Digital Marketing Sucks: No ROI from social media: Elephant story

Digital Marketing Sucks: No ROI from social media: Elephant story

The story I am going to share is one of the oldest stories I have heard in management.

A business man once went to Kerala where he saw gigantic elephants tethered with a small rope that was hammered to the ground with a big nail. Now, these ropes were definitely not strong enough to hold back this majestic mammoth.
So the question this businessman asked the elephant’s trainer was, ‘Why do they stay tied down when they can easily pull up, get out or break the rope and be free?
The trainer replied saying, “All of these elephants are tied to similar ropes right from the time when they are just babies. At that stage, when these baby elephants try to pull the rope, it learns that it can’t break it or get out of it and then …….. well, it then never tries again.

Social media digital marketing case studies ROI
Digital Marketing – The ELEPHANT Story

This is the story I shared with a CEO of one of the Travel and Tourism companies recently, when he expressed to me that he and his team had tried using a particular social networking site for actual ROI, but to their dismay, nothing worked. 

So they simply stopped trying and started posting random tour offers and updates about their company’s new tours, deals, offers and new exclusive campaigns once in two days across social sites. 

His exact quote was: Digital Marketing Sucks, there is no ROI from social media.

So he wanted to meet me and understand, why have I always been so positive and pro about using digital medium for business revenue and growth.

This elephant story that I have shared above, often reminds us how we always tend to underestimate ourselves and all of it because we gave up after just one try.

Of course, after hearing the CEO’s side and views about social media ROI, I then shared few case studies from our Digital agency which showcased how our Digital marketing social media agency generated actual ROI for few of our client brand partners. The ROI we generated for them was in the form of:
– Actual Sales conversions using Digial marketing Social media
– Quality leads and enquiries
– Targeted brand engagement and mentions across specific demographics
– Other metrics which the clients had expressed as core for their stakeholders and customer engagement.
All of this during a specific time period.

I took him through different strategies that we used across different industries and clients and customers for certain campaigns who were spread even across varied countries.

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The point is, if we have tried something and it failed, it does not mean it can’t be done.

It just means that we need to look at newer ways to make it work by looking at people or examples or case studies around us of how someone else made it work. The learning curve never ends. 

The most important aspect is, to have faith and keep working towards it by constantly improvising it.

I am grateful that, we as a Digital agency have acquired over 74% of our clients through social media alone and even as a Digital Marketing professional, the businesses that I have worked with as a Speaker and or a Corporate Trainer for Social media, branding, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, have also been acquired through social media (at least 75-80% of them).

The only point is, to give it time and be ready to make edits to the campaign strategy at every stage, watch the metrics and analytics, understand how they behave, how consumers and prospects respond to a particular tone of message from the brand or to an offer and re-work accordingly.

Brands today have a role much more responsible than ever before, i.e. to connect with the customer within

pablo (28)

  • Be ready to LEARN and UNLEARN throughout. For eg. I met a digital marketer recently who was convinced that XYZ strategy will never work, which is strange because the field, technology, tools, process and consumer preferences are so rapidly changing at every stage, that an attitude of “I KNOW ALL Or that I AM AN EXPERT” can be devastating for a brand online (whether they are startups or established brands). Always keep learning and making things better.
  • Work during time zones as per your demographics. Automation throughout is never advisable. Remember, it is “social media” so ensure to keep the connect and trust with your end users in real-time.
  • Be ready to work towards specific clear goals over a justified timeline.

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Social media and digital marketing can do wonders if you have the right set of team who understand what this medium can really do and focus on working towards a common goal for their organization.

Feel free to reach me for queries on Digital Marketing, Branding and Social Media: Click here to Reach me using our Quick form link Would be glad to connect.

Let’s connect: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Social Media Book – Digital Marketing Corporate Training

Ananth V


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