Yesterday I participated in my first TTMM event, and spoke on ROI. Like any first contact situation, you know they have their points of view, value systems, and language. And the least you can do is have knowledge of why you think the way you do, and why.

I told the story about how different versions of ROI is rooted well before anybody in the room had been born. And it’s such a contentious issue because it goes directly to one’s being. ROI is the reflection of your own worth to an organization, and naturally, as such, it’s going to be contended.

The approach taken in the Syncapse Value of a Fan study was selected for a very specific reason – emphasizing a longer view of time and an emphasis on the monetary value of relationships. The approach taken with Earned Media Value is selected for being very direct, rapid, and comparable with other mediums. They both correspond to a personal concept of time and the value of relationships. Recurring LTV versus instant Impressions.

The biggest cleavage that emerged in the subsequent hour was around a different fundamental belief. For a marketing scientist, CEO, CFO, CMO – the dependent variable is always money. There are many independent variables, of which, one of them is relationships. Relationships can be an important source of sustainable competitive advantage. However, relationships are an independent variable, not the dependent one. In business, the reason why you build relationships with customers, suppliers, governments and employees is to realize sustained money. It’s not simply or purely out of altruism.

Other organizations seek good relationships to achieve sustainable competitive advantage. Typically though, it boils down to money, even for a non-profit or a not-for-profit.

I didn’t anticipate this difference in belief, and I’m happy to have discovered it.

I thank Joseph Thornley for the opportunity to come out and speak to a new audience, and look forward to carrying on the discussion.