I’ve been reading a lot of great information about ROI and ROE in the incentive and meeting publications. Obviously, these are two very real and very important measuring criteria for making informed business decisions. In the simplest terms, Return on Investment refers to how well your investment of resources–such as money, time, personnel–performed against your desired results. To measure ROI, you might ask yourself, “What did this incentive competition/meeting/special event make people do?” Return on Experience strives to measure more intangible results, such as increasing loyalty, likelihood for improved performance in the future, capturing mind share, and creating enduring memories that sustain, solidify and build relationships. To evaluate ROE, you might ask yourself, “How did this event/meeting/special offering make people feel and how will that impact future business success?”
Personally, I like to employ one additional gauge of success when it comes to establishing working relationships, selecting supplier support, and building strategic partnerships. I call it “ROA”– Return on Anxiety. I believe it to be an essential measurement tool when deciding who to work with… and who to avoid. When choosing suppliers, I need to know that I am working with competent, creative experts who are passionate about what they do—people who share my high standards and can meet my high expectations. Accuracy, time lines, budgets and details matter to me as a Marketing executive, so I expect these to matter to my vendor partners as well. If I find myself having to worry that my supplier partner is not attending to these “big four” essentials, my stress level begins to rise and my ROA meter starts to radiate heat. If I have a suddenly sinking feeling, or a lack of confidence in my supplier partner is sneaking up on me, or if I’m taking heat from higher ups for the underperformance of my support team, then the ratio of anxiety to success is out of balance. What’s more, ROA has a trickle-down effect: When ROA is good, it can invigorate a working team; when it’s bad, it can be demotivating. My ROA results from each completed project will definitely impact whether or not I choose to work with that organization, agency, company or individual again.
You probably have an ROA expectation without even knowing it. ROA may be invisible, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. ROA is relatively easy to measure. A good ROA yields gifts of additional time in a day, peace-of-mind, less frustration, improved health, more smiles, better sleep at night, and a glorious sense of achievement. If you’re finding that your Return on Anxiety ratio is out of balance—that you have greater stress and less results—it’s likely that you have not found the right supplier partner to share your vision. Maybe it’s time for a change.
A 14-year veteran of JNR Incorporated, Maria Dales is
Vice President of Corporate Communications.