Does not being able to measure your ROI for a given investment make other, more accountable advertising options the smarter choice? You would think so, but there is a reason why businesses have been investing in traditional methods of advertising for decades (and still do). Maybe it’s because it was the only thing available years ago, but in today’s world understanding your own personal tolerance for risk is the greater issue.
Your billboard, television, print, and radio consultants will most assuredly provide you with metrics relating to visibility and penetration, making broad assumptions relating to conversions or actual sales. But at the end of the day most business owners that I talk to answer with “I’m not sure” when I ask them what their ROI is for their creative advertising. Now I’m not here to say you shouldn’t be investing in creative advertising; for most businesses the right portfolio should really be the goal.
A lot has been lost when it comes to the argument between web advertising and creative advertising. Creative consultants say that web advertising is expensive and complicated. Web consultants say that creative isn’t accountable and can also be extremely expensive. I’m here to say that business owners need to come to terms with the strengths of both. Make a decision to effectively manage the risks involved and diversify your portfolio (just like any other investment).
If I know that television advertising isn’t going to provide me an exact ROI for my dollar, but I know it helps grow my business, that’s fine. I’m not saying any traditional business should be doing 100% web or 100% creative; my submission would be to decide how much of your portfolio you want to be accountable and how much of it you want to be simply “proven”. Come to terms with your comfort level regarding how measurable you’d like your investments to be and make smart decisions.