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John Dawson

Those marketeers only looking at ROI are in the minority - the question is whether they are the lesser of two evils when many don't look at all!

ROI measurement in the 2.0 channels is especially challenging for the industry as the metrics available to track usage are rarely enough to give geniune insight. That's the beauty of the experimentation fund idea. When we did some research on this at my previous employer, we found that it was especially popular with high performance businesses (see this publication from The Marketing Society - http://www.marketing-society.org.uk/downloads/awards/2007/MeasuringUp_MarketingMeasurementExcellence.pdf).

However at some point you do need to be sure that you're moving the needle. When that point comes differs from business to business.

Chris Kenton

Hi John--

Thanks for the comment. I'd love to see that article, but the link got cut off. Would you mind reposting? Thanks.

There are some great strides being made in metrics for one of the main components of Web 2.0 technology--RSS--but not too many marketers are aware of it. I know SimpleFeed serves up every RSS feed with a unique URL code, which allows granular tracking of subscriptions and click throughs from the feed. Companies like Sears are integrating RSS into their Web programs and tracking just like their Web campaigns. So there is a lot of awareness among developers that metrics are critical, though there's still a lot of work to be done.

You're absolutely right: you do have to focus on moving the needle. And I think smart innovation is an investment in being able to continue moving the needle.

Thanks for posting.



Hi Chris,
I like the idea of an innovation fund within marketing. This has been a long standing practice in many product development groups as way to foster raw innovation. A potential benefit of a fund like this is employee engagement and retention. Like most people, good marketers like to try new things in their jobs and to stay abreast of trends. In addition to setting aside specific funds, marketing groups might want to give different employees the opportunity to be involved in deploying those funds and experimenting with new media and strategies.

I think it's key for any marketing endeavor to have a goal - and it seems justifiable to me to have learning and employee engagement as goal, as well as metrics like visitor engagement, referrals, repeat visitors, etc. While these might not be hard ROI, they help us gauge if the activity we are engaging in is achieving what we hoped (we also often learn we are measuring the wrong things). One other potential benefit marketers might consider is that they will be ahead of their competitors with new media by experimenting before it really takes off. With a small investment, they have an opportunity to learn and be more effective. Although I should also point out that the trailblazers generally help everyone be more effective as some of their learning is dispersed to the rest of the market (through agencies, word of mouth, and so on). Marketers need to consider the amount of investment to make in these areas, weighed against the benefits, but "hard ROI" doesn't have to the only answer.

We just held a seminar on measuring Web 2.0 http://www.clickzevents.com/ev1/index.html
and I would be happy to share some of the information and slides from the event if it would be helpful for readers (not intended to be a plug for Unica -- the information is educational rather than promotional)

Chris Kenton

Hi Carol--

You expanded the innovation fund concept much more articulately than I could. So many companies are talking about innovation, and this is one area where innovation can be very cheap, and the outcome very quick. If you fail, you fail quickly and move on, but smarter. I started MarketingRev with an idea and less than $200 in investment. At that level, who cares about a break even point?

I think the key--like it is in so many things--is to just take a step forward and try something. Don't let analysis and grand speculative planning take the place of real exploration.

Thanks for the slides, I'll take a look.


john kottcamp

I fully agree with the idea of an innovation fund for marketing. In fact I’d take it one step further and throw out the idea of creating innovation centers to explore new methodologies, channels. In the technology sector this is becoming common practice.
At my company, Ascentium, our technology group has partnered together with Microsoft and several others to create and fund an innovation center in Portland, OR, at Portland State University. Its stated purpose is to “foster the use of innovative software solutions in our local economies. Students, professional developers, architects, IT professionals, and researchers can learn about the latest software solutions created by developers throughout the Northwest.” I see no reason why different organizations, agencies, leading companies and organizations like MarketingSherpa or the AMA, shouldn’t consider making small joint investments to find new marketing solutions the way technologists can come together to find new software solutions.
If anyone is interested in the idea, contact me and we can see if we can make it fly.

Chris Kenton


That's a fantastic idea, and exactly the kind of venture I'd be interested in helping get off the ground--and a know a great many people who would be enthusiastic about participating. Thanks for an inspiring idea, I'll drop you an email.


Dimano Marketing

Great article and comments. We have been posting about the importance of marketing metrics and recommended several additional resources that maybe helpful. You cna check them out at:


Thanks again for the insights. -The Dimano Marketing Team

Marc Meyer

Chris, A year later this still resonates! Although does ROI still matter when some SM campaigns cost nest to nothing? The investment I suppose could be construed as sweat equity...


Robert Lonn

Impressive article. Thank you very much for this information

Aline S

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I would like to suggest you my favorite tools - http://www.Surcentro.com is a web site statistics and web analytics service.
Here you can find the amount of visitors, pagerank, indexed pages, view Alexa and Compete graphs and other additional information about every single page on the web.


Social Media are developing at a rapid pace

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