How Do You Deal With the Question of ROI on Research?

I saw a great quote on Twitter last week. I’m paraphrasing here, but it went something like, “Why do corporations question the ROI of social media…shouldn’t they be worried about the ROI on endless meetings?” Anyone who has sat through endless meetings can appreciate the humor in that. But the quote also reminded me that ROI is a challenge for this industry, as well. It’s a question most clients want answered — especially those who have little or no experience with research. But as most researchers know, that’s easier said than done.

Bob Lederer, who led last month’s ROI on MR conference in Chicago, says ROI is seen as dubious by many, and it’s not something researchers often are prepared for. The danger, though, is that clients who want an answer about ROI and don’t get it could take that as a sign that they should slash their research budgets.

So how do you discuss ROI with clients without making them even more hesitant about the merits of research?

Cristin Malone of B2B International offers a few ideas in this blog post, but we’d also like to hear from our readers. How often does ROI come up? And when it does, how do you address it? Any tips to share with your fellow researchers?

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