Are you quantifying the value of Facebook?


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Question:  When you you know a marketing trend will become a fad?

Answer: When you don’t understand how it fits into the business strategy and you can’t quantify it.

In these days of measured marketing, where accountability of marketing spend is one of the greatest issues, any tactic in search of a strategy, and in search of measurement is doomed to an inevitable failure, whether or not the CEO thinks it is “cool”.  Much of the severe cuts in marketing are due to the failure to quantify the value of the specific marketing tactic to the bottom line — incremental sales and profit.  When the numbers are tight and the CFO looks for budget cuts, what isn’t measured is what gets cut.

Recently, I had a client whose CFO came to him for $2mm in budget cuts.  He knew it was coming and had developed all the rationale he needed. “Fine, you can have my $2mm.  Just know, I am going to the CEO to take down our revenue forecast by $4.6mm.” “You can’t,” said the CFO.  “Oh yes I can,” said the CMO.  “Every dollar I spend give us $2.30 in revenue.  You cut my budget, you are hurting the bottom line more than you are hurting me.”

Now, my client did not come out unscathed; he had to contribute $300K to the budget cuts.  But the lesson here is clear — show the ROI and you bring more of your life and your budget under your control and less subject to outside influences, like Finance.

Now enter Facebook.

Facebook is clearly a cause celebre of executives everywhere.  After all, with everyone on the planet on Facebook (a half a billion members or so), how can it not make us money to market to our customers on a fan page and through ads as well, right?  Well, when you find out that you have only 2000 fans, and the customers who come through Facebook ads are primarily sale shoppers, the picture becomes more complex.  If you look at this scenario and take out the word “Facebook,” then the particular tactic will shortly be as extinct as the dino.

But Facebook is not useless; you just have to determine how to measure the impact and show the value, to the strategy and to the bottom line of the business.  Here are a couple approaches that our client have utilized:

  1. Use Facebook as an access point to your Advocate customers. Determine through surveys which fan page customers are advocates, and get them engaged in a discussion about how to improve your product/service.  Enlist them in introducing their friends to your product/service and provide unique landing pages and coupon codes to measure the impact.
  2. Grow your fan page by providing unique experiences, services and values. Note that I put “values” at the end of the list.  If you make Facebook your site for discounts, that you will get exactly what you deserve — discount-seeking customer.  If you give content, support and special services to  fans, then you will get customers more interested in relationships and the unique place of your brand in their lives.  But the only way you will know that for sure is to ask customers.  Build surveys and tracking into your fan page, build profiles of your Facebook fans and measure the impact to the business.  It does not have to be huge; but it DOES have to be incremental.  Then as you grow your fan count, you grow the impact.
  3. Integrate Facebook into your off-line shopping experience. I have not yet seen many companies do this, but you can drive customers to the store, or to the company web site, by providing content or an experience that relies on both the fan page and the store or web site.  Think customer scavenger hunts, for example, with clues added to the fan page over time.  Think about fan content that helps other customers find what they want, or talk to experts in the store, etc.

Each approach is not a solution in-and-of-itself; rather a blend will be the key to success in quantifying the benefit of Facebook when the CFO comes calling (and you know he/she will!).  If you know the day of reckoning is coming, then arm yourself in advance through a strategy that drives measurement into every aspect of your Facebook marketing.

Then you can “unfriend” the CFO and go on with your work — driving the company revenue with clear, accountable strategies.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mark Price
Mark Price is the managing partner and founder of LiftPoint Consulting (, a consulting firm that specializes in customer analysis and relationship marketing. He is responsible for leading client engagements, e-commerce and database marketing, and talent acquisition. Mark is also a RetailWire Brain Trust Panelist, a blogger at and a monthly contributor to the blog of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Marketing Association.


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