience, amazing customer service. And, when something goes array, these people will pick up the fight for you.