Consumer purchasing stories in the B2B market have become complex and unpredictable. The next prospect takes an alternate buying journey to the one before, and they take their sweet time along the way. The marketing landscape has morphed into a rugged wilderness of jagged, undefined terrain, and B2B marketers are all looking for the most creative way to make the trek.
There are trillions of dollars strewn across the globe, and there’s a horde of enterprises looking to claim their share. The cacophony of competition has made business a noisy place, and myriads of other companies (not necessarily competitors, either) are calling, emailing, serving up ads, and taking our prospects out to lunch.
Dumping Money on Your Marketing Roulette Wheel?
We might assume we have to yell louder than the marketers next door, or display snazzier ads, or send more winsome emails. We might assume we need a taller marketing stack, or a longer roster of salespeople, or to dump more money on our marketing roulette wheel.
But more isn’t always better. Doing more is only helpful if your system’s optimized. B2B marketers find themselves admitting the adage, “Half my marketing is working, but I don’t know which half.”
Marketers wind up paying double for the same amount of ROI, and our marketing budgets don’t have margin for a 100% markup.
Which Half of Your Marketing is Working?
But how does a marketer optimize if they don’t know which granular-level activities contributed to that last deal that finally closed? How do you help customers through your funnel if you don’t know which marketing touches were helpful for your last buyer?
How do you know which keywords to bid on, which emails to send, which articles to write, or which events to sponsor if you don’t know which specific parts of your marketing strategy are actually driving revenue?
You don’t know, so you take your best guess. But best is the enemy of better, and a copious number of marketers are regrettably settling for their best guess when better information is available to them.
Marketing attribution replaces that guessing game. It’s the tool that gives marketers the information they need to optimize their strategy and eliminate wasted spending -- because every decision is based on revenue.
Meagen Eisenberg On Marketing Attribution
Meagen Eisenberg, CMO of Mongo DB, gives weight to why marketing attribution is an indispensable tool for B2B marketers.
She says, “Building pipeline with sales to drive revenue should be one of the top priorities of marketing teams and campaigns. To do that well, you need attribution. [Marketing attribution] has given us better insights to where marketing is contributing to revenue and we can make changes accordingly. It's an essential tool in our marketing technology stack."
Why is marketing attribution such an important piece of martech?
Daniel Kehrer, VP of Marketing at MarketShare underlines why marketing attribution should be a high priority in a Forbes article saying, “Marketing attribution is not only a quest for information. It’s also vital to marketing accountability and the need to optimize spending.”
[REASON 1] Attribution is a Quest for Indespensible Information
Marketing attribution tracks your prospects’ activity using cookies, utm parameters, and web tracking code.
When that prospect becomes a lead in your CRM, an advanced attribution solution will import that lead’s past marketing touches into the contact’s report.
As the lead moves through the funnel and becomes an MQL, SQL, Opp, and eventually a Customer, the attribution program will track which marketing touches were influential in moving the contact through each stage. After a deal is signed, the attribution program will assign revenue credit to the marketing activities that contributed to that prospect’s successful journey through the funnel.
While each marketing activity, piece of content, keyword, and display ad is in the works, attribution hands marketers the information that shows how well those front-line marketing activities are performing -- they can see which half of their marketing is working.
[REASON 2] Attribution Keeps Marketing Accountable to Revenue
Debbie Qaqish, now Chief Revenue Officer at The Pedowitz Group, wrote the following in her book, “Rise of the Revenue Marketer,”
“Several years ago, while VP of marketing for an Atlanta software firm, my CEO walked into my office one morning and confronted me with this bombshell of a question. ‘So, Debbie, what are you going to do about revenue?’ My first thought was, ‘It says VP of Marketing on the door, not VP of Sales!’”
In the same chapter, Qaqish explains that marketing has traditionally been treated as the “make it pretty” department, without being kept accountable to the direct revenue impact of their efforts. Now years later, the discipline has trended toward revenue-accountability, as job titles like VP of Demand and Chief Revenue Officer are cropping up more and more often.
Later in the chapter, Qaqish writes, “Over time, we began to see more and more B2B marketers playing a direct and significant role in revenue.”
Marketing attribution supports revenue-accountability by transparently displaying how every key marketing initiative impacts the bottom line.
[REASON 3] Attribution Can Optimize A Marketing Budget
Apptio, the leading provider of cloud-based Technology Business Management (TBM) software, implemented a marketing attribution software product (Bizible) in order to track their campaigns revenue impact.
Aashish Dhamdhere, the Director of Campaigns and Demand Generation at Apptio, said, “[We] were looking at early indicators, or a subset of the data, and hoping that the click through rates or conversions on the website were indicative of the 5 RPIs (Revenue Performance Indicators).” After implementing a marketing attribution solution, they saw that it wasn’t the case.
“We had a campaign that we were spending a significant amount of money on,” Dhamdhere continued, “And we realized that the ROI just wasn’t there.”
Overall, Apptio was able to reallocate spend and optimize their AdWords strategy, increasing ROI of some campaigns by more than 3x.
Marketing attribution can reveal which marketing activities aren’t helping marketers reach their KPIs, and whether their campaigns are successfully impacting the bottom line. This helps optimize lead quality, decrease wasted spends, and increase the marketing team’s contribution to revenue.