The ROI of Marketing?

It's common to try to measure marketing ROI. And this works pretty well when tied to lead generating activities. But what about traditional marketing that doesn't seem to generate any leads? Marketing tools like branding, Web sites, and brochures seem obligatory, but it's practically impossible to measure their ROI. You could easily attribute those marketing tools to the expense side of the ledger, but that's just going back to the old way, right? Is there a better way to think of it? The best way I know of is to consider these non-ROI tools as *part of* the ROI-based tools. For instance, you can't have a Web-based lead generation site without having a site. So, the site itself is an investment in the investment of the online lead generation, and as such its costs should count against that program. In the case of multiply-attributable tools, like branding, they should be attributed across all ROI-based marketing work for the year. You could even consider amortizing a brand across marketing projects for 2-3 years, which is a good life cycle for a brand. Thinking of non-direct-ROI-producing marketing in this way has 2 advantages. First, it allows these tools to get in on the measurement. Second, it makes us think carefully about them. Instead of dismissing the financial justification for a brand refresh. we are forced to ask about whether we can "pay it off" over 3 years. And this is the right way to look at all marketing.