A recent article on MediaPost reveals that a third of marketers “see ROI” from social media. It isn’t immediately clear exactly how they are coming to that conclusion, but I have a feeling they measure it in many different ways – some of which we’d find pretty amusing.
I know that there are hundreds of companies that would rush to dispute the headline to this post; they have built their own businesses on their claimed ability to track direct results from advertising and communication budget dollars poured into social media maintenance. And that’s fine. I’ve had plenty of experience with those clients that need to see numbers to believe, even if they don’t fully understand what those numbers really mean.
But while the “agency executive team” side of me understands the need to be concrete, I’m still a creative guy at heart. And the best creative people never really lose the confidence they feel in their gut instincts. I don’t have any magic formulas for how much money (either raw dollars or as a percentage of budget) your company should “invest” in a Facebook/YouTube/Twitter presence, or a real time effort to monitor those and other channels. It depends on far too many variables, including your product, your marketplace and – in no small part – the smarts and creativity of the people to whom you entrust the challenge. But I know the effort is “worth it.”
For many decades, the same situation existed for national “brand image” campaigns in traditional media. You didn’t run a flashy spot for the all new Chevy Tahoe and tell the dealers to staff up for the next morning. Everyone pretty much understood that you were working on many levels of the selling cycle – softening the path, getting potential buyers to notice the vehicle, maybe even getting it into their consideration set. Research tried, of course – but it was difficult to determine how much you were truly accomplishing – but there was no doubt you were doing some good. That’s not an agency “cop-out.” It’s simple reality, and the best Read the rest of this entry »