Playing into the CFOs Hands with Quantifiable Digital Marketing – ROI
People are hailing ‘Digital Marketing’ as the new paradigm for Marcomms. The inevitable search for quantifiable marketing results in companies that want to make sense of their marketing spend is clear. I will however argue that Digital Marketing has already started to ‘expose’ the marketing theories of the world’s digital marketing gurus and the plethora of Social Media experts who are committing to it with all of their might, even boldly claiming Traditional Marketing is dead! They are merely all shooting themselves in the foot because the truth about marketing ROI is perhaps best left buried under the carpet. Sometimes it is better not to ask for quantifiable results because you may soon find out that you are exposing yourself to unwanted CFO scrutiny, followed by budget slashing and potential job loss. When it comes to tangibles in finance nearly ALL CFOs are heartless and cold towards the world of Marketing (a certain intangible). With measurement comes accountability and as such you are all playing into the CFOs hands with your fabulous Marketing ROI claims. Cutting the marketing budget is the first thing that happens when Revenue drops n’est ce pas, fighting for marketing budget each year is an uphill battle isn’t it? I have read many an article on the work lifespan of a modern CMO, which is now, on average, 2 years,…why? Perhaps it is due to modern marketing accountability!
In this saturated digital media world the majority of digital marketing campaigns fall on stony ground. OK some will be successful but the % is tiny…ROI is generally negative. Studies of Facebook campaigns and ‘Likes’ highlights this and it is only the tip of the iceberg. If you were to use finance driven Project Indicators, Rates of Return, NPV, IRR and Payback calculations in Marketing you would soon stop all projects before they start. ( The PI > 1).
Digital Marketing can be equated to our attempts at the introduction of Digital Interactive Television – i.e. Not many people really cared and did not click on the buttons as we first expected. I suggest that the ‘new’ Social Media gurus do a psychology and sociology course as part of any marketing course in order to understand human beings. Why? Because people are actually NOT interested in this ‘engagement’ aspect in the main, as you are interfering with the task in hand (Surfing the web, looking for something, facebooking, blogging etc.). In digital TV we were/are able to monitor, gathering deep information from this Digital system long before it was called Social TV. Analytics was our new business, or was it? We actually buried the results across the industry (still do) because whilst it is obviously the way we are all heading in Digital Media it is unjustifiable in terms of spend. Yes it will grow, change, and we will see positivity but not for many years to come. Interactivity/Engagement = Perseverance and Re-Education (Changing Habits).
What people fail to understand is the bigger picture in Marketing. The fundamentals of any Corporate Marketing initiative is ‘Presence’ and that should embrace both Traditional and Digital Marketing. Traditional message generation or Brand Exposure is only a brainwashing of the masses who are in general doing ‘other things’ when you offer up your Brand. Making them engage when they are in Facebook is not what you should be trying as it is distracting from the fun of Facebook so the mental state of the recipient is not tuned in. The need for ‘presence’ in the market is paramount and a marketing cornerstone for all the marketing mix. So what if 1000 people click on your Ad, so what if a 1000 people send a tweet does it really matter? It is only a miniscule % of the amount of people who have probably consciously and subconsciously registered your ‘presence’ without interaction, which therefore does not mean that you have failed in your campaign. It does however if you do the math’s.
Here is something you can convince the CFO to do as a Marketing ROI exercise – Stop your Traditional Marketing and see where you head – I know that your Company will suffer and lose market share, possibly fold and collapse. Presence is primordial! I also suggest that Social Media gurus work in Companies where ONLY Digital Marketing is done to see how long they last…I furthermore suggest that they stop telling us that Traditional Marketing is dead because they do not know what they are talking about!
The VCR/PVR was supposed to kill advertising … it didn’t! TV killed the radio star… it didn’t! Just remember this: Web Pop Ups which annoyed people so much and disappeared were the sign that Digital Marketing is in the main an interruptive, distracting nuisance that is heavily ignored. All Digital Ads are just a new form of popups that I have called Popins. Uninvited guests!