A New Way to Look at Return: Return on Objectives

By Tina Rutherford, posted on July 20, 2019

Jeff Baker, CEO Image 4, Chair, Future Branches

I recently read a deeply enlightening article by a marketing colleague of mine (thanks Mel!) on the difference between ROI (Return on Investment) and ROO (Return on Objectives) Read it yourself here: https://classicexhibits.com/tradeshow-blog/.

ROI is a financial metric and, as author Stephan Murtagh notes, is dependent on the accuracy of data input, and how you choose to evaluate the output.

ROO is a much more strategic concept – and perhaps far more valuable.

In the projects Image 4 designs and delivers, many outcomes are tangible and measurable, but not always financial. ROO is a more holistic, executive look at the efficacy of any marketing execution – not just a trade show event.

As an example, Image 4 is headed to the most important show in one of our industry verticals. Image 4 is a known, respected, yet still-emerging provider in this market. So, while we do have financial metrics that we believe will reveal the value of the trade show from a financial perspective, we also have numerous strategic objectives that, if executed successfully, will positively affect our business for years to come. We’re also market-testing a new service line and positioning (not too much riding on this show!)

At this event, it’s important for us to present as the major service provider that we are. It’s also critical to clearly message what we are providing, and to whom. Credibility counts, so we intend to showcase the awards we’ve won and the client recognition we’ve received. All of this can be called Brand Building – a critical, but not financially measurable, business function.

Our sales and service objectives include uncovering new opportunities and learning about new business. And, of course, we always want to solidify existing relationships and get feedback on past and current projects – all in the interest of delivering the optimum experience for our constituents.

Since we’re a national provider, we’ll have the opportunity to invest time with our far-flung client network, which potentially reduces our sales staff travel time and costs.

Also, critically, our executive team will take the pulse of the industry. We’ll learn trends, industry news, talent shifts, project success and failures – right from the source. This information is so valuable as we look over the horizon into our 3-year plan.

I like the concept of ROO. It helps keep my eyes up and looking forward, and my brain thinking large and integrated.

Return on Objectives. Connect with me to share your thoughts or experiences around larger, more effective thinking. Because as always, It’s About the Experience®.


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