The Softer Side of Marketing ROI
I hear the terms “hard ROI” and “soft ROI” quite a bit, so I want to evaluate what this means in a two-part blog series. First, I will look at what is meant by “soft ROI,” since I’m feeling warm-and-fuzzy today. The next post will cover how to measure it.
In reviewing what others have to say about soft vs. hard ROI, soft ROI is described as those activities that lend a human face to a company, earn trust for a brand, increase positive image, increase collaboration, help to recruit and retain high quality personnel, shorten costly cycles, and so on. Generally, it is those benefits that are difficult to measure but help to achieve worthwhile objectives.
Some activities of soft ROI, being more qualitative, may be:
- Engaging people as part of something larger then themselves.
- Making people proud of who they are and their values.
- Providing an experience, rather than just a product/service, that can be passed down to their children.
- Giving people a voice in how resources are used or treated.
- Soliciting the best of the character in a person.
- Allowing people to participate in a process that improves a situation.
So how can we put increasing soft ROI into business practices? I’d like to using as example a product that could benefit from a focus on the softer side of ROI: eggs.
- I would rather buy eggs, even if it costs me more, that are Certified Humane Raised and Handled®.
- I would like to participate in a community that believes in and promotes the purchase of Certified Humane Raised and Handled® products.
- I would like to visit farms that participate in this program and share that experience with young people.
- I would like farms that participate in this program to install video cameras in their facility to view their treatment of animals online.
- I would also like those farms to enlist their community of purchasers in discussions about how to improve their treatment of farm animals (e.g. hens beyond their prime egg-laying years could be adopted).
In the effort of creating hard ROI we have to be mindful to create soft ROI results as well, which is also good for business and creates long-lasting results.