Is ROO the new ROI?

by Tiffany Simms

We all know that measuring the performance of marketing initiatives has always been tough to pinpoint but, just when one gets the hang of how to quantify the industry standard, Return on Investment (ROI), along comes the concept of ROO, or Return on Objective. The good news is, the latter may be a lot easier to manage. According to a ThomasNet study on website management, site owners need to take a step back to see the broader picture of their website’s role in sales generation. In other words, are customers getting the information they need, where they need it, and when they need it? In Get Content, Get Customers by Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett, the authors subscribe to the belief that along with using ROI, ROO-centric measurements provide a more holistic view:

  • Tracking conversions for everything published online and measuring new or increased sales
  • Measuring [time spent] through online research or by using analytic measures on e-newsletters or web portal products

However, the conventional ways to measure ROI are still quite relevant:

  • Number of Leads Generated
  • Total Sales Revenue
  • Incremental Sales Revenue from Existing Customers
  • Cost Per Sales
  • Conversion Rate
  • Time to Conversion

Objective-based performance measurements allow decision makers to take a closer look at how customers gather the information they need and whether sales inquiries and transactions are produced. By focusing marketing efforts on both ROI and ROO, one can easily manage how the flow of that information to customers produces tangible results—sales revenue.

The Evolution of E-Commerce

by Tiffany Simms

Once upon a time, businesses featured simple websites with the most basic details about products and services in hope of enticing customers to contact them to make the hard sell. Unfortunately or not, those days are long gone. According to a ThomasNet survey, with over 93% of industrial buyers conducting research on prospective purchases completely online, those who don’t offer the information buyers are looking for will find themselves losing out to their competitors without a single instance of personal contact. That’s because 91% of industrial buyers will switch to the website that gives them the most information to make a purchase decision. In ThomasNet’s recent white paper, Aligning Your Online Marketing Strategy with Your Business Plan, they suggest asking these questions:

  • Is your website designed with your prospective buyers’ needs in mind?
  • Could they find the detailed information that they need to do business with you?
  • What changes could you make to your website so it can act as a 24/7 sales channel for your business?

ThomasNet noted that an industrial seller’s website is the #1 factor influencing buying decisions followed closely by search engine leads. Therefore, once a business’ website is geared up to serve as a true e-commerce channel, it must have strategies in place to draw prospective buyers to their online portal. Author CJ Newton noted in Defining SEO Optimization, “[w]inning on the search engines for the searches your customers are doing is hands down the best return on investment for getting your customers and potential customers to your web site. SEOs exist to help companies reach the top.” Using companies like Root Orange, who offer search engine optimization solutions, allow businesses to capitalize on a fully functional consumer-focused website and an increase in web traffic.

The Best Marketing May Be the Cheapest Marketing

by Tiffany Simms

Thanks to the constant evolution of the internet and how people interact with it, marketing for small businesses may be getting cheaper. According to Scott Davis, author of an Advertising Age article, “Don’t Be Afraid to Plunge into Emerging Media,” on average consumers spent 23% percent of their time consuming media online in 2007, which means this is where they should be targeted for advertising exposure.

The explosion of Web 2.0 has granted small businesses the opportunity to reach customers via social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, which costs significantly less than say, through an advertisement in their local newspaper (a full-page ad in the LA Times can run $70,000 compared to $1,000 in a small town’s newspaper). “[T]he use of low-cost web-based marketing tools is playing a strategic role in helping businesses succeed,” stated Laurie McCabe with Hurwitz & Associates in a recent article from eMarketer.com, “Marketing Spending Pays Off for Small Biz.” Hurwitz’s 2009 small business marketing survey revealed two key findings:

  1. Small businesses are shifting to cheaper, digital-based marketing like social media, e-newsletters, and search engines instead of traditional channels
  2. 66% of small businesses expect a revenue jump this year and had increased, or planned to increase their marketing spending, versus those that expect a decline or no change

With low-cost social media and search engine optimization (SEO) marketing solutions now available, the exposure to customer leads isn’t far behind.

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