I dislike any attempt to hijack the term ROI. Accountants know what ROI means, and they can only view any softening or redirection or substitution of its meaning by marketers trying to validate their investment plans as smoke and mirrors. You won’t find anything in this book about a ‘return on influence’ for example – oh, except just there of course.
For one rather entertaining perspective on ROI, in the domain of social media, take a few minutes to listen to David Meerman Scott ‘rant’.112 At first you might think David is advocating the abandonment of any calculation of the worth of social media, but he’s not. He’s just saying that MBA courses are preaching the wrong approach: an approach more akin to the attitude to ROI that is integral to integrated marketing communications, as we’ll tease out later. David believes that business leaders have been hiding behind the ROI argument out of fear of social media. From conversations with him, I know he considers social media to be a strategic imperative, an imperative that is given complete validity by the Influence Scorecard as and when demanded by each organization’s influence strategy.
I thank my colleague Gabbi Cahane for alerting me to this apt H.L. Mencken quote: ‘For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.’ And as much as I’d dearly love to present a simple answer to ROI, I’m afraid the Influence Scorecard is as close as we’re going to get. The temptation to develop a simpler framework is ...