High ROI, but at what cost?
Last month I had a break from blogging, I was off supporting Prostate Cancer UK. Take a look at keylinerally.co.uk to see what I was up to.
Back to business as usual now:
Email marketing can be a huge playground for the modern marketing teams. It is the easiest & cheapest method of making use of the vast swathes of data at the modern marketers disposal. Think of all those segmentations you can use, at 0.3p per email sent, so much opportunity for the budget to be played with and theories tested. You can be more responsive, Taking the opportunity to put something out about the freak weather or a parody of the latest Youtube cat video hit.
Low cost means high ROI figures are common. You can broadcast your latest offer to 10,000 of your customers for a small portion of your budget. Send costs are fractions of pennies and effective use of your image bank can make it a short job to turn around a good campaign. It doesn’t take many conversions for that ROI figure to be positive. High fives all round and then on to the next email campaign and triple digit ROI.
In my experience, ROI is calculated based on the cost of putting your campaign together and getting it to the customer. Add up the broadcast costs, postage, print, studio and creative time then divide this by the incremental income your activity has generated. Simple and tells you where your campaigns stack up against each other, look at what gets a good ROI and do it again (or use it as your basis for other campaigns).
What is typically missed out is the effort that it takes. While your email provider, print house and creative agency all have their costs wrapped up neatly in the ROI calculation, where is the time of the person putting the activity together? What is the return on effort?
We have all been there when you are asked to do something that you can easily see is not worth your effort. Most of the time you can refer to past experiences and justify your position based on past activity that hasn’t worked, or has certain issues making it a non starter. Most of the time you have negatives to draw upon in order to bat it back and get on with activities that are more positive.
But what about when you are working on activities with a high ROI. This high ROI justifies the effort in a sense, you know it works, so it contributes. Why would you choose not to do it?
Consider this, are you making enough of a difference? Put the ratio’s to one side, are you generating the money? It is all well and good putting 10 campaigns out that each have ROI’s of 50:1, but if you included your own salary, would the ROI still look as good? Are you making the difference in £’s?
In a busy world it is hard to find the time to step back and ask yourself if everything you are working on is worthwhile, but it is essential. Look at this volume of high ROI activity and see what the overall contribution is. If you are putting 10 campaigns out, taking up 50% of your week and have a mega ROI but only contribute 5% of your overall target, you have to start thinking about what could be achieved if you put that time elsewhere.
There is an old saying, ‘Sales is vanity, profit is sanity’. Is the traditional Return On Investment the marketing version of vanity? Make sure you think about the Return On Effort to retain your sanity.
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