Recently I had the opp to speak on a panel at an MITX-hosted gig called: To Tweet or Not To Tweet. I usually pass on speaking opps. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, it’s just that I like to do my own thing and fly below the self-promotion radar. However, I think MITX is one of BoTech’s (Boston Technology…yup, I just made that up) biggest assets. In a recent blog post I talked about how Boston’s tech brand image sucks eggs. In this case, it is the perception that trumps reality because there is actually a lot of hot shizz going on here. Like anyone playing in BoTech I think we all have a responsibility to improve the perception, so I agreed to participate. Moreover, there isn’t much I wouldn’t do to help Kiki Mills, MITX’s straight shooting Executive Director. We need more people like Kiki who leave the bullshit behind and tell it like it is.
The panel included a lineup of hot shits who didn’t have a drop of ego juice flowing through their body: CC Chapman, Co-Founder/Managing Partner of The Advance Guard, Phil Johnson, CEO, PJA Advertising & Marketing, and David Puner (aka Dunkin Dave), Media Relations Manager, Dunkin Brands. These guys kept it real and weren’t there to promote their own personal brand like so many of today’s social media icons and their subsequent nonversations. I’m pretty sure all the panelists could make a living doing stand up and this translated into an insight-rich, comedic-infused 90-minute thread of discussion.
Many peeps in the audience were interested in how you measure Twitter’s ROI. There was a honkin’ live discussion with the panel and I received a ton of follow up inquiries, emails, and tweets on the subject after the session. My perspective is quite simple: Twitter is free, therefore if one positive thing happens you have a positive ROI. Seriously dudes. If a single tweet from Dunkin Dave acts as the catalyst for the sale of one donut, the ROI has just leapfrogged the ROI of all other marketing initiatives combined because it didn’t cost a penny.
I totally empathize with the marketing and PR peeps in the audience who have some MBA-crowned CFO up their butt pushing them to prove the ROI. Earth to Finance dipshit, show me some other communications initiative that is free and positively impacts sales and brand perception while allowing for an ongoing dialogue with your customers. I suggest the CFO step out of his or her comfort zone that hasn’t changed since he/she first started making love to spreadsheets. What cracks me up most is that the marketing and PR peeps — who are viewed by some Finance heads as gum on their shoe — have actually produced a marketing initiative that is free yet they are being interrogated like a prisoner of war regarding ROI. What’s up with that? Here’s an idea, once you have launched Twitter, take all the money out of the research line item in the budget. Don’t reallocate the money to any other marketing program, just let it go to the bottom line. In addition to the gajillion other things Twitter can do, it can replace all the expensive, highly-limited perspective a company gets from traditional research initiatives like focus groups.
What are your thoughts on Twitter’s ROI?
Disclaimer: In this post I am poking fun at the stereotypical Finance head. Not all Finance peeps have this perspective…in the same way all PR people are not flaks looking to pitch lies to the media, all Sales peeps are not self-centered, money-driven slobs and all lawyers are not ambulance chasers. Just havin’ some fun while hopefully imparting insight.