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Friday, May. 11, 2007 at 11:06 am

ROI & Accountability: How Marketers Fool Themselves

By Bryan Eisenberg
May 11th, 2007

I’ve heard my brother Jeffrey explain the difference between ROI [define] and marketing accountability hundreds of times, but I realized we’ve never shared it in a public forum.

A recent exchange he had with Brian Carroll on his B2B Lead Generation Blog offers the opportunity.

Brian writes:

CEOs continue to demand better ROI measurement and accountability from marketers.

As a result there’s been a surge of interest in software and tools to manage the process of lead management, lead nurturing and lead generation with a greater emphasis on measurability.

In 2005, I wrote a post predicting that lead generation dashboards would become a hot topic, and according to the CMO Council’s 2007 Outlook Report the time for marketing performance dashboards is now.

He continues the post by explaining how many marketers, CEO’s, and companies don’t receive maximum value (read: ROI) from these tools:

I think that most sales and marketing professionals recognize that software will not spontaneously generate results, but the allure of easy execution and fast results are difficult to resist. It’s also easy to forget that these systems require a great deal of hands-on input and maintenance to be fully appreciated.

Jeffrey takes it further by posting this comment (emphasis mine):

Measuring the ROI of lead generation isn’t the same thing as full accountability. If marketing is a profitable activity, it still doesn’t mean that what it is communicating to the universe of buyers is building the business. I’ve seen lots of marketers sacrifice early and middle stage buyers because they had to show an immediate ROI on each campaign they ran. Who is accountable for all the potential business they lose by saying the wrong thing to the right people at the wrong time?

Continue reading my column on ClickZ…

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Comments (5)

  1. Very cool post. I like how you used our email dialog to create an article. It worked well. I hope it spurs more conversations about this very important topic.

    Brian Carroll

  2. For the math-inclined, here is a tangible explanation for the often intangible “lead quality measurement” issue, courtesy of our ol’ pal Pareto, with examples:

    Beware the Bell Curve, especially on the web!

  3. The Difference Between ROI and Marketing Accountability…

    What’s the difference difference between ROI and marketing accountability? My recent blog post, On B2B Demand Generation tools and Lead Generation Dashboards started an email exchange between me Jeffrey Eisenberg and then spawned an article by Bryan E…

  4. In my experience, it’s the marketers who are trying to convince the CEO’s that ROI can be achieved, not the other way around. I find that too many “old-school” CEO’s are satisfied with their lead program and don’t want to mess with it, even if it means adding lower costs and solid ROI measurement.

  5. the more you remove the human element the more you can achieve

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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