Media scorecard: How ROI adds up

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No marketing medium, regardless of how cutting edge it is, can elude being measured for return on investment. That's the assertion of the ROI mavens at Marketing Management Analytics, a marketing effective and accountability specialist that has worked for a list of Fortune 500 companies.

A group of MMA experts agreed to rate the ROI measurability of 13 media, and rate each on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being most measurable. One attribute to watch for is interactivity. Direct and Internet won a 5 rating because they generate a lot of response data, and the more data, the better the measurement.

The marketer's goal should be to use metrics that can be applied to various brands and media, but there's also danger in a "one size fits all" approach. For example, media dynamics could change depending on marketer type. The payback point is completely different for a package good with a 25ยข margin per pack vs. a drug with a margin of $200 a bottle. Also, different categories have different levels of consumer responsiveness because of the thought that goes in a purchase-consideration varies widely on buying a car, a drug or a deodorant.

The goal is to measure the short-term effect on sales for such marketing efforts. Short term is the precursor to long term, and longer-term effects are better tracked by extended analysis of brand health. But short-term effects can be acted on in the span of a fiscal year, and a marketer can't have a positive long-term effect without good short-term effects.

Once the marketer has its ROI measurements, it must apply them to its media plan. However, MMA notes, marketers' "analytic maturity" varies widely. Analyzing the 13 media were Ed See, exec VP-chief operating officer; John Nardone, exec VP-chief client officer; Vinit Doshi, senior VP-analytical solutions group; and Doug Brooks, director-product development, marketing and user experience.