Although multi-touch attribution continues to gain steam in the marketing world, it remains a foreign topic to many. There are a lot of things to consider, like when it’s the right time to implement attribution or what attribution model is best for your company, so it’s easy to continue working and doing things the way they’ve always been done, with no consideration given to new technology.
If you are one of the patrons who jumped on the attribution train early, how do you get others on board and how do you implement a strategy at your organization?
The first step to any endeavor, is creating a plan. This is deeply important to the success and impact of multi-touch attribution at your organization. Without a set plan and defined metrics, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by attribution data.
Create a shared vision around what you’re trying to measure. It seems simple, but it’s necessary to make sure everyone is aligned under mutual definitions. What counts as a lead, or qualifies a prospect as an opportunity? If team members are operating under different definitions, it will be impossible for attribution to make sense.
The same goes for goals. Before implementing marketing attribution, you have to decide WHY you need attribution. Think about what you need to measure and what you need to improve. Is it optimizing marketing spend, determining which target markets are most profitable, or something else? Nail down these goals as far in advance as possible.
It’s worth it to take the time to ensure you’re creating data in the way you want to see it. As Justin says, “garbage in, is garbage out.”
If one person labels as “display ad,” one person as “pay per click” and one person as “retargeting,” when you’re all talking about the same channel, the tracking will be a mess.
Taxonomy is the foundation of strategy. Use a spreadsheet to define your channels, sub channels and how you’ll track each. It’s the only way to accurately assign credit.
Once you’ve defined what to do, the question now is WHO is going to do it? Creating the right process around the tool is just as important as the tool itself.
Ensure that it will be executed within the organization by creating a spreadsheet with roles and responsibilities. “Better attribution is everybody’s job, but there are some specific things that need to be somebody’s job,” says Justin.” If everything is everybody’s job, then it’s also nobody’s job.”
Without defined responsibilities there is no accountability. Who is going tag links with utm parameters, who sets up the email campaign, who is launching the campaign on social? Have a single source of truth (ideally a shared, living document that lives in the cloud) for how each channel is tracked and what data needs to be included. Map it out and write it down so nothing is left to chance.
Lastly, check and recheck your process. Preferably, have a coworker look it over. There’s nothing worse than doing the work to set up an awesome campaign, then forgetting to launch. Create a checklist and take the time to review each step, every time.
If done well, rolling out attribution should make you a better marketer on a better marketing team.
It would seem like saying, hey I have this great software, a plan to implement it, and it will really help our company, would be enough to get everyone on board. But quite often that’s not the case.
Attribution can be highly political. It reveals what’s working and what’s not. So it can be scary for someone to think that the job they have been doing hasn’t been bringing much value, and that it will be brought to the attention of the entire organization.
Getting people to buy into the system and work to make it a success can be one of the hardest parts of implementing attribution.
There are two approaches one can take when bringing attribution into an organization that doesn’t currently have a clear idea of what is working and what’s not. In order to succeed in your rollout, you’re going to need to do both and do them well.
In a top-down approach, the main goal is to build alignment with leaders. Find the individuals who have authority and interest to support you, and work to understand what each is looking for.
For the VP of Finance it may be justifying budget, or a Sales Manager may be interested in seeing the value of outreach efforts. It will be different for every organization and team, but there will always be something each wants to improve. Find a way to show people what’s in it for them.
The goal of a bottom-up approach is to find people who encourage and enforce compliance. There needs to be individuals in the organization who will say, hey we need to tag links because then you’ll get credit for all the leads you’re bringing in. And also those who will keep everyone on track by pointing out when links haven’t been tagged.
Bringing a multi-touch attribution solution to your organization is about creating a change mentality and culture around marketing efforts. The whole organization should unite around a culture of experimentation and learning.
It’s not about what you did recently that worked, it’s about what you did and what you learned from it. Success can be temporary. Attribution helps you learn from the ups and the downs. Although it may reveal things that aren’t working, you now have the data and skills to make it better.