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Step into the Ring: Rethinking ROI in a Social World

The world has changed, and marketing has changed along with it. Today’s consumers are infinitely fragmented, fickle, and, paradoxically, engaged – owing to the sheer wealth of media outlets, audiences are tougher to reach through traditional channels, but they expect to interact with businesses to a degree that would have been unimaginable less than a decade ago.

This shifting landscape demands that marketers shift their own thinking and embrace not just these new channels, but, more importantly, how they function within them.

ROI, however, remains a tired metric that has yet to adopt to this new setting, and with good reason: it’s a gauge that’s easily understood by colleagues from all departments, from the C-suite to marketing to sales.  However, an over-reliance on an outdated understanding of ROI may be handicapping your marketing efforts from the start.

Enter Gary Vaynerchuk’s boxing metaphor: the “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook” view of marketing – “jabbing” the consumer with soft content that does not explicitly ask for a sale, registration, etc., before “hooking” them with a direct ask or call to action.

Now, we’re not saying that firms should treat their customers as adversaries or sparring partners, but this boxing metaphor sums up perfectly the new marketing environment of rapidly moving consumers who are actively interacting with businesses, and demands a sea change in how ROI is discussed.

Your “jab” content should be helpful, entertaining, or empowering if it is to be valuable. Because consumers have so much information at their fingertips, they can easily head elsewhere in the blink of an eye if they don’t find value in your output. This means that much of it will not directly result in sales, registrations, etc. Instead, each piece is a single step in a complex and ongoing dance between your brand and your audience.

Many brands are already coming around to this revolution in marketing and reaping huge rewards as a result. Kraft has been particularly effective, blazing new trails in content marketing by publishing scores of helpful articles like recipes and household tips that generate shares and social engagement, if not immediate sales of Kraft products. Over time, however, sales do accrue and, more importantly, their engaged audience continues to buy over the long term.

ROI no doubt has a place in most marketing discussions, but it should not be the sole metric upon which activities are judged. To return to the boxing metaphor, this is akin to expecting every punch to be a knockout.

Understandably, a departure from the comfortable world of reach and passive audiences requires a great coach to make sense of it all.

Woden is a team of experts dedicated to helping firms profit in today’s media landscape by positioning them as active resources in their space. Our clients work with us to uncover why they do what they do – for it is your motivation that ultimately drives sales – and use the answers to fuel messaging campaigns that generate sustained engagement, not just sales (although, we deliver those too).

With Woden in your corner, you can be confident that you’ll be victorious each time you step into the ring. Give us a call to learn more.