Check out this three minute clip of David Meerman Scott (author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly) having a rant about the foolishness of always demanding ROI for social media and web based marketing. It could equally apply to public relations. As David says “What’s the ROI of putting on your trousers every morning?”
David reiterates my oft stated view that measurement is important, but it isn’t the same as ROI or evaluation.
And the ever helpful Katie Paine has a great article on Ragan.com where she reminds people to stop confusing ROI with results, and measurement with counting. Because despite its idiotic use by lots of PR, social media and marketing people ROI isn’t synonymous with “whatever results.”
ROI has a specific financial meaning and most public relations folk just bandy it around to try and sound clever, but in reality frequently just end up sounding foolish. Some clients are daft enough to buy it, but thank goodness the best ones aren’t.
Likewise social media measurement means much more than just counting visitors, followers, friends, views etc. Katie reminds us that you’ve got to measure for a purpose, such as improving what you’re doing.
I’ve blogged about this a few times before: