The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Ambiguous Promises …
April 12, 2007, 9:27 am
Filed under: Comment

So I got given a business card from a media person at Zenith and was quite taken aback by their ‘strapline’ … the R.O.I. agency.

As much as R.O.I. could stand for Really Ordinary Individuals … the reality is, of course that it stands for Return On Investment … another phrase in the marketing dictionary that has little or no meaning.

What do I mean by that?

Well there’s a few things …

1 Advertising is never the be-all and end-all interms of a campaigns success – factors like product, packaging, price, competition and distribution all have an incredible influence – so no company can ever claim to be directly responsible for R.O.I.

2 Given R.O.I. can be evaluated in many ways – from sales divided by costs / shareprice increase / improvement in production output / staff morale – what evaluation criteria are they actually basing their claim on?

3 At what point does a communication company acknowledge their involvement in the campaign is over?  They could claim their influence carries on for months, which sort of increases the opportunity of achieving this mythical R.O.I.

4. What ‘costs’ does a company include in its R.O.I. calculation?  Production? Media? Sales Kits? Distribution? Packaging? Promotions?

Of course clients [and agencies] need to evaluate whether their hard work has been fruitful [read: successful] or not … and of course, the methodologies used are probably the ‘best of what is available’ … however for a company to come out and say they are the Return On Investment agency when they play a small [though admittedly important] part in the process, amazed me.

Sadly I can see a lot of clients falling for this sort of marketing hyperbole because the standard of marketer is declining almost at the same pace as the standard of agency leader … plus in Asia, the region is so corporate-focused, their obsession is always on the ‘bottom line’ [the standard of work is a distant second] … however given this agency is publically screaming an obvious exaggeration of its capabilities, you have to question whether they’re the sort of people you’d really be able to trust working on your business.

It’s abit like DM companies …

Poor Mailman - 1

Don’t get me wrong, I totally appreciate the value of DM [when it’s done right it’s great, but too often CRM seems to stand for Customer Revulsion Marketing] … however what really bugs me is that so many of them ponce around like they are the only comms discipline that is truly effective when in reality, all they are, is a comms discipline that can prove how INEFFECTIVE they are.

Being able to quantify exactly how many people responded to a specific ad doesn’t mean you are an effective medium … just a knowledgeable one … and yet I see all these DM companies, like Zenith, shouting out massive claims like “Obsessed With Results“, “You Know Where You Are With Us” and “Facts Not Promises“.

As I said, DM has a place and – when done right – a real value … however I don’t think they can claim to be an effective comms channel any more than Zenith can claim to be a R.O.I. company but hey, in the World of marketing, spin seems to continually be ‘in’.

Maybe I should point them to this post!

17 Comments so far
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You are going to go down so well at our conference.

Comment by Pete

Why do I sense you are rubbing your hands in glee at the car wreck I am about to cause!

Comment by Rob

You know me too well.

Comment by Pete

Doesn’t bother me, they’re your clients I’m going to piss off, ha!

Comment by Rob

Having sat through many a DM agency meeting (we could do so much for your business) I can confirm that, for clients, the entire process is neither effective or brings returns. The only people who experience ROI are the DM agencies.

Morning! 🙂

Comment by Marcus Brown

He’s back … YAY!

Comment by Robert

and…he’s tetchy.

Comment by Marcus Brown

Is no one else going to comment on this post? I had a right rant – I thought you lot liked rants – have I stopped being relelvant to the masses????

I’ll get my coat then … [slow trudge]

Comment by Rob

Problem is I agree with you, so theres not much else to say!

I wouldnt like my business to be tied to an out of date metric…or to a company that is tied to it.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

You are right about everything here Rob, the thing is who’s going to be the one to tell the clients about their ‘new clothes’? Seems like neither ad agencies nor the so called Media are interested in calling them out, so the scam continues… maybe we should get this published in mainstream media and at least get some serious conversation going on this topic.

Comment by Hari

Yes. Yes you should.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

you know you’re onto a shit thing when you’re using an acronym and jargon in your tagline..

Comment by lauren

Just so you don’t get snookered. DDB use ROI in their planning stuff and it stands for relevance, orginality and impact. They flew me to Dublin to learn this and for some reason I’ve managed to retain it 🙂

..oh, and Bates Asia used to have “Bates Asia, The USP Agency” in their reception till only a couple of years ago. Somebody must have put them taken pity on them at some point.

Comment by Charles Frith

Oh for fucks sake … taking accronyms and changing their meaning to try and look cool is lower than low – but then DDB do seem to be flying at a much lower altitude since their heyday don’t they!

Comment by Rob

BMP was certainly one of the greats in it’s time, and in Singapore they had creatively good patches, although arguably feuding management. But overall most of the big agency networks have a vested interest in pumping out irrelevant, interruptive, and intrusive advertising dribble and the marketing departments are obsessed by grids. As if people fit in nice little boxes. Most Agencies, especially the larger ones, are the last ones to say the emperor has no clothes – too much money in it. But not for much longer. ABT .. About bloody time 🙂

Comment by Charles Frith

So right mate …

Did you ever work with Chris Jaques in Asia? And I warn you, I think the World of him, so be nice if you did, ha!

Comment by Rob

Nope. Never actually worked with Y&R. Looking forward to the youtube effort. Gonna stay up late for it 🙂

Comment by Charles Frith

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