Archives for posts with tag: ROI


You invited me to a webinar. With the help of your analytical marketing team, you designed a form to get to join me. While your goal is to maximize your ROI, you designed an experience to fill out a form with way too much information, with way too much work for me to care. While you focused on your short-term ROI goals, you forgot that you designed an experience that I well never forget. If you designed a path filled with hurdles, I want to forget you as quick as I can. If your goal was to eliminate as many hurdles as possible, I will remember you until the end of time.

When I go to a doctor, I have to fill out forms. When I want to become a member of a new platform, I have to fill out a form. It’s a powerful proposition and the way you design that process will forever determine how I feel about your brand.

Here’s your paradigm shift: It’s not about your goals, it’s about the goals of your customers. You need to change your attitude, change your forms, change your mindset. Customers are running your business. Just deal with it.


There are many terrible DJ’s out there. I know, because I am one of them.

What makes a terrible DJ?

When you start out as a DJ, nobody pays attention to you. You play at times when nobody wants to dance and everybody just wants to drink and socialize.

What do you do?

You push the power button to 150%. You play hits, bang it out. No interludes. No build-ups. No rest. Bang. Bang. Bang.

The result? You tire out the audience, they’re spent by the time the main act starts, and your reputation is ruined forever. Everybody can bang out hits after hits. That wasn’t your job. Your job was to take people on a journey, to get them ready for the main act. The empty dance floor pushed you to a place you didn’t want to go to. But you did.

In the digital marketing world, we all face this dilemma.

Both work.

You can put the pedal to the medal and try to get as much attention as possible. No matter what people say, it works. Over time, the returns diminish and you have to push harder and harder. Louder and louder.

Or you can start your marketing performance, wait for somebody to listen and take this person on a journey. Others might stop and listen. That’s secondary because your goal is to seduce one. And let them spread the word for you.

Unlike DJ’s, there’s nothing wrong with either approach. However, you need to stick with your choice. You can’t transform from a coffee house into a rave club. Or vice versa.

Just look at your brand and ask yourself: Do I want to get as much attention as possible? Or, do I want to give as much attention as possible?

Only you can answer that.


Is it going to location-based marketing? Hyper-local marketing? Google+? Facebook’s timeline? Twitter ads? Social Search? What about the convergence of mobile and social? Touchscreen computing?

Clients ask me that question all the time and my answer remains the same:

Nobody knows what the next big thing is going to be. Nobody. More importantly, you shouldn’t be concerned about it. We haven’t even figured out the basics of digital marketing yet.

Let’s be frank here: The only working tactic working in the digital space is SEM. Measurable, scalable and tied back to your basic ROI. Once you leave the SEM area, digital marketers continue to work in the Wild West. We still haven’t worked out how to engage with customer through display advertising. Instead, we try to try work the attribution and measurement game:

“The metrics are all wrong.”

“It’s not about the last click.”

All true but it doesn’t instill any confidence in our clients when we sell our arsenal of digital tools with a major asterisk attached to them.

We need to fix digital marketing from scratch.

SEM/SEO? Check

Display advertising? Clearly, we need to start from scratch. We have optimized the delivery of ad units to customers but the creative side of the equation continues to be abysmal. The declining click-through rates are proof of that.

Social Media? Most companies have still not understood the power of Social Media. 95% of marketing efforts on social platforms continue to be megaphone-style, mass marketing efforts. Cutting down the power of Social Marketing to almost nothing.

Location-based marketing? Coupons are nice but they are not the be-all and end-all of location-based marketing strategies. By focusing on pure coupon play, you’re missing out in great opportunities.

The next big thing is already there.

Actually, there are many next big things. You’re just not using them properly yet. You’re not innovating enough using all these new platforms.

The majority of brands act like little children riding a bike on training wheels. After a few minutes, they get off the bike and ask: “When can I drive a car?”

Let’s try to ride the bike properly first.


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.


Image Courtesy of Alexandre Farto/Fubiz

This post was first featured on Jack Myers’ MediaBizBloggers site.

When I started in this business, my friends thought I joined the crazy club. See, I have a law degree and none of my friends at that time worked in advertising and media. They believed advertising was all about creative types roller-skating down hallways, wearing over-designed frames, month-long shoots in exotic places, long nights in the advertising type bar and endless weekends spent on coming up with silly ideas.

Let me in on a secret: It was even better. Much better.

Sure, we worked long hours. Often months without a day off. I considered myself lucky to be home by 3am. Sometimes I was unlucky and was already home at midnight. It makes me feel really old when I describe those times to people that are in their 20’s.

