It doesn't surprise me. It's the same question I was asked when I was selling sixty-second radio commercials in the eighties.
No one has ever been big about investing in marketing without an assurance that it will make them more money. Everyone wants to know what the ROI is. They want proof that all those Instagram followers will translate into cash in the same way they always wanted to know exactly how many customers one television spot in the early news would.
The real truth is there is no one straight direct line. I'd argue there really never has been. But there will always be people trying to prove one by offering a multitude of data that often misses the real point.
Marketing today has changed in that it is about creating meaningful conversations with people who are interested in what you have to say and at some point willing to plunk down their credit card to buy your wares. Digital technology has provided an avalanche of tools through which you can do that.
But if the needle is not moving, and by that I mean revenue is not increasing, the real reasons remained unchanged. They are not quantifiable. They are one or more of the following:
1-Your story is fuzzy and not relatable. As Michael Margolis said so well,"Technology is just the means, not the ends in itself. The story is what's really at stake." If I can't figure out what your story is, I'll be going elsewhere. I don't have time to try and decipher it.
2-Your solution to my problem is unclear. It's wordy. It's not succinct. I can't figure out how you might help me. In fact I'm not sure you even know what my real problems are. It's a noisy, busy world out there. If you're not making it easy for me to absorb, you've lost me before you had a chance to convert me.
3-There isn't a market for what you got. Maybe what you got ain't all that great. That's a tough one to own up to but one worth taking a look at.
4-No one believes you. Whether you are a brand or an individual profile on LinkedIn looking for a new job, if you come across as untrustworthy or not authentic, no one will listen to your message no matter how many social networks you are engaging with. Consequently they won't buy, convert or call you in for an interview.
5-You forgot to ask for the order. Today, we like to refer to that as a Call to Action. Primarily because we like to not use the word "sell". We prefer conversion. It sounds less harsh. But the end result we are looking for is the same. Moving the needle.