I am a career marketer whose work experience has always been linked to CPG companies and traditional marketing. I recently moved to the U.S. for an MBA and viral marketing crossed my way. I have to confess, I am a complete neophyte in the matter; and most of the jargon, web pages, and terms related to it are new to me.
To understand Social Media Marketing I got started with Dosh Dosh. This blog is really good, especially for people who lack the basic knowledge. It puts Social Media Marketing in easy, understandable words (a must for people interested in SMM). It has a series of articles called “Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing” that are a great starting point for newcomers. One thing got me thinking while reading this blog, and it was the article on “Social Media Networking and ROI (#7 of the series)”. For traditional marketers ROI is an obsession, so I was surprised to see a complete article dedicated to this for alternative marketers.
Why is ROI so important for marketers? Because they made it their ultimate goal. There is a joke that defines economists as people who spend half their life predicting what will happen, and the other half explaining why it didn’t happen. I think this also applies to brand managers. They spend half their time trying to convince their bosses to increase the promotional budget, showing how it will be a great boost for sales (great ROI), and then the other half explaining why the ROI was not as expected. They don’t seem to know that marketing itself does not sell. There are infinite variables that have great impact on sales other than advertising, packaging and promotions, so the success or failure of marketing should not be measured by the ROI.
Marketers need to understand the importance of managing and positioning brands, and investing resources to achieve this. Their goal should not only be increasing sales, but also increasing brand awareness, ranking better on top-of-mind, improving the consumer’s perception of the product, etc. Most of these goals are not tangible and don’t translate into sales in the short term. But they are the ones that make a brand successful in the long run.
Dosh Dosh’s article on ROI makes an important point in telling readers to have very clear objectives for Social Media Networking. This should also be true for any kind of marketing campaign. Achieving these objectives should be the only metric when determining whether or not a campaign was successful… regardless of the ROI. If the objectives are aligned with the brand’s strategy, then reaching them will guarantee a positive ROI.
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