Sunday, April 7, 2024

A Roas is a Roas is a Roas

Everyone knows 'ROI' right? Hey, what's the ROI? We need better ROI!

ROI stands for "Return on Investment." It is a financial metric used to evaluate the profitability or efficiency of an investment relative to its cost. ROI is expressed as a percentage and is calculated by dividing the net profit (or gain) generated from the investment by the cost of the investment, and then multiplying the result by 100 to express it as a percentage.

The formula for calculating ROI is: (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) x 100%

For example, if you invest $10,000 in a project and it generates $15,000 in revenue, with total costs (including the initial investment) amounting to $12,000, then the net profit would be $3,000 ($15,000 - $12,000). So, the ROI in this scenario would be 30%.

ROI is a critical metric in evaluating the performance of investments and comparing the efficiency of different investment opportunities. It helps businesses and investors assess whether the returns generated by an investment justify the costs incurred to make that investment.

Ah, but it was only recently, at 63 years old, that 'ROAS' came into my life. 

ROAS stands for "Return on Advertising Spend." It is a marketing metric that measures the revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising. ROAS helps businesses evaluate the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns by comparing the revenue generated from those campaigns to the amount spent on them. 

ROAS is calculated by dividing the revenue generated from advertising by the advertising spend. For example, if a company spends $1,000 on advertising and generates $5,000 in revenue from that advertising, the ROAS would be 5 ($5,000 / $1,000).

A higher ROAS indicates that the advertising campaign is more effective at generating revenue, while a lower ROAS suggests that the campaign may not be delivering a positive return on investment. ROAS is commonly used in online advertising, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, but it can also be applied to other forms of advertising. Like Trade Shows. 

TRADE SHOWS!!!!!  What is the ROAS for Trade Shows??? Ah, glad you asked. 

I have been attending Trade Shows and Events since the 80s. Ah yes, travel, hotel, food, cost of the event itself. Sometimes the cost of a booth at the show. Sometimes pre/post show marketing. I remember (around 30 years ago) attending CES and I gave out (literally) 50,000 GE Exchange promotional prepaid phone cards - that was a big thing back in the days of payphones. I am feeling old even saying payphones... Yep, GE was in the 'Long Distance Phone Business' back in the day. I am feeling old even saying 'Long Distance' but I digress. 

Last month the (now global) DLA did the Enterprise Connect event in Orlando and Adobe Summit event in Las Vegas - at the same time. We had 6,000+ attend EC'24 LIVE and 11,700+ in Vegas - again LIVE. We figure 10X that number attend some or all of the events virtually.   

This was the first time we used customer engagement and marketing automation software (properly, deeply) for LIVE events. There are many competitive tools in the marketplace, but last month we used Dotdigital. 

Dotdigital is a global provider of customer engagement and marketing automation software. The company offers a platform called Dotdigital Engagement Cloud, formerly known as Dotmailer. Dotdigital's platform enables businesses to create, manage, and analyze various digital marketing campaigns, including email marketing, SMS marketing, social media marketing, and more.

The Dotdigital Engagement Cloud platform provides features such as email campaign creation and customization, contact segmentation, marketing automation workflows, personalization, analytics and reporting, and integrations with other marketing and CRM tools. Turns out that Dotdigital is a major partner with Adobe, hence their booth at the Adobe Summit. 

Businesses use Dotdigital's platform to engage with their customers across different channels, deliver personalized experiences, drive customer acquisition and retention, and ultimately improve their marketing effectiveness and ROI.

Dotdigital serves a wide range of industries, including retail, e-commerce, travel and hospitality, financial services, and nonprofit organizations. The company's software is designed to help businesses of all sizes, from small startups to large enterprises, enhance their digital marketing efforts and build stronger relationships with their customers.

AND SO... we loaded the 6,000+ LIVE attendees from Orlando and the 11,700+ LIVE attendees from Las Vegas into the Dotdigital 'transmogrifier' machine, and for the first time (in my career) we had an ROAS for LIVE trade shows. 

ROAS = (Amount gained from Trade Show / Amount Spent on Trade Show) x 100 

Our ROAS for these two events is tracking at 3600%.  In other words, we are getting $36 for every $1 spent via the Orlando and Vegas events. This...... is good. Like, very very good. 

I am not a CMO by profession, but I do own a calculator. And as a business owner, 3600% ROAS are HOF numbers for me. (Hall of Fame). And here is the "Inside Baseball" secret that most folks don't know about Trade Shows and ROAS.

It costs TIME and MONEY to attend an event LIVE. That's it. That's the big secret. 

Travel, food, the booth, add it all up. There were probably 150+ booths in Orlando and 300+ booths in Las Vegas. So THOSE companies spent $$$ for their 3 or 4 days at the venue. I saw some booths that had 10, 20 or more STAFF at their booths. That's 10 or 20 hotel rooms, 10 or 20 plane tickets, 10 or 20 UBER rides, etc.  It adds up fast.  AND SO.....

The people who PHYSICALLY attend an event - they TOO have their own little ROAS to worry about. Everyone who travels to a LIVE event has their own opportunity costs baked in. No one 'wants' to go to trade shows - they want the RESULTS of going to trade shows! They want the positive BUSINESS OUTCOMES of physically attending a trade show or physically attending an industry event - LIVE

We can now track the ROAS of the people who attended an event LIVE vs. someone who attended an event virtually. It's not even close. If someone goes to your website and downloads a PDF, hey that's great. If they attend one of your webinars, cool. 

But if some spends the 'time and treasure' to attend an event LIVE - they too are looking for a business outcome

Turns out that CFOs love, LoVe, LOVE things like ROI and ROAS.  And if you are a solopreneur, then YOU ARE the CFO. 

Full Disclosure: The DLA is now the North American Partner for Dotdigital. Why? Because I do indeed own a calculator. And MATH I understand. Advanced Calculus? Not so much. But math... yeah I got that nailed. 

If you want your own free trial account of the Dotdigital transmogrifier machine (tip of the hat to Calvin and Hobbes) just go to as I like sharing my toys. Hey, it's a member benefit! 

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