In today’s hyper-analytic, big-data business world Return on Investment (ROI) is axiomatic. Don’t even think about running a marketing program, or designing a program, or even thinking about a program before you’ve proven an insanely positive ROI. 

But is that really true?

Do you NEED an ROI on ever marketing effort? And I mean an ROI – a return on $.

I’m going to go rogue here and say no.

Do you do an ROI on your phone system? Probably not. You might shop to get a better value if you can, but you don’t do the whole “increase in profit – investment divided by investment” to get an ROI do you?

What about the free coffee?

Or the refrigerators in the employee break room?

Sometimes It’s Just About Engagement

There are many, many things we do every day in business that don’t lend themselves to an ROI. And that’s okay.

Parts of your incentive program fall into this category. 

Communications – how do you measure that? Measure too soon and the effect isn’t noticed. 

Measure too late and the effect is diluted. 

Yet we know that having ongoing dialogue with your audience is better than not having dialogue.

There may be ways to show anecdotally how increasing communications improves the outcome but a formal ROI is rarely necessary.

When you know something is the right thing to do you don’t need to run a multivariate regression analysis to give you permission to do it.

If the investment is reasonable, and you know in your gut it will have impact. Just do it.

Save the math for figuring out the tip and how much each person at the table owes at the next team lunch at Applebee’s.