September 25, 2013 By Daniel L. Newman
Perhaps the most asked question of CIs in the past three years is, “How do we measure return on social media, blogging and online marketing?”
Translation: If we spend time, money or energy on these pseudo marketing activities, is there a measurable return we can expect (in like five minutes)?
Since we are impatient for ROI on digital marketing, let me ask you another question: Does every ongoing conversation that you have with your customers translate to a measurable return? You know, those golf outings, happy hours, incentive trips and other glad-handing activities. Can you truly calculate revenue to your bottom line from those relationship building activities?
Together now, let’s shake our heads from left to right and say, “No, we cannot.” Yet we do them anyhow.
When you answer the question completely honestly, the bottom line is you just don’t know. You think you know because customers may tell you they had a terrific time, but unless you are in a controlled experiment where you can hold the “relationship building” variable constant, there is no actual way of knowing.
Let me digress…and get to digital marketing.
Relationship Building, Done Online
If I had to liken digital marketing to something that makes sense for any CI on the planet, it would be this: the way your company does digital marketing should be exactly like the way it does “real life” relationship building.
With this caveat, the assumption is your business cares about nurturing customers, suppliers and relationships. So what does this mean? You can’t golf, have dinner or share a cocktail over Wi-Fi so it isn’t exactly the same.
But what you can do is be consistently engaging, provide content that is high quality and useful to your prospective and current clients, and make sure to be responsive in a similar manner to traditional mediums.
It is through those recurring and valuable interactions that relationships between buyers and brands take place, making your brand more humanistic and the relationship more meaningful.
Is Online Engagement the New SEO?
Did you know: Google is changing its algorithm yet again to make it impossible for marketers to see what keywords are driving search traffic to their site?
Yup, it completely changes the game and simultaneously puts the onus back on companies to actually talk to their customers. I liken this to how old media advertising has lost tremendous value as people stop reading physical newspapers and how they now skip commercials with their DVRs.
Freedom of choice allows people to choose what content they engage with. Much like who we befriend, buyers now engage with brands and content they want, and the ability for marketers to short circuit this with adwords and other keyword marketing techniques is being trivialized more and more each day.