Is It Possible to Calculate ROI Across Multiple Channels? Maybe. Probably. Yes.

By | March 15, 2011

While he was tramping around Peru, Peter O’Neill, a web analyst from Australia, dreamed up a blog about achieving excellence in “joined-up” marketing.

Peter concludes that the marketing management tools and web analytics that measure revenue at various online touchpoints don’t reflect the contribution of offline activities like friends’ recommendations, using multiple computers when ordering, in-store purchasing, and so on. Add in such other influences as PR, print advertising, and social media and – clearly – “What drove the sale?” becomes an inscrutable question. At least for now. But maybe not for long.

Undaunted, Peter says “The measure of success of a marketing campaign is quite simply whether the incremental profit generated was greater than the incremental marketing spend (including salary costs for people working on the campaigns) during the defined time period.”

That makes some sense, but it really doesn’t work for direct marketers who have followed Lester Wunderman since 1967, testing, measuring, adjusting, testing, measuring… and so on.

Though they didn’t admit it for years, all this weighing must have made quite an impression on TV, radio, newspaper, billboard, and print advertising folks, because — somewhere on the way to the scales — a strange thing happened. Every channel began to quietly calculate how it, too, could measure.

As extensions of traditional direct marketing, email, p-URLs, landing pages, and all other online media were naturals of course. But the guys with the scales also began to find measurable profits in infomercials, radio, publishing, television, mobile marketing, and even social media.

In fact, even though apologists had let PR and media advertising off the ROI hook for years, the first arrows shot at social media’s launch charged that nobody could measure its results.

So, is it possible to calculate ROI across multiple channels? It is. Increasingly, it is because direct marketing suggests we can.

p.s. The notion that direct mail is the only measurable non-electronic marketing media still makes it stand out in the crowd.

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One thought on “Is It Possible to Calculate ROI Across Multiple Channels? Maybe. Probably. Yes.

  1. Thaddeus B Kubis

    Hi Nancy,

    The measurement of all media has been an industry goal for many years, the main issue is what metric can be used to apply to the broad selection of media. This is one of the critical offerings of The Institute for Media Convergence and a conversation I would like to continue offline.


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