Relationship Intensity and ROI Measurement

Relationship Intensity and ROI Measurement

I had the honour, last week, of joining many insightful and intelligent people at the eMetrics conference in Toronto. Self-defined: eMetrics is “big data for Marketers; this is a comprehensive event dedicated to digital analytics and marketing optimization”.

Some very smart speakers sharing case studies, tools and exposés on best practices, tools and, of course, metrics to ensure your business is successful. Attending (and speaking) at this conference reinforces my belief that: without ROI, no business can survive. And, it is critically important for business operators to understand what they are measuring, and to have the skills and ability to draw a path between metrics and business profit. I have no doubt that the conference attendees were introduced to some fantastic tools and methods to help them have further success, and more importantly: measure it.

One of my favourite tools: Squeeze is a URL shortener, which empowers you to measure success of a variety of content types across multiple social platforms. You know, that little elusive thing called: measuring social media business performance success. This is like bit.ly on steroids! (Full disclosure: I am an avid Squeeze user.)

What I found equally, if not more refreshing at this conference was the conversation outside of keynotes, workshops and track sessions. And, those sidebar conversations revolved – a lot – around the value of understanding people and of building relationships, and the value this brings to a business. As critically important as it is to set objectives and measure ROI is the deep understanding of people and the humanity in business.

Measuring Emotional Value

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… People run a business. People buy from a business. As true as it is to say that without profit there is no business, without people even less so. If that’s the case, and if we can understand that human beings consider all ranges of human emotions when building relationships between each other, how can we possibly disassociate the value of relationships and emotions in the world of business? Not only does your consumer say “I love this brand”; not only do they get frustrated when they can’t find their favourite shoes; not only do they recommend their favourite book… they also spend their money on your brand! How could you think that this investment in you – financially and emotionally - is not of value to your brand?

In 2009, McKinsey conducted a research exposing that brands that held a larger market share of brand loyal consumers could command a 5% price premium over other brands in its industry. Brand loyalty comes from an emotional connection – one that is created and nurtured over time, sustained and supported, and one that is reciprocal.

I suspect some of you are thinking that we have adopted such a relationship penchant in recent years. I agree, to a certain extent. The trouble is that for as many stories as there are of businesses adopting this new approach, there are twice as many who do not. Don’t get me wrong – and perhaps this makes me an idealist – I whole-heartedly believe that business leaders genuinely want to create emotional connections with their audiences. I also think, however, that for some the motive is not the emotional bond, but rather the (anticipated) financial reward therefore creating a falsified and manipulative relationship. And, I think that for others, there is a real desire to create the bonds, but just as real a difficulty in understanding how, and in releasing the tight grip on the numbers game.

What Gets Measured Gets Done

It is mandatory to establish metrics that not only measure return-on-investment but also those that measure the intensity of the relationship between a brand and its audience. Without this understanding, we are grossly underestimating the value in the emotional connection. We know that what gets measured gets done… without a clear vision for emotionally connecting a brand to its audience, we lose the results. Surely we can manipulate a relationship – we’ve seen many charismatic politicians achieve success this way. But value comes from a genuine understanding and belief that there is value to the connection. This needs to inspire the whole organization.

Facebook likes or the number of Twitter followers, are simply not enough, but we knew this. What we are looking for are engagements: real valuable engagements.

Did you have a conversation with your audience?
Do you know more about them today then you did yesterday?
Would they evangelize and defend you?
Was your brand referred?

Sensei Blogs: Join the Debate: Where do you stand on Relationship Intensity and ROI Measurement?

How many of you measure engagements? What do you do with those results? What do you do with the engagements? Are you considering the value of the humanity in your brand, or just in the numbers?

Image Credit: Megaroo, Licensed via Creative Commons

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2 comments
dbvickery
dbvickery

I have Squeeze on my shortlist to try out, but I haven't gotten around to it...

As a data guy, I definitely like metrics. However, measuring that "emotional value/connection" definitely takes time. It isn't enough to build a great product, or offer a great service, and have people flock to your side to promote you. You have to build/cultivate a relationship over time...frequently against competition...and hope that your occasional requests for soft-promotion/endorsements do not get lost in the noise and firehose of content.

As a consumer, I understand that emotional attachment and brand loyalty. As a product/services provider in a B2B world, it's a challenge to rise above the noise sometimes. In regards to your 4 questions, I'm much further along on the first 2...still can't measure the last 2.

chieflemonhead
chieflemonhead

@dbvickery Thanks for joining in the conversation!

It is, of course, this time investment required to truly see the value of humanity and emotions in branding that essentially make many businesses put those metrics on the backburner. Most companies are so much more interested in the immediate bottom-line. And certainly, that is a necessity for any business. But I believe that over the long run, if there is no emotional connection whatsoever, your consumer can be swayed by any newcomer on the scene.

Solid product/service. Genuine humanity. And investment in emotional bonds. Those are the things that other brands will not be able to imitate (in combination); will make you stand out; and make you last - including offer you genuine loyalty.

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