Return on strategy

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Never is a marketing consultant more ill at ease than when a client asks “How much revenue will this tactic generate?”  Or, “If I run this ad campaign, how many inquiries will it generate?” CEOs and CFOs ask these questions because they want to know what the return will be. I’ve often written about the importance of ROS (return on strategy) over ROI (return on investment) which tends to measure tactics. The reality is, all marketers and their agents want to know their marketing efforts pay off.  But just as tech start-ups get away, quarter after quarter, without monetization plans, marketers keep trotting out the old lazy axiom “I know half my advertising is working, I just don’t know which half” and muddle on.  

That’s why we should be measuring strategy, not tactics. Strategy crosses channels and tactics. Strategy informs tactics. Sure tactics can be strong or weak, but graded on strategy delivery creates a third dimension for analysis.

How well does this package design convey the brand strategy?  How well does this retail experience deliver the brand promise?  How convincing is this video at making a prospect believe the brand claim? Grading our marketing work not simply by action but by brand conviction is the way toward marketing monetization.  Measuring awareness, first mention or a porous tagline is not measuring strategy. Nor is measuring time on page.    

When measures become endemic to your business and not generic, you will know you are on the right path. Peace!

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I haven’t written about ROS (return on strategy) for a while but on the heels of my empanelment at OMMA Performance this week I’ve given it some more thought.  One of the good things heard discussed at OMMA was the metric “intent to purchase.”  As one person said, however, I may walk around the Jaguar dealership with an intent to purchase, but without consummation (check writing) it doesn’t makes the commerce world go round.

Another important metric discussed was the Net Promoter Score – scoring one consumer’s willingness to recommend a product.  These  two metrics are moving in the right direction and are good dashboard measures. Time on site, bounce rate, “like,” page views, are nice directional metrics but can’t always be attributed to a sale. The quants may disagree.


If you can’t create a value for an action, how are you going to create a value for a strategy?  The strategy for a billion dollar health system was built upon the following brand planks: leading edge treatments and technology, information and resource sharing, and community integration.  Combined, these 3 consumer care-abouts were projected as the business-winning marketing strategy. How do you measure the effectiveness of that strategy? Consumer attitude studies tying the brand plank metrics to KPIs such as beds filled, procedures completed, re-admits, profitability are certainly doable.  But how might one measure the strategy effectiveness using the web?  Thoughts?  Einsteins?

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