ROI on community.

I have been asked many times about the ROI of community projects like ChangeEverything.ca. Up until last month I had an answer, but it wasn’t very good, and I can’t even remember what it was any more. Just some mumbling about how we can’t measure ROI on everything.

At Net.Finance I heard Michael Seaton speak and he asked the audience, “What’s the ROI on a round of golf or lunch with a client?” I loved it. If a company is interested in being innovative, some money has to go towards projects where the ROI cannot be expressed ahead of time. You have to try it and see if it works. Certainly I wouldn’t recommend this for more than, say, 10% of your marketing or development budget. But if you want to innovate you have to have a little fun money to play with for experimentation purposes (rumour has it that Google developers can spend 10% of their time on side projects, that can end up creating important innovations).

And then, via Colin I came across this post by Will Pate: Online Community Success and ROI. He has found metrics and stats from a variety of sources indicating the benefits that community features will give to a website’s ROI. Nicely done.

Thanks Colin and thanks Will…

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