Tuesday, August 14, 2007

ROI in Hispanic Marketing

I am fully in favor of having every investment return a profit. Not only a profit that is commensurate with the investment but better than other alternatives would have provided. Lately, however, ROI, or return on investment, has become a fixture in marketing parlance but it has been loosing force and significance. Looking at ROI, Costumer Lifetime Value, and other measures of profitability one notices that one needs to have a baseline or history, or one has to make assumptions.

That is the problem. In Hispanic marketing we need to make assumptions most of the time because we do not generally have historical data. ROI becomes a roadblock more than a value proposition in Hispanic Marketing programs. Why? Because lacking historical data, high level managers can also say that lacking substantive data to figure their return on investment they prefer the status quo. That is a sad state of affairs. ROI, can in fact become the argument against Hispanic marketing programs.

It is sort of a circular problem. Without prior data we cannot reliably calculate future return on investment, and without ROI calculations Hispanic marketing programs do not get funded. In my opinion marketing creativity suffers because of this. Most successful entrepreneurs follow their intuition when starting their ventures. It is also true that many fail. But without taking risks, how can anyone succeed.

My editorial is that we should always try to calculate how much a Hispanic marketing program can return to the company/brand, but when such calculation is more of a figment of our imagination than reality, then let us talk about entrepreneurship. Let us not stifle innovation and growth in a new marketing era because we can not come up with solid calculations. You know the story of the pendulum. ROI was totally ignored in the late 90's and now it is dogma. Should not there be a middle ground?