Monday, November 20, 2006

ROI and blogs? ha ha ha

There is no ROI from blogging in the vast majority of cases.

Why should there be? Why can’t we do things for sheer good will and candid communications, enabling our customers to deal with us directly?

ROI or Return On Investment is an accounting problem, where you try to determine if the money you've invested in something is paying off. You don't want to dump funds into technology or personnel or training, and get no financial payback from it. That's logical.

But it's illogical to expect ROI analysis of every little thing a business does. It's insane, especially when there is no investment to begin with, at least no money invested. Ever since me and Bennett Theissen invented Zero Budget Marketing in NYC, initially for our music band Camouflage Danse and his avant garde theatre promotions, we've proven over and over again that it works.

You can start a business on the web and not pay a single penny...EVER!

I do it all day, every day. My wife Andrea is an accountant. She keeps track of what is spent on my consulting business. Nearly nothing. I travel almost not at all. I conduct most business via email and free VoIP (Skype). Computer related expenses like broadband, Norton Anti-Virus, toner, paper, and hard drive upgrades would be incurred anyway, for our personal use.

This rage for ROI is what Theodore Levitt (former editor, Harvard Business Review) calls a “harsh and narrow discipline” in Thinking About Management (The Free Press, 1991, p. 111).

What’s the ROI on new carpet? new office furniture? business cards? company cars? conference attendance? Speaking engagements?

Some things we do simply because it’s the right thing to do, or a wise thing to do, and we should not need to justify everything to accounting departments.

Since a blog can be created and hosted for FREE, and many smart business people are using free hosting at WordPress or Blogger, what’s the ROI on Zero Investment? Pretty good, I’d imagine.

No, no, no. If some company is stalling around like idiots about blogging, while their own teens are all over the map with it, what gives? Where is the visionary leadership required in this volatile business climate where many giants are collapsing?

You blog, not for revenue streams, but for enhancing customer relations, telling your side of a controversial story, and establishing your innovative orientation.

Blogs are antiques already.

The real pioneers and entrepreneurial leaders have already moved far beyond the simple text blog, into videocasting and podcasting, super-interactivity, massive customer empowerment, technical support chat modes, videoconferencing, the multi-media Web 2.0 blog realm.

What needs evaluation is not ROI, but rather ROT.

Return On Time.

The time required to publish posts on your own blog and post comments at other blogs, can be prohibitive for many CEOs and others. If you think you can just dash off a quick little diary entry a few times a week, and call yourself a "blogger", that's idiotic and self-defeating. Bloggers must interact with other blogs. And that can involve a large amount of time, which you may not have. You'll find out soon enough, once you get started.

3 comments:

CK said...

"What needs evaluation is not ROI, but rather ROT.

Return On Time.

The time required to publish posts on your own blog and post comments at other blogs, can be prohibitive for many CEOs and others. If you think you can just dash off a quick little diary entry a few times a week, and call yourself a "blogger", that's idiotic and self-defeating. "

True dat. I often tell people that if they had to choose between posting to their own blog or interacting with other bloggers to always choose the latter. With friends and clients I advise to always start by visiting and commenting on blogs...their own will be better from the process. In fact I feel most like "blogger" when I push the "publish" button.

I do like your ROT argument and for those who don't make the investment won't understand what a return there really is--they'll view these as 'soft' benefits. But these soft benefits of getting closer to your markets and thereby building strong relationship--and a hell of a lot stronger products--will be realized. In time. Much irrelevance will happen in the interim.

steven edward streight said...

You have to be mentally ill and completely out of touch with reality to think customer relations, good will, and blogospheric favor are "soft benefits".

If any company thinks these are "soft benefits", they're in for a very Hard Landing...on their empty heads.

The big factor in corporate success or failure is now being shifted to customer relationships.

Consumers are rapidly moving away from reliance on any one company for anything. Our choices are globally diverse, and via blogs and forums, we are advising each other about products, and totally by-passing all advertising and marketing efforts.

It's the End of Mass Manipulation and the Rise of Autonomous Producer-Consumer-Distributors.

Customer Service is the only real, enduring Profit Center for a company, not Sales.

Sales can be a flash in the pan, a momentary blip on the radar screen of commerce.

Customer retention, loyalty, and word of mouth, empowered by the web, these are the determining factors now.

Those who disagree are already finished, and soon they will "wake up and smell the coffin" of their dead business.

steven edward streight said...

Of course, I don't mean "CK" when I say "you..."

:^)

I meant "you stupid businesses who call customer relations soft benefits".