New Web 2.0 metric not the old ROI
Brand managers can't entirely track patients' reach to other consumers about a product like they can measure more traditional Web-based advertising or e-mail campaigns. That is, the impact of a recommendation of a friend to someone in his social network remains elusive.
But studies show word-of-mouth advertising is the most trustworthy kind. And Levitt's ROI metric, which he is using in a customized program for Shire to raise consumer awareness about a specific disease state, will evolve over time as firms track consumers' reach to others. The key is to embrace the new tactics now, despite the unknowns.