Scott Brinker recently released the 2016 Martech landscape supergraphic, and it’s overwhelming to say the least. The more than 3,800 included technologies exist to solve marketing problems and make a marketer’s life easier and more organized.
Within the data header on the supergraphic is a section that includes marketing attribution. But with all of the technologies available, why choose attribution as an addition to your marketing stack?
Below is a list of obstacles that marketers have to navigate on a daily basis. If you’re facing any number of these marketing problems, it’s time for attribution.
Tying Marketing Efforts to Revenue
Marketers have traditionally relied on vanity metrics, such as lead numbers, page views, and socials shares, as measures of success. But, it’s increasingly being asked that marketers report on revenue as well. Sales teams are tied to revenue goals, as are most departments, so the C-Suite also wants to know what marketing has done to impact the bottom line.
Marketing attribution tracks all touchpoints on a customer journey and assigns revenue credit to the major conversions after the sale is made. How much credit is given to each will vary based on which attribution model is used at your company, but at Bizible, we think a w-shaped model is best. With w-shaped, 30% of total revenue is assigned to the three major conversions (first touch, lead creation touch, and opportunity creation touch) with the remaining 10% credit given to the touchpoints in between.
Say a blog post brings a lead to your website for the first time. A week later, they fill out a form for a webinar. A month later, the sales team closes the deal on the phone. Marketing would be assigned 30% of revenue for the blog post and 30% revenue for the webinar form fill.
This allows marketers and the C-Suite to see the true business value created by marketing efforts. Additionally, the channels and campaigns having the most impact will now be visible, meaning the team can optimize what is working and reduce effort and spending on what is not.
Model or channel bias occurs even if you already have an attribution solution in place. When organizations begin thinking about marketing attribution, they often start in the most basic form: single-touch attribution. Single-touch attribution includes both a first-touch, lead-creation touch or last-touch attribution model.
However, the problem here is that too much credit will be given to a single touchpoint, creating model bias. In B2B, the sales cycle is often long and includes multiple touchpoints that influence the buyer’s journey. With so many factors in play that each contribute to the success of the sale, how can you determine which single one gets all the credit?
As Lauren Frye recently wrote in a post that considers if single-touch attribution is unethical in B2B, assigning all the credit to a single touch point is like only giving a gold medal to the relay runner who crossed the finish line. What about all the other runners on the team?
Lastly, without an attribution model in place, you’re relying on vanity metrics to determine what is working or not, making channel optimization a guessing game. The blog may be driving lots of visitors to your website, but it isn’t worthwhile to spend more time and money on the blog if none of those visitors turn into customers.
Deciding Where Budget Should be Allocated
When budget decisions come around, money is going to be allocated to areas that provide a positive return. The only way to show marketing as a revenue center instead of a cost center is through attribution.
With attribution, the marketing department can say, “We played a role in driving X amount of revenue this quarter, and we also learned that our e-book leads convert to customers at a much higher rate than our webinar leads. With additional budget, we can focus on more content development and do more tests to discover which other channels are driving quality leads, while scaling back the ones that aren’t.” And that is a much stronger strategy than, “We drove X leads this quarter and increased page views by X percent.”
Increased budget is a much easier ask when there is an outlined, detailed plan of what the marketing department will do with additional funds and how much revenue they will drive through their efforts. Attribution makes that plan come to life.
High Cost Per Lead (CPL)
Most marketers rely on a single CPL figure. When the budget is planned, teams set a ceiling for the most they are willing to pay for a lead. But it’s clear that not all leads are created equally -- some convert at a much higher rate than others. So, it makes sense to be willing to pay more for high-quality leads and less for those those that don’t convert as frequently.
This is why CPL limits should vary by channel. The only way to accurately reveal which channels are driving the most valuable leads, is through attribution. Attribution data can create a lead report, opportunity report and revenue report, all broken out by marketing channel. This will show which leads convert to opportunities at a high rate and which leads bring in the most revenue. Making it easy to determine the CPL ceiling for each channel.
Measuring the Impact of Brand Marketing
Brand may be the most important part of running a business. It is the face of the company and directly impacts whether prospects and customers have a positive, neutral or negative opinion of your organization. And each of those impact company revenue.
But how do you know if your brand marketing efforts are worth it? Brand surveys are great. They’ll give you a general idea of brand recognition and growth, but without attribution, you’d be missing the true impact. How is brand marketing driving revenue?
Measuring metrics like deal velocity, direct traffic and organic search will give a good view of the actual impact of your brand marketing. Attribution provides channel data at every stage of the funnel, from first click to closed deal, which means your marketing efforts can be measured through every stage as well. Using that information and tying it to revenue from organic search, or revenue from direct traffic, allows you to definitively say whether brand marketing efforts are working.
Attribution is not only useful for looking at the past, it can help you predict the future as well. When you know how leads from particular channels have historically flowed through the funnel or how many touchpoints they have before becoming a customer, you can, with general certainty, predict how leads of the future will behave as well.
Once you set an end-of-year revenue goal, you can use attribution data to work backward and determine what it will take to get there. How many new customers do you need to gain to hit your revenue goal? How many opportunities do you need to convert to hit that customer number? How many leads do you need to produce to hit that opportunity number?
The full-funnel, granular data provided by attribution gives marketers the information they need to forecast with confidence and accuracy.
Measuring Offline Channels
Events, conferences, sales dinners, phone calls, direct mailers… a lot of today’s marketing occurs offline, and these interactions are just as valuable as those that occur online. But how are you tracking these touchpoints? How do you know if it’s worth it to sponsor that event next month, or send a direct mailer to high-prospect CEOs?
If you’re guessing at these answers, then it’s time for attribution. Attribution tracks both online and offline interactions, making it possible to see how each and every channel is impacting revenue.
If you spend $10,000 to have a sponsor booth and you book tons of demos during the event, it may seem like the event was a success. But if no one you talked to during the event eventually turned into a customer, the event ROI was zero. It may not be beneficial to attend again in the future.
The marketing landscape is constantly changing, creating new challenges for marketers every day. And although there are thousands martech solutions available, it’s impossible to research them all to decide which provides the most benefit.
But attribution doesn’t just solve one marketing problem, it solves many. The money you’ll save from an accurate CPL, properly allocated budget, and optimized channels, will more than pay for the cost of implementing an attribution solution.