What’s the ROI of Your Mother?

Are your marketing dollars being spent in the right place?

It’s no secret that social media has changed the game. With the explosion of exciting, interactive opportunities on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn over the past several years, organizations have more touchpoints than ever for reaching their customers.

But with new opportunities come new challenges—and new skills to learn. To succeed in social marketing, it’s not just about how much money you spend, but how effective your social employees are in understanding and meeting your goals.

Show Me the Money!

According to the latest CMO Survey from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, social is poised to take a much larger percentage of marketing budgets in the next five years—from 5.6 percent in 2009 to 20.9 percent by 2021. Naturally, more money spent means more resources at your disposal—which means more social exposure, right?

Perhaps, but today’s CMO’s aren’t convinced. Only 10.2 percent of those surveyed consider an investment in social marketing to be “above average.” And while nearly half (49.8 percent) consider the return on investment “average,” fully 40 percent of those surveyed consider social “below average.”

While it’s true that those reporting average/above average results outnumber those reporting below average results by a ratio of three to two, these numbers are somewhat underwhelming. So what’s going on? If social marketing really is the surefire branding strategy of the future, why aren’t more organizations seeing better results?

In Search of the Bull’s-Eye

There is a famous story that, during a meeting in which he was encouraging an organization to commit to social engagement, evangelist Gary Vaynerchuck was repeatedly asked about the ROI of social. Finally, he got fed up and said, “What is the ROI of your mother?

His point wasn’t to be brash or crude, but simply to assert the nature of intrinsic value: Whether you have the metrics to prove it, you know your mother is incredibly important. Her value extends far beyond cumulative impact. She is, in fact, indispensable.

But while we can all be certain of the value of our mothers, the Duke CMO survey shows that we are far less certain of the value of social. Of the CMOs surveyed, only 11.5 percent said they could measure their social effectiveness through quantitative data, while nearly half—a stunning 47.9 percent—responded that they haven’t been able to determine any impact at all. Couple that with the 40.6 percent who say they have a qualitative idea of the value of social, and that’s 88.5 percent of respondents who either don’t know how to measure their social engagement efforts at all or who only have a vague idea.

Suffice it to say that when an organization just throws money into social marketing without knowing how to measure its own success through clear KPIs and target outcomes, it’s a lot like throwing darts blindfolded: You’ll hit the board every now and then—and if you’re really lucky, you might even hit the bull’s-eye once or twice. But any success you have will be chalked up to luck and very difficult to repeat.

To succeed in social, just as with any branch of marketing, you have to keep both eyes open, get in position, take aim, and then throw your dart. Sure, you’re still not guaranteed to hit a bull’s-eye every single time, but you’ll get on the board, dramatically raise your baseline results, and get better with practice.


Unlock the New Marketing Channel

Join Blue Focus Marketing and Lynda.com, a division of LinkedIn, for our exciting new course, “Social Employees: The New Marketing Channel.”

This 22-part video tutorial course covers all you need to know to activate social employees within your walls—and bring a much-needed boost to your social marketing efforts:

  • Build a social culture and learn to brand from the inside out
  • Master content marketing, social sharing, and customer advocacy best practices
  • Determine the proper KPIs and other benchmarks to measure social success
  • Launch an effective social employee pilot program.

Click here to register. We’re excited to share our latest project with you and hope you will join us for this course!

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Welcome Video:


What you should know before watching this course video.


Culture eats strategy for breakfast.





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Below are recent endorsements for The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, August 2013) by Tom Peters and David Aaker on their social networks, but if you want to see more of their endorsements click here.

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In The Social Employee, we go behind the scenes with several leading brands—such as IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo—pulling the lid off the inspiring social business success stories that have propelled these companies into the 21st century. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.

See what others are saying about The Social Employee and order your copy today!


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“Great brands have always started on the inside, but why are companies taking so long to leverage the great opportunities offered by internal social media? . . . The Social Employee lifts the lid on this potential and provides guidance for businesses everywhere.” JEZ FRAMPTON, Global Chairman and CEO, Interbrand


Amazon_agold-bookThe Social Employee offers an unparalleled behind-the-scenes look at the social business success stories of some of the biggest brand names in the business world, including IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.

The brands that leverage their employee base in order to engage customers and prospects through social media are the ones destined to win the marketing wars. This book not only details the astronomical rise of the social employee, but also outlines the innovative methods that leading companies have employed to foster cultures of enthusiastic and engaged workers.

FORMcGrawHill_RedEWORD by David C. Edelman, Global Co-Leader, Digital Marketing & Sales Practice, McKinsey & Company

AFTERWORD by Kevin Randall, Vice President of Brand Strategy & Research at Movéo Integrated Branding, and journalist for The New York Times, The Economist and Vanity Fair.

Download ~> Free Chapter 3 – “Brands Under Pressure”

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