And I will have Carfax Abbey torn down stone by stone, excavated a mile around. I will find your earth box and drive that stake through your heart.” ~ Edward van Sloan as Van Helsing / Dracula 1931

edward-van-sloan-van-helsingWorking at the intersection of ROI, marketing and social media in particular has been a topic that has drawn my interest since the early development of social media as a connecting consumer technology.

As social media came onto the scene, a debate cropped up that social media was a ‘tool of the people’ and that to propose its use as a business tactic was heretical.  We still see vestiges of that debate now and then, but by and large, we do not see much of it I think because the flood of early practitioners has subsided and the bar for entry as a social marketer has been raised past the point that creating a Facebook page and opening a Twitter account suddenly launched a new consultancy.  The discussions by marketers has risen to a point that business people recognize that marketing has an ROI that can be associated with it and that social media marketing can have a VERY high ROI indeed.

Social marketing ROI is not a dark, foreboding concept that only technocrats understand, at it’s base is the correlation of information from multiple points that helps us all understand how a marketing strategy that includes tweets or Facebook posts can impact revenues and costs.  The red-herring discussions of the ‘ROI of your phone’ or a ‘return-on-influence’, or ‘return-on-engagement’ are getting more and more hollow by the day.  I think it’s because we’re recognizing that these metrics are made up and promoted by evil minions of misdirection who may not know how to speak otherwise.

Truly savvy marketers are realizing that the only ‘I’ that matters in ROI is ‘Investment’ and that if marketing is going to get increased funding for their efforts, the rest of the organization (particularly those that manage budgets) speaks in business terms like these – so marketers are learning the particulars of ROI or facing the prospect of being replaced by someone who can talk the talk of the executive suite.

Just how much longer do we need to allow these minions of demonic misdirection to suck the life out of marketing initiatives and render them useless to management? *sigh* obviously longer than we should, but in order to get the conversation back on solid ground, I know we need to start with committing to a broader conversation about 1) where your customers are congregating and 2) then asking how best to reach them, always 3) seeking the genuine ROI along the way.  Either that or 4) drive a wooden stake thought their evil little hearts.

Steven Groves is co-author of “ROI of Social Media: How to improve the return on your social marketing investment” and your host at