ROI tops concerns at b-to-b event

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New York--The ability to measure marketing programs continues to pose a challenge for b-to-b marketers, according to panelists at American Business Media's "B-to-B Marketing Day 2003: Where Do We Go From Here?" held Wednesday.

While ROI justification has become even more important in the down economy, panelists agreed it is particularly difficult to measure in b-to-b.

"It's hard to deal with the ROI need because of the long purchasing cycle [for many b-to-b products and services], especially when companies are looking for short-term return," said Michael Scherb, director-corporate branding & advertising at PSEG Services Corp., Newark, N.J.

Nor is ROI measurement only applicable to direct efforts, other panelists said. “We can show the value of brand and how it impacts financial performance,” said Jim Gregory, CEO of Corporate Branding L.L.C., Stamford, Conn., which has measured the correlation between brand and stock performance for the past 13 years.

However, for ROI measurement to work, major organizational gaps have to be bridged, especially between sales and marketing departments. “I can’t tell you how many calls we go on where the sales and marketing departments are introducing themselves to each other,” said Tory Moore, group media director of Carat Business and Technology’s Boston office.

The day-long event, sponsored by American Business Media, the Business Marketing Association, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers, the American Advertising Federation, Audit Bureau of Circulations, BPA International and BtoB magazine, attracted nearly 200 attendees.

--Carol Krol

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