Okay, this debate continues to rage and the irony (for me at least) is that there is no debate because there is no either or scenario.
Jasper Blake and I have had a chat (via email and commenting) back and forth for a while now because of his post “The Question is Not Can You Measure Social Media ROI? It is Should You?“. The article he wrote was essentially a discussion around his title and with some source information from his peers (very respectful first impression I thought).
However as happens in the Social Web, through the comments area, the discussion has evolved and in my opinion moved to a new separate debate. I alluded to this fact in the first line of this article and that is ‘conversations‘ are either ‘measured‘ or not. Further it appears (generalizing here) the social media world seems to be battling back with talk that ROI is too hard or is limiting the view of the value of social media. Great minds like Olivier Blanchard are fighting hard to keep the conversation on measurement with Olivier being a strong advocate of ROI-based measurements.
So I want to add my voice to the ‘hum’ of this debate and say without any reserve that ‘developing a social media strategy or campaign without making every effort to measure the Impact or ROI is just plain old Poppycock’. Surely there are circumstances where costs, tools or resources make measurement challenging, but to whole-heartedly dismiss the effort of measurement is foolhardy from a business perspective. Further this attitude not only doesn’t answer the typical questions we marketers are faced with from financial, sales and C-level executives but it likely engenders fear in the ‘unknown’.
Who is out promoting this attitude, none other than Lionel Menchaca of Dell. A company known for its social media success and clearly (see following quote) tolerance of its marketing and communication professionals.
“I frankly don’t care that we’ve done $3 million in revenue through Twitter – but I do care that Stephanie Nelson is out there answering questions and engaging with customers.”
The goal of every marketing effort but NOT exclusively should be to measure whenever possible, this is not only a marketing necessity, but a requirement of business. Admittedly social media marketing isn’t without considerable challenges when it comes to solid accepted measurements and tools to cheaply and efficiently communicate those measurements but that doesn’t give my peers a free pass to give up and then flip flop implying social media shouldn’t be measured.
If measurement were a mountain, I would say it must be climbed for the sake of our clients, our employers and our customers who deserve more than just business as usual from marketers.