This week I attended an event on thought leadership and ROI. An often complex balance that I have grappled with throughout my career. Heavily discussed at said event, it certainly gave me food for thought - why does it often seem like it is ROI or the highway?
Now don't get me wrong, ROI is certainly important, and I love thought leadership (and the impact it can make) - but when it is used in the right way.
Sometimes the desire for ROI enables a weak thought leadership strategy, and even worse - content that falls flat. It is important to remember that for a piece of content to be considered as thought provoking, it has to then have thought or analysis that is in itself game changing. Otherwise, it isn't thought leadership.
A clear distinction needs to be made between impactful content and easy content; in the hunt for tangible ROI it is all too easy to shift to short-term campaigning in order to pick as much low-hanging fruit as possible.
The right thought leadership has a long-term effect, with long-lasting benefits for a person, or brand. It is only when we stop to focus on and measure the long-term value of thought leadership that we can truly begin to see the full ROI picture.
But focusing only on the immediate ROI of your marketing campaigns can actually be hurting your brand and long-term goals. While immediate results can be strong indicators of how successful your marketing is, the returns can disappear as quickly as they came.