Service Minded

Debra Helwig on Marketing & Leadership in Professional Services

Lock Up the Calculators

Posted by debrahelwig on February 26, 2009

To quote the managing partner of an IGAF Worldwide member firm: “OHHHH, how accountants love to measure!”

For those on the marketing side of the professional services house, that usually means a whole lot of effort trying to prove your effectiveness (read: ROI). From the first dime spent down to the last inbound email and prospect meeting,  you’re required to live and die by the complexity of your tracking systems. Believe me, I get what you’re doing – and I understand why.

But if you’re living shackled to the ROI beast, I have a bit of advice:

STOP. Right now. Put the calculator down.  Back awaaaaay from the spreadsheet.

Seriously, now is the time for you to push back on ROI – even if you work for an accounting firm. Knowing where every jot of money went and being able to document every hit on your Web site is only great for your performance review. Not for growing the business. Especially in the current economy.

Over at ClickZ today, Adam Cahill presents a great piece called “Outcome Addicted” that explains the situation very neatly.  Here’s a snippet:

Irony is, the point of measurement is to increase effectiveness. But blind devotion to measurement makes us less effective. If your plan is crafted to generate measureable outcomes instead of total outcomes, you’ll end up being able to attribute every last sale. Unfortunately, there will be far fewer of them to attribute.

David Meerman Scott hit this topic back in January too, in his eBook Lose Control of Your Marketing: Why Marketing ROI Measures Lead to Failure. He says:

While [ROI] information is useful, lusting after it often prevents marketers from investing in efforts that could become World Wide Raves — solely because traditional measurement data are not available from those efforts.

Take a hard look at the projects you’re working on right now. If you’re more focused on what you’re measuring than the ideas you’re sharing that actually help people (and make them love your firm), it’s time to make a change.

Lock up the calculators and get about your real business – making raving fans of your customers and prospects.

Hard work.  Tough to measure. But that’s where you’ll see lasting results.


One Response to “Lock Up the Calculators”

  1. […] at this meeting, I was the newbie. I’m not a numbers gal, and I’m not a huge believer in ROI. I attended the meeting to see what I might learn, what I might be missing – but I really […]

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