Measuring and proving ROI is essential for driving successful business anytime, but it’s especially important in a down economy. All areas of the business should measure profitability on all activities rather than base decisions on anecdotal or “gut” evidence. Now, more than ever, the marketing department is in the hot seat – 89% of CMOs are being pressured for more measurability. While measuring the value of social applications may seem daunting, our recent webinar proved how social marketing can make huge impacts to business. Sam Decker, Bazaarvoice CMO, and Geoffrey Robertson, VP of E-Commerce for JCWhitney, led this lively discussion.

Key takeaways

Sam emphasized that we need to start by driving social content and interactions with consumers closest to where commerce occurs, near the points of interaction between the brand and consumer. This brings everyone into the conversation, even those who do not contribute, and helps all become better informed. After determining where/how to collect content, determine where to amplify this content. This should also occur nearest to the product purchasing path. Bring the content in to where they are looking to buy. When you do this it makes it a lot easier to measure the effectiveness on the purchasing decision.

When measuring ROI, the closer you align to the P&L, the better. Helpful analysis to perform should be around visits, conversion, AOV, revenue per email, click-thru rates, return rate reduction, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, intent to buy, etc. Sam also recommends a methodic approach when implementing your social commerce strategy. Start with one program, measure its effectiveness, add to it, measure, and repeat. Ensure the successful growth of your strategy by measuring along the way.

When implementing Bazaarvoice Ratings & Reviews and Ask & Answer, JC Whitney identified their key high-level objectives then evaluated how social applications would help drive those goals. They determined the specific metrics to measure, put analytic tools in place, and created an ongoing action plan.

Geoffrey shares these metrics across the company, so everyone feels the impact on the business – he got several departments involved at the beginning of the project.

JC Whitney increased sales of 4- and 5-star products by 8-16%. They improved ratings of low-rated products by 37% when working with external vendors, and they reduced product returns by 80% among products with more than 20 questions and answers.

The bottom line? JC Whitney has many happy people across many areas of the business.
If you missed the webinar, ask your Community Manager to send it along.

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