Marketing ROI Measurements Are Worthless Without Relationships

We know of countless ways to measure results of our marketing. One underrated way is the willingness of customers (or clients) to walk through a proverbial wall for you. Stated another way, have you ever measured the status of your relationship to your buyers? Consider: One of our clients works down the street from us, but regularly comes to our office during workdays for camaraderie. She loves being surrounded by our people (and Fathom’s prodigious coffee machine) and would be here daily if given the chance. That’s a good relationship.


The old expression goes, “What is measured is what gets done.” So, why aren’t we monitoring the strength of our relationships to our buyers, both current and potential? If we want these relationships to thrive, why wouldn’t we give the same attention to these measures of quality that we would to the quantifiable number or value of purchases? After all, buyers whose emotional needs are satisfied buy more and more often than those whose aren’t (according to a Gallup study via the Disney Institute in its seminars on customer-service excellence).

And if you want to talk quantity, I challenge you to think about the quantity of your quality connections (assuming emotional connection with buyers really is the highest good). How many buyers—better yet, what percentage—take your word as gospel and are positively thrilled to be around you? How many would readily recommend you to their friends or partners? By putting quantity to the service of quality, we strike better balances for our reporting on marketing impact.

These last two questions may be the most under-represented (underrated?) in today’s marketing world. Thousands of words have been used in endless articles about “How To Give the C-Suite the Numbers They Want.” Invariably, the arguments boil down to “You must track downloads/leads/purchases/revenue” … which are all good things, by the way, but all transactional metrics. Doesn’t the C-suite also want passionate followers and die-hard advocates? When you whip out your yardstick, be sure you’re accounting for degrees of loyalty, which can tell you more about net benefits and lifetime value than any single transaction metric in isolation.

What’s even more amazing is the fact that though obtaining this kind of data is easier than ever, we still under-report the nature of buyer engagement. Think of all the ways you can determine customers’ levels of excitement about your organization. Start with some of the more obvious:

  • Time spent on site
  • Time spent watching a video; depth of attention before bouncing
  • A newsletter or blog subscription
  • Repeat purchases
  • Pages per visit (on website)
  • Percentage of email list members who unsubscribe (lower is better, obviously, assuming you have the right people to begin with)

Then, if you want to break out of the measurement box, try:

  • Number of testimonials with identifiable authors
  • Participation on website and with brand extension on social media profiles or in email newsletters
  • Quality and volume of user-generated content
  • Percentage of new business associated with referrals from colleagues/friends/partners, etc.
  • Net Promoter Score or other in-depth “customer satisfaction” ratings indicator

Let’s get more creative with our data … and the types of questions we ask. All of the above phenomena can potentially make C-suites drool if reported properly. Are you brave enough to make some jaws drop?


Photo courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr.

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