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Posts Tagged ‘Return on Investment’


What is this ROI thing?

December 17th, 2009 :: Michael Dougherty

I was considering calling this post “How much effort are you willing to be put into getting what you want”, but ultimately changed my mind because I wanted the people who have asked me the question in the title to dig a little deeper. Lately I’ve been having a lot of conversations about Return on Investment, almost always just called ROI, with people interested in consulting work or at my day job.  I’ve come to the conclusion that most people throw this term around without thinking about all the different possible ROI there actually is. To start us all from equal ground, let’s check out what our friend Wikipedia defines Return on Investment as:

“In finance, rate of return (ROR), also known as return on investment (ROI), rate of profit or sometimes just return, is the ratio of money gained or lost (whether realized or unrealized) on an investment relative to the amount of money invested. The amount of money gained or lost may be referred to as interest, profit/loss, gain/loss, or net income/loss. The money invested may be referred to as the asset, capital, principal, or the cost basis of the investment.”

I know a lot of people that use the term ROI for their marketing, but Wikipedia calls it Return on Marketing Investment and defines it as:

“Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) and Marketing ROI are defined as the optimization of marketing spend for the short and long term in support of the brand strategy by building a market model using valid, objective marketing metrics. Improving ROMI leads to improved marketing effectiveness, increased revenue, profit and market share for the same amount of marketing spend”

Since the same simple acronym is used for a multitude of purposes, and equations to determine it, I can see how people get confused, discouraged, or laser focused on one aspect of a larger whole. When it comes to your marketing strategy, pieces, or tactics, the ROI is going to vary with each effort. I know this may sound like an overwhelming concept, but it really isn’t as bad as it might seem.  It really breaks down to a simple statement, “Is the result worth the effort”. Is that oversimplifying it? Maybe a bit, but marketing really comes down to the simple questions we learned in school. Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

I can hear the cries now, “Mike you left out the cost aspect of it.” No, I didn’t. There’s a cost to everything. Whether it’s the amount of money that’s being put out or the amount of volunteers or paid employees taking their valuable time to brainstorm, create, implement and execute the strategy or piece. That, to me, is all part of the effort. So, as I asked above, how much effort are you willing to put into getting what you want?

You can determine that with a few simple questions. What is your ultimate goal/end result? What resources will you need to accomplish the goal/end result? Is the goal/end result worth the resources used?

You can make the answer to those questions as complicated or as simple as you want. For example, “the investment of passing out six thousand invitations is worth the three hundred people who actually attend, because the people who don’t will ultimately learn more about our party/product/services when they go home, use the specific url we created for the postcard, and research it.” Or another, “the investment of having my team of employees strategize for a marketing pieces is worth it because when the piece comes to completion they will have a greater sense of ownership of it and then want to help see it succeed in getting the x number of emails/sales/donations/etc. we want it to achieve”.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

You can get a marketing genius to come in and tell you that the Return of X minus the Financial Investment of Y divided by the Time Investment of Z hours is what your ROI will be. Ultimately, it comes down to how important, or valuable, the return is to you, your organization or company, your strategy, or success of your ultimate plan of world marketing domination. So, I’ll ask you the same question I have before, but in a different way, when you sit down to decide on your next marketing piece/strategy/effort is the return worth the investment?

I would love your thoughts on what ROI means to you. Please feel free to leave a comment below or you can reach me on Twitter by sending a message to @wickedjava, or on Facebook at facebook.com/mcdougherty.

As all ways, if you have been reading, thank you and stay wicked.