Is It Time to Loosen the ROI Noose?

When I started my marketing career in the catalog world, we lived by metrics. We knew how many catalogs we mailed out, we knew who we mailed them to, we knew who placed an order and we knew what their order size was and also how long they had been a customer. We "talked" metrics all day long, and suffered underneath the title of "junk mail" while everyone else was creating sexy and entertaining TV commercials and radio spots and while being anointed  the kings and queens of marketing and advertising.

Flash forward to 2015. Marketing and ROI have come full circle - to the point where no one will pull the trigger on any marketing plan or campaign unless there is a justifiable ROI. 

While this is probably a better strategic path than random and incalubable marketing spend, it is not the Holy Grail. We STILL need  to spend marketing dollars in channels that do not have demonstrable ROI's to build our brands, our products and our sales.

I feel that social media is the "TV" of the 1970's. You NEED to be in it, you need to leverage it, but you will be very hard pressed to have a direct ROI in the following channels:

Facebook                                                                                                                                                          Twitter                                                                                                                                                     Instagram                                                                                                                                                        YouTube

If you follow a strict ROI model, you will never be able to justify spending money or time or messaging in any of these channels.....at your own risk.

While it is great that we have all concluded that marketing needs to offer a return, let us also remember how so many of the GREAT brands were built on impressions, fun, catch phrases, music, impressions and more impressions. Our 2015 ROI models assume that one impression equals one sale. History can tell us, that just doesn't ring true.