ROS stands for Return on Strategy. It’s a chop block on the pop marketing term ROI which stands for Return On Investment (for members of the clan of the cave bear). ROI is an important marketing measure but way more tactical and transitory than ROS. ROI without a strong understanding of Return On Strategy can do more harm than good – prolonging a misguided marketing plan. (“Weeee, our cost per customer is down!”)
In order to measure marketing strategy one must first have a strategy. Make more money is not a marketing strategy, nor is sell more products. For a hospital system, I once arrayed a number of measures that would positively impact the bottom line: patients per year, percentage of beds occupied, recruitment of excellent physicians, reduction in number of in-hospital infections, out-migration to the city, consumer perception of clinical excellence. The marketing director and even the ad agency principals pushed back “Advertising can’t do all these things.”
My response? “Sure it can — if we articulate the right strategy.” One needs to know all the important measures of success before developing a brand or marketing strategy. The next step is to prioritize those measures. Some will be at odds with others and decisions must be made. Others will be tougher to move based on competitor entrenchment. However, once all of the key performance indicators (KPI) or measures are known and prioritized based on product and marketing realities and brand vision, the strategy can be determined. And over time — measured. That’s the real weeee. Peace!