Return on Experience
Perhaps the most radical variation of ROI is return on experience, which takes the notion of ROI and completely stands it on its head. The idea is for the brand to go above and beyond what the customer expects and earn out sized exposure by shocking the customer. Some believe that this type of shock to your customer will earn rapid word of mouth and will therefore reduce the cost per customer acquired.
Return on experience variation
Thankfully, this particular variation on ROI has not been widely applied. You can see some of the major flaws with this approach, right? The primary issue is that the brand has no way to scale this sort of measurement. Shocking the individual customers/clients, who gives you in turn positive word of mouth, is great. However, for a company like Dell, which has several hundred customer interactions online per day, tracking this sort of activity simply is not feasible without an army of measurement professionals.
The other issue with this approach is that it is inherently not a financial metric. If your community manager creates an amazing experience for your customer, it might lead to an additional sale or sales from that person’s peers, but how do you know? You would need to set up the mechanisms to track that person’s activities, and if you did that, you would not be tracking return on experience. You would in fact be tracking return on investment.
Unfortunately, there are other variations to ROI that we are not dissecting here. We think you understand our point by now that ROI is a financial metric and that the variations we have outlined simply are not. Are they valuable to your brand? Potentially, but not as a way to track the direct effect your activities have had on the business. ROI in the truest sense of the word is an important metric for digital marketers to be tracking. Is it the end-all, be-all metric that some make it out to be? No, it is not the only metric you should be tracking. However, it is the metric your senior executives will care about the most. Because it matters to your senior executives, it should matter greatly to you. These are the people who control your career and your budget.