For Communication and Marketing professionals, the term ROI has an interesting Jekyll and Hyde ability to both be the stuff of dreams, but also of nightmares. With seemingly more phrases invented every day in the hope of better understanding our effort-to-outcome ratio, it’s understandable that as an industry we have a bit of a headache.

In between the day-to-day fires that need to be extinguished, the projects that land on your desk at the last minute, or the new ideas that spark during your train ride into the office – there’s not a lot of time left in the day to reflect. We don’t have a spare moment to sit down and really think about what went out the door, where it went, how it performed, what could be leveraged or learned from, let alone to package up an overview of the overall impact against investment.

While there are many steps we can take to make measurement and analysis of our activities simpler, an interesting change has occurred that – like most ROI conversations – is one we’re not yet comfortable with.

Given the explosion of channels, formats and the ways in which we can now interact with content (whether it’s a blog, press release or tweet), the ability to gauge impact by media type has become increasingly complex. On one hand, you have a fairly straight-forward pattern – like a blog from a company website which is then shared on social channels and reshaped as the case may be. On the other hand, you could have a story that sparks from a singular event which is picked up and discussed across TV and broadcast while also setting off a flurry of audience-generated memes on social – dominating the Twitter-sphere for the next 24hrs.

Which begs the question, how does one measure impact and make sense of the relative investment if there is no clear ‘home’?

While this may sound like splitting hairs, the ability to craft something that will have a viral impact sparks the same Jekyll and Hyde feelings within us all. You have the power to generate attention across a massive audience – and could arguably have more impact if you’re seeking awareness or exposure. However, pulling together a report on this activity amidst the aftermath presents itself to be both complex and painful – particularly if you’re accountable for every dollar. Not to mention the question of integrity given the volume of information, stories and content served to everyone across the globe – with no current index to which everyone can map

As measurement grows in complexity, the ability to capture and leverage an insight service that helps you to make sense of your activity is crucial – allowing you to continue focusing on the juggle between fires, last minute press releases, interviews and more. As the industry continues to evolve, the challenges we

face are set to continue becoming increasingly intertwined. This is where real data intelligence will step in – not only providing clarity to make media pay their way, but to also simplify the effort needed to make such leaps happen.

 If you’re looking to better understand how to capture, manage and measure your media, feel free to reach out to our team.

Gill Matthews, Marketing Director at Isentia

As also featured on Mumbrella.