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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Activity Is Interesting, Results Matter

Written by  Duane Bailey

When I was in sales, I learned to appreciate the importance of results. I also learned to measure each and every one of my activities by the return on investment, or ROI, I would receive. If the activity helped me close more sales and its cost was reasonable, I would continue it. If it did not, I simply stopped doing it. In the results-oriented world of direct selling, activity is interesting and results matter.

In the marketing world, I often encounter others who seemingly place far greater emphasis on their activities than they do on the results of those activities. While marketing activities like research and analytics, development of promotional materials, and even branding are interesting per se, they should be deliberate and purposeful. The ROI on these activities should be measured in part by the top line results they produce – new customers or members, incremental revenues or donations, higher customer satisfaction rates, improved earnings, and increases in brand awareness or loyalty, etc. These top line results need to be weighed against the cost of achieving them, or their bottom-line impact on your organization.

As you take stock of your current marketing initiatives, identify the specific ROI you are anticipating from each. Do this by asking the following questions:

• What specific top line result(s) are you hoping to achieve with each marketing initiative?
• What is your timeline for results?
• What is the cost of each initiative (in terms of time, energy, and resources)?
• Are there ways to lower or minimize these costs?
• How will you measure success?

Remember, the mere fact an activity is interesting does not mean it will result in a desired benefit to your organization. As Winston Churchill once noted, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results”.

Duane Bailey

Duane Bailey

Duane Bailey is a regular contributor to The Chief Storyteller® online conversation. He has helped organizations of all sizes drive growth in revenues and market share through the development and delivery of key business messages that resonate with target audiences. He holds an MBA in International Business and a BS in Marketing. He brings 28 years of experience in marketing communications and high technology sales.

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