B2B Marketing Blog

How To Decide Whether Marketo RCA Is Right For You

By Andrew Nguyen
Sep 27, 2016
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The technology journey for B2B marketers includes the implementation of an advanced marketing automation system and a CRM. And at some point an advanced marketing attribution solution is also implemented.

Advanced marketing automation systems like Marketo offer some form of attribution but it can be difficult to understand exactly how it compares to other attribution solutions like Bizible.

In this article we’ll clarify some of the details around Marketo Revenue Cycle Analytics, i.e. Marketo RCA, so you can understand whether it is perfect for your needs, or whether a specialized marketing attribution solution fits the bill.

What Is Revenue Cycle Analytics (i.e. Marketo RCA)?

Marketo Revenue Cycle Analytics (RCA) is a set of reporting tools that helps marketers analyze their campaigns (i.e. programs), analyze sales opportunities, and do simple attribution modeling.

Marketo RCA reporting uses data generated from Marketo’s Javascript tracking technology, called Munchkin.

Munchkin data and Marketo RCA’s architecture combine to provide you with reporting capabilities. But what are those reporting capabilities?

Marketo Revenue Cycle Analytics (RCA) Reporting Capabilities

If you are reporting on the performance of email campaigns or doing simple, single-touch marketing attribution then the reporting capabilities from Marketo RCA will fit your needs.

For complex reporting across multiple channels and websites, you’ll need JavaScript code that can accurately process a wide variety of ad formats and a platform architecture that makes complex reporting easily accessible.

The architecture of Marketo RCA requires users to define what “responded” means for each campaign and this definition varies from channel to channel. Users must also set rules for processing their UTM paraments which makes reporting time consuming.

Marketo RCA tracking setup also has its pitfalls because users must define what gets tracked before launching campaigns. This is problematic because in situations where you’re trying to understand why campaigns are performing well and you didn’t track everything from the beginning you’d miss out on clear answers.

A simple way to think about this is in terms of how many levels your touchpoint tracking data includes. Advanced marketing attribution solutions collect data in three dimensions: source, program, and asset (i.e. landing page, form URL), which means you can easily analyze your marketing data at any level, without needing to define these levels beforehand. 

For example, let’s say a piece of content performed well and the traffic came from a referral source. If you only setup tracking for channels like organic and paid search then you wouldn’t see the referral source because you didn’t set tracking for referral prior to launching your campaign.

Performance is often found in some unexpected places and appear as opportunities when you aren’t looking for them. This is why an alternative platform architectures can support you in data exploration.

We’ve talked about the Marketo RCA architecture so let’s now switch gears to the tracking code itself, Munchkin.

The Munchkin JavaScript is proficient for tracking email metrics but tends to be inaccurate or incomplete when tracking anonymous first touch data. Marketers can easily over or undervalue certain channels and campaigns when first touch tracking data is incomplete. For marketers investing heavily in demand generation it’s important to consider how capable their JavaScript tracking is for marketing attribution purposes.

The Type Of Reporting Offered In Marketo RCA

Marketo RCA is proficient if marketers want high level reporting that answers the following questions:

  1. What was marketing’s contribution to opportunities created?

  2. How much influence did marketing have on revenue?

Let’s dissect each in more detail and understand how Marketo RCA formulates these metrics.

A first touch attribution model is used to answer the first question. It provides revenue credit to the first click, which in many cases biases certain channels and campaigns (called “programs” in Marketