Many marketers are contemplating adding some form of new media to their marketing toolkit this year. How will this fit into their business? How to get started? How to get past the internal legal hurdles?
All excellent questions. But when marketers are asked to define ROI for their blog, it’s the one question that really throws them over the edge.
As Web 2.0 tools become more visible, and expensive in terms of both time and money, supporting them with underground budgets and late night resources just won’t cut it anymore. Marketers will need to provide a hard ROI for the dollars they spent.
Of course, the purists will argue that demanding accountability misses the whole point: The true value of Web 2.0 tools, they say, comes from the spontaneous expression of ideas and unstructured interactions such as through a blog or a podcast.
But there are ways to calculate return on your Web 2.0 investment. For example, for your blog, first get some highly targeted CPM numbers, such as you would when buying ad placements in any homogeneous community. Second, think about what it would cost to hire a dedicated company to just do WOM advertising for you. Next, think about the relative change in Net Promoter Score (NPS), and how that might be valued. Add these up, and it’s a compelling figure.
Another way to think about it is to start thinking less about ROI and more about Engagement. My theory here is I only care about 2 measurements: conversion events (like a registration, download of podcast, post to a blog or wiki) and the path a customer or prospect takes to get there. That’s all I care about right now. Why you ask? When a customer participates they become more engage and invested in your brand.
So where’s the Buzz? Arguably calculating ROI on Web 2.0 tools is not easy since there are so many “soft” aspects to it. But don’t underestimate the potential when a blogger genuinely embodies your company’s values, fueled by real passion, and has the ability to create entertaining content. Such an advocate can be a tremendous asset to your brand.