ROI on Marketing Research?

March 27, 2011
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Bob Lederer, Editor of RFL Communications, probably one of the people most responsible for starting the current online panel quality debate, has taken up a new torch, ROI.

Just as he organized the first event tied to panel quality (together with support and serious accusations raised by then head of research at P&G, Kim Dedeker), Bob is now organizing the first “ROI on MR” conference (Chicago July 27-28th).

Bob Lederer, Editor of RFL Communications, probably one of the people most responsible for starting the current online panel quality debate, has taken up a new torch, ROI.

Just as he organized the first event tied to panel quality (together with support and serious accusations raised by then head of research at P&G, Kim Dedeker), Bob is now organizing the first “ROI on MR” conference (Chicago July 27-28th).

To be quite honest, I’m not sure where I stand on the ROI issue. While I do feel thinking about ROI is extremely critical in certain marketing research, such as ad campaign effectiveness testing, I’m less sure whether it is possible or even desirable to set out to measure ROI of marketing research in general.

Currently the Public Relations industry (its trades and several leading PR firms) are taking a stand against measuring their ROI, at least in the same way that advertising ROI is measured (Click through’s, views etc.). Their reasoning is that PR is different, more impactful and strategic, influencing key opinion leaders rather than the masses. Therefore, how can driving 1,000 magazine editors or bloggers and influencing them be equal to driving 1,000 consumers to certain content?

How can you value the market research that stops you from taking your business down an incorrect path and takes you in another? What is the value of strategic research such as a customer segmentation which shapes every part of your marketing strategy and tactics?

One thing I can say for certain is that marketing researchers are doing an extremely poor job in communicating their value. Whether ROI is the right way to help market researchers do this or not, I do think it’s an important topic to consider. I applaud Bob Lederer for continuing to raise often unpopular questions within our field.

@TomHCAnderson

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