ROI and One-to-One Marketing


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I recently attended TechMedia’s Digital Summit conference in Atlanta and heard Gary Vaynerchuk speak on the topic of ROI and social media. He told a story about an executive who kept pestering him with questions, wanting to know what the “real ROI” of social media is, and Gary finally responded by asking, “What’s the ROI of your mother?”

Gary’s point was that there are just some things that are hard to describe in terms of ROI because there are too many factors in play, it’s too hard to locate the value. And there are other instances where the value is so clear you might not feel like it’s necessary to determine ROI. Although it’s true that social media, and the value of social engagement, involve a lot of complex factors that are difficult to track, if you have a clearly defined objective and key deliverables you can always determine ROI. And even in the cases where it might seem somewhat unnecessary (what’s the ROI of a piano when Elton John plays it?), determining which elements are effective and which are not can help you derive even greater benefit next time.

In his talk, Gary also went on to emphasize that the most valuable way for a business to distinguish itself in the present context is through one-to-one engagement. Royal Dutch Airlines KLM’s ongoing KLM Surprise campaign is a terrific example – the airline monitors passengers on Foursquare and Twitter to find special ways of engaging with them to thank them for their business. When one customer tweeted that she was flying home for Mother’s Day a KLM rep found her in the airport and gave her flowers to take home for Mom. This type of one-to-one engagement develops an emotional connection, a life-long customer and brand advocate who is going to tell everyone she knows about what KLM did for her. If businesses focus on paying it forward, the positive effects will come back bigger each time.

Using social CRM tools and branded communities ensures that you have more opportunities for similar engagement and that you can track the ROI of campaigns like KLM’s, where the value can be difficult to determine. Who will the woman tell about what happened to her? How can we know that new customers came to KLM because they heard about the flowers? With a well-designed social CRM strategy, businesses can track online customer engagement and comments about these types of interaction and have a better sense of their impact. They can also better tailor future efforts, continually honing based on customer response to find the best possible methods.

Jason Swenk
Hi, I'm Jason Swenk. I started my career jumping into the Internet boom in 1999. I had a great passion for technology and marketing, so I started a digital agency. In 2011, I was lucky enough to have my agency acquired and then just 7 months later got acquired again by a public company. What a ride! "My goal of developing this content, is to provide valuable advice that provides immediate actionable steps you can do right now that will make a difference in your business. "


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