PR and Marketers: Time to show ROI of your Blackberry’s

David Meerman Scott says “It’s ridiculous that executives require marketers to calculate ROI (Return on Investment) on one form of real-time communications: Social media like Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.” Especially when they do not require measurement of the use of mobile phones.
David call these executives hypocrites. He recommends pr practitioners and marketers who are faced with these executives, who demand them to prove social media ROI,  to point out the hypocrisy by asking them to show you the ROI of their Blackberry’s.
The post reminds me of Peter Scott’s article “Higher education: not everything can be measured” in the Guardian. The article is about whether education can or should be measured or not. Where he says: “Some numbers are essential to running a university, but others should be treated with caution.”Peter refers to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881) statement: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”. And argues that you should expand it to “lies, damned lies, statistics and metrics”, perhaps?

He says that “modern higher education systems are increasingly driven by numbers – management information, liquidity ratios, key performance indicators, workload models, student (and staff) satisfaction scores, research assessment grades, citation indices, media league tables … Everything, it seems, can be reduced to a number. But can it – or should it?

Let me continue with metaphors and refer to Benzion (Benny) Landa, the founder of Indigo – one of the first digital offset printing presses, who once said: “Everything that can be digital, will be”.

I would like to argue that “everything that can be measured, will be”. Even the use of social media. And the use of Blackberry.

Or as Douglas W Hubbard, author of the book “How to measure anything” says:

“Anything can be measured. If a thing can be observed in any way at all, it lends itself to some type of measurement method. No matter how “fuzzy” the measurement is, it’s still a measurement if it tells you more than you knew before. And those very things most likely to be seen as immeasurable are, virtually always, solved by relatively simple measurement methods.”

I wouldn’t say that executives, who demand you marketers to prove social media ROI, are hypocrites. I think pr practitioners and marketers 1) should strive to measure everything they can measure, but handle the result of the measurement with a grain of salt, and 2) to some extent continue to engage with people even if they can’t measure the result of their activities.

So take the opportunity and dig into hundreds of posts and tools to learn how to measure instead of ignore the value of it, for an example:  “How to really measure the ROI of social media”, “How to: Measure the ROI of a Content Marketing Strategy”

BTW – When FST (Financial Service Technology Magazine) gathered three industry experts (Adnon Dow, Motorola, Alain DeSouza, Resaerch In Motion (RIM) and Alan Giles, Sony Ericsson) to discuss the growing trend of enterprise mobility communications and the challenges it brings, Alain DeSouza said:

“The BlackBerry solution provides users with a host of tools to help them work and communicate more effectively, including email, phone, internet, organiser and business critical applications. The benefits and ROI of BlackBerry smartphones have been illustrated by research from Ipsos Reid that shows that BlackBerry smartphone users can save up to 60 minutes a day, by increasing efficiency.”

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2 Comments

  1. Posted December 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Kristofer – thanks for your thoughtful analysis. I do appreciate it.

    I do agree that things should be measured. I advocate many forms of measurement for social media including sales, search engine ranks, customer satisfaction and so on. But I still do think that executives who demand proof before implementing social media but not before providing blackberrys is hypocritical.

    • dojan
      Posted December 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for you coment, David!
      I got the feeling that we’re alike in this matter, after all. I do think it’s perfectly ok to do marketing and PR activities that might be to hard, or even meaningless, to measure.
      But I still recommend: Try to measure all your PR and marketing activities. If you can’t – maybe you should trust your sense of feeling and execute anyway.

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