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ROE: The New Metric for Improving Customer Experience and Increasing Loyalty


Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

By Sumiya Nowshin

For marketers, measurable metrics have become instrumental in the business ecosystem in order to improve customer experience and consistently increase customer loyalty. Any well-oiled organization must gauge the success of marketing campaigns with the need for customer retention and engagement. Your organization is likely to be familiar with return on investment, or ROI, as a major metric — but how well does it know ROE?

On April 22, AMA New York invited a panel of successful marketing executives in positions of leadership in their organizations to delve into this very question. The panel was moderated by Laurel Mintz, CEO and Founder of Elevate My Brand in conversation with Kai Boschmann, Chief Marketing and Communications Office at International SOS; Lynn Godrey, SVP and Chief Experience Officer at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; and Tim Rickards, Marketing Director at Charles Schwab.

So, what exactly is ROE? ROE is loosely defined into the following categories: 

  • Return on Engagement
  • Return on Experience
  • Return on Emotion

Along with savvy consumer behavior, the preponderance of marketing in every area of life, and the difficult circumstances we have faced since last year, it is clear, as Laurel pointed out, “the human element is becoming more and more important.” The current social landscape has become an important factor for customer retention strategy. Gen Z and younger generations are increasingly concerned with social impact. As Lynn noted, teens and young adults are asking, “What do you stand for? What difference are you trying to make in the world?” Traditional quantitative measures only give insight into the transactional aspects of customer experience without giving us insight into the nuances that create customer loyalty.

In this environment, customer experience management and retention strategies include relationship building and participation without necessary conversion. Consumers can interact with your brand via social media in a multitude of ways before making a purchase, and if the experience of your product or service is neither fun nor compelling, the consequential effects will show in decreased customer retention rate.

Kai challenged the audience by expanding on the definition of ROE to include return on ethics and return on empathy. When it comes to applying marketing campaigns toward advocacy on current societal issues and being “a voice for social good,” all of the panelists unscored the importance of credibility and authenticity. Lynn recommends linking to causes that tie into your organization’s mission. Tim suggests “be true to yourself, and walk the walk.”

In this nascent conversation, we are still discovering what ROE is and how it can be best used within the framework of different organizations and industries. This panel kicked off the discovery phase through a dynamic discussion, which is likely to grow in our ever-evolving, competitive marketing landscape.

Sumiya Nowshin is a marketer, writer, and ardent lover of cats with over 10 years of sales, marketing, and book publishing experience. Presently, in addition to writing for AMA New York, Sumiya is a marketing consultant for an environmental non-profit and creating an e-commerce platform for a graphic artist and illustrator.