The 5 Disciplines of mROI

Becky Morehouse

Becky Morehouse

Share On  

Chances are high that one of the biggest challenges you face each day is how to allocate scant resources. And while this challenge is likely institution wide, it is particularly true in marketing.


Many college leaders have never been particularly comfortable with marketing. They view it as a necessary evil. But the fact is, savvy administrators realize that effective marketing is the only tool that can enhance recruiting and fundraising in the near term. And while adding new programs or expanding to a new geography can impact your long term, the formulation and execution of these strategies likely will not impact Fall 2020.

Marketing, especially marketing tied to mROI, however, will.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, mROI stands for “measuring return on investment.” We’re looking at the five ways in which mROI can improve the overall performance of all your marketing efforts and give you greater confidence in the dollars you do spend.

5 Ways mROI Improves Performance

1. Rate of Return

There is the paradigm shift that occurs when leaders begin to understand that it is not the size of spend that matters, but the rate of return. A $300,000 expenditure on a digital campaign seems like a large figure until you determine it generated $600,000 in tuition dollars. When this “ah ha” takes place, marketing becomes viewed less as a cost and more as an investment. In fact, this understanding is the prime motivator behind mROI.

For years, the University of Phoenix’s greatest marketing resource wasn’t the size of its budget, but its recognition that the marketing budget was, in effect, an investment with predictable returns.

2. Investment

Consider the “I,” or investment in mROI. Before you can determine return, you must have a clear grasp of the size of the overall investment. This is difficult on many campuses because marketing and marketing budgets are distributed across multiple units.

Getting a handle on the total marketing spend, however, will likely reveal conflicting goals, duplication, and missed opportunities. Even if you never calculate return, looking at your entire spend in toto will very likely result in immediate savings.

3. Measurement

There is the “M,” or measurement in mROI. Measurement takes time and money. In addition, it takes numerical fluency.

The two broad areas of integrated marketing—brand and direct—each feature measurement tools that are continually evolving. Understanding how and when to use these tools will help you make better decisions.

4. Return

We must look at the “R” or return in mROI. Many marketing initiatives are driven more by calendars than clear goals. As a result, when one program is launched everyone turns their attention to the next program on the schedule. Rather than first considering and then calculating a progam’s return, undisciplined marketers are focused on meeting deadlines.

Clarity around goals, or return, is an important component of mROI. Clear goals help you make better choices when you design and launch a campaign. We know, too, that without clear goals there can never be precise measurement.

5. Research

By its very nature, makes the case for market research. In almost all cases, the benefits of research far outweigh the costs. Marketers who practice mROI know that research allows you to:

  • Test and refine your marketing messaging
  • Identify channel preferences
  • Finetune your marketing calendar
  • Predict response rate

Research provides a certainty about your marketing efforts that is vitally important in a time when the overall marketplace continues to remain uncertain.

In a separate blog we outlined the handful of research studies that are especially critical today.

If you have additional questions about mROI or would like help addressing the five disciplines outlined in this article, please let me know. Thank you for your interest in better marketing.

Ready to Get Started?

Reach out to us to talk about your strategy and goals.

Email Us

About the Author