New Marketing Labs posted an interesting interview on their blog with Miriam Kutcher, VP of Marketing at research firm IDC Insights about their new community launched last March. Miriam and a group of IDC analysts worked for most of 2009 establishing the community to address needs in their research verticals.
She generously shares their goals and details the “scorecard” approach she uses to track return on the community.
The scorecard Miriam developed has 3 sections:
- Traffic – using Google Analytics, she looks and general traffic trends, where the traffic comes from, and how other electronic marketing efforts like newsletters and webinars affects the site traffic.
- Membership – community members who have identified themselves as “IT Buyers” (or recommenders) are the key audience IDC wants to reach, so increasing this number is a critical indicator.
- Revenue – this is a little laborious, but Miriam manually matches IT Buyers from the community to their Salesforce.com CRM system. This tells IDC a couple things:
- How many new prospects the community has attracted (60% of the community IT Buyers are new to IDC), and therefore, what new opportunities may lie with this group, and;
- How much new revenue all members of the community have brought to IDC: this process is more intuitive and subjective, since Miriam removes sales from things like repeat customer renewals and already-active customers.
IDC is actively trying to understand and measure the benefit from this community, which is sound business practice. Miriam tells the interviewer they have been able to directly attribute $485,000 in new business as a result of the community. Pretty impressive.
So, that’s the “R” of ROI, but what’s the “I”? The blog entry and video interview do not reveal this number, which is unfortunate, because it makes the story incomplete.
It’s reasonable to assume the cost of establishing and maintaining the community was less than what seems to be a substantial return. But that’s an assumption. We were involved in project of this nature that had an 8-figure budget, so you can’t assume ROI without knowing both parts of the equation.
Which makes this a difficult ‘case study’ to repeat as an example of success since every decision-maker will always have ROI on their mind.
If I ever uncover the missing piece to this ROI story, I’ll update it here.