There's a lot of buzz in marketing about the challenge of measuring consumer engagement and ascertaining ROI, and for good reason. Developing and maintaining more engaging consumer experiences such as live events, advergames, social networks, and branded content can require significant investments. Marketers need to know these investments are worthwhile in relation to alternative programs.
The problem is how to measure and compare engagement across multiple channels. This is particularly important for experiential marketing programs because the number of people "touched" is much less than for mass media programs (but the touch is far more substantial and meaningful).
If a marketer must decide between spending $50,000 on a full-page ad in a national publication with 5 million subscribers or spending the same $50,000 on an event that will attract 5,000 prospects, you can bet there will be a great deal of discussion about the deeper engagement of the live event and what that is worth to the brand.
Those in Experiential Marketing--particularly the Interactive side--have a tendency to gripe that they're held to a different standard than those who execute traditional mass media campaigns. Marketers never inquire as to the ROI of a specific billboard or pore over reports on the effectiveness of a print ad on a monthly basis, but they will will do so for banner ads, online media buys, microsites, PPC programs, and social media programs.