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The ROI of sharing

Don’t you just love it when you learn something accidentally? I sure do, because those brushes with serendipity can have a huge impact on your long-term success.

Let me explain what I mean by sharing a quick story:

Some time ago, I was approached by some colleagues in charge of managing of a different part of HSN’s digital business. They felt that there was a lot of opportunity to leverage SEO – one of the channels that I manage – in order to drive incremental revenue and market penetration. I agreed, and decided to pitch in some of my marketing budget in order to bring in a new vendor that could help capture some of that SEO opportunity for this particular portion of the business.

To be fair, I felt that there was something in it for me (e.g. generating incremental natural search revenue in aggregate) and so I didn’t think much about sharing my resources. However, what I didn’t realize at the time was how this relatively small sharing gesture would result in a significant surge in collaboration, implementation, and general advocacy on the part of this particular division. In fact, the amount of effort and emphasis that this group provided extended beyond SEO and into one of the other channels that I manage.

And the result has been obvious lift in ROI for both of these channels as well as a much stronger sense of rapport between my team and this parallel business group.

I share this because it frankly had not occurred to me that the simple act of sharing resources could have such a profound reciprocal impact. And looking back, I’ve come to realize that this phenomenon is not simply limited to sharing marketing budget. It could be sharing an agency resource, or helping build a presentation, or sharing employee or intern resources, etc.

I think that a lot of us marketers get stuck in the weeds of tactical implementation and strategic planning. That creates the potential for a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to allocating resources (e.g. what can we do to support and grow our own channels). If you fear that you might perhaps be falling victim to this mindset, take a moment to step back and think through ways that you and your team can add value to your counterparts within the organization (and if you’re on the agency or freelance side of the coin, advise your clients to do so).

As I recently found out, this can pay huge dividends when your counterparts decide to return the favor.


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  • http://www.organicseoconsultant.com/ Miguel Salcido

    Great post Hugo. Its amazing what can be achieved when we work together!

    Another thing to mention is that any simple, or complex, act of sharing can lead to much greater reciprocation further down the road. So if you shared a really good, coveted, resource with a colleague and they benefit, it could be over a year later that you be reciprocated greatly.

    I’ve encountered many of instances like this via attending conferences. I, or my agency, may have not come away from a conference with any new business right away, but over a year later I have had huge deals come my way because of relationships built at that conference.

    • Anonymous

      Yep, that’s a great point, Miguel. The reciprocation is often amplified, and even simple acts can have a profound long-term impact.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.able Elizabeth Able

    Experiences stick, but commodities are gone as soon as they’re used up. Business services are like commodities, unless something about them becomes an experience. The cross- pollination of sharing can change everything. I think the Internet an experiential economy – the Internet is to sharing what the Industrial Revolution was to how society was shaped in relation to the production and consumption of material goods.

    I hope that made sense. LOL!! I can get a leetle grandiose when philosophizing at 3am. Nice post.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for swinging by and chiming in, Elizabeth! I totally hear where you’re coming from, and while I think that sharing has implications in terms of the entire internet economy, I also think that it has serious implications in terms of fostering internal collaboration that translates into marketing ROI

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