Nerds and ROI: 3 Tips from the 2014 DMAW Bridge Conference


If you were at the 2014 DMAW Bridge Conference on the afternoon of Friday, July 11th, you might have heard a lot of cheering and clapping coming from room Annapolis 4. While it may have been the boxes of Nerds that were handed out, we’d like to think all the excitement was over the presentation on ROI analysis given by’s Senior Client Manager Tatiana Marshall along with our friends at M+R Strategic Services and the League of Conservation Voters.

When acquiring new supporters online, it’s crucial to understand how to calculate your return on investment, but it can often seem as if it’s an inscrutable, mysterious calculus. Tatiana, along with Vanessa Kritzer, the Director of Digital Strategy at LCV, and Marc Ruben, Senior Vice President at M+R, demystified the math and discussed the variety of tests that you can be using to optimize your online acquisitions (see where the Nerds come in?).

Choose your tests

Tatiana broke down the variety of different tests you can use to see whether an acquisition is successful. For example, if you’re looking to see what channel provides the best bang for your buck with new supporters, use the same content across a number of different acquisition sources so you’re comparing apples to apples. Are you more curious about what content brings in the most engaged new folks to your list? Use one channel, but try two or three content areas and track their performance. And don’t forget about setting internal benchmarks–if you don’t know what success looks like, you won’t know when you’ve achieved it.

Don’t trust your gut

Vanessa and Marc pulled the curtain back to talk about LCV’s strategy when it comes to online acquisition. The bottom line? In almost every other aspect of life, it’s often advised to trust your gut. When it comes to testing content, the exact opposite is true. Test everything, and test often. Whether it’s through different channels, different content, or nitty-gritty details like different subject lines on welcome messages, you never know what’s going to work–or what’s going to bomb–until you try it.

Check your calendar

Finally, when it comes to content, aside from testing everything (it’s worth repeating!), Vanessa touched on a best practice we often share with clients here at always recruit new supporters on topics that you are actually going to be messaging your list about. That way, when people sign up, they know what to expect from your organization.

Have any other great ROI tips you’d like to share? Give us a shout at @ChangeOrgs or leave a comment below with what you’ve learned. Huge thanks to Vanessa and Marc, and the teams at LCV and M+R for nerding out with us on ROI!


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