They never experienced those times. They never experienced advertising as an art form. They consider it a business. Timesheets, performance reviews, forced company fun and all.

I’m glad our industry transformed into a business. Some of the ideas we recommended in the past were silly. Or made no sales impact. I’m happy that we measure sales impact, ROI and all the other good stuff that communicates to people what we do has value.

But, we have gone too far. We’re too serious. We’re too focused on data and metrics. We want to out-business our business partners. And, on the way, we lost some of the pixie dust that made our business so magical. Threatening the whole industry to become a commodity.

Good advertising is based on good ideas. Good ideas are rare. They are like plants that only flourish under very specific conditions. It takes very special people to take the small seed of an idea, dream big and imagine what an impact that idea could have. And, most importantly, instill that small seed of passion into their team, their executives and clients.

Sure, good ideas come from insights. They come from understanding business. But they also come from tapping into our inner child. Our silliness. Playfulness. Creativity.

No need to dust off the roller skates, relive the past and revel in nostalgia. But maybe, just maybe we should visit the crazy club more often. And just have plain fun.


Listened to an interesting discussion last night at the Monaco Media Forum, featuring Alain Lévy, CEO of Weborama (France). Especially interesting since we tend to be too US-centric when discussing privacy issues and how data should be utilized.

A few thoughts that were discussed:

  • Alain Lévy brought up the idea of “the right to be forgotten”, a new principle for the Social Web to be able to eliminate embarrassing or questionable content associated with us. ( The 5am picture).
  • A few people brought up the idea that we need to develop a fair contract between advertisers and people, just like the implied TV contract (You enjoy this show for free and watch commercials in return).
  • Some regard the current targeting techniques as “sneaky” and not a sustainable strategy.

While I think the idea of “the right to be forgotten” is interesting, I believe it would be too complicated, too complex and implies a flawless execution. (Good luck.) As much as I was delighted to see that all of us in the media/marketing world continue to discuss privacy and control issues, I was still surprised that nobody brought up the idea that users should own their own data. And I’m starting to have the feeling, any further discussions of privacy doesn’t change the core issue.

As I wrote before, sharing your data on your own terms, having complete control of your personal data would eliminate all the demands for regulations and new rules.It seems we’re making things more complicated than they should be. The “deal” that marketers always bring up when talking about targeting, is not a deal. Nobody ever negotiated with people, we just started to assume that people are okay with it. The majority of people don’t care about targeting, even worse for brands: they don’t care about advertising because we still try to play a guessing game. All the data we collect is distilled into assumptions of people. The assumption somebody else has of my identity is not the real me. We collect more data points about a person than any data aggregation technology when we talk to them for 1 minute. Would you base your marketing spend on that one minute?

The waste in advertising dollars on false assumptions will lead to a real contract. People will share their data and intentions with brands, leading to a much more efficient and effective marketplace. We can talk about privacy, regulations and laws all day long. It won’t change the structure of our business. A mind-blowing ROI will.


This column appeared first at Jack Myers’ MediaBizBlogger site.

Many people in the Social Marketing world say that anything social should be measured with soft metrics (fans, followers, number of conversations) and brands should focus on enhancing the brand by adding a social layer.

Sounds good to me.

Others in the Social Marketing world say that ultimately in marketing it’s always about money: Sales, increase in customer service efficiency (decrease in costs) and more effective ways to communicate with people compared to the guessing game we call advertising.

Sounds good to me.

How can we align both paradigms?

We’re living in tough times. Clients need good returns on their investment. Any discussion about Social Media will touch the money issue: Resources, re-allocation of funds, organizational commitment. Sure, there are organizations where the ROI is fabulous and immediate: Just ask Burger King, Starbucks or Dell.

What about the majority of brands?

Let’s be honest with them: Most likely, Social Marketing won’t deliver immediate sales increases or anything that can be quantified monetary. Social Marketing (well done) will add another layer to the overall brand experience that will help your sales number incrementally.

Will people read your tweets and immediately purchase your product? Hell no.

Will they join your community and share with the world that your brand is just the best and everybody in their social graph should join as well? Doubtful.

Will participation in Social platforms enhance the overall brand experience by providing a positive impression? Absolutely.

So many Social Marketing initiatives have been abandoned because they didn’t deliver immediate results. Don’t blame Social Media or the client for that result. Blame yourself for not setting the right expectations. There’s a lot of value in Social Media. It’s your job to unearth it and keeping it real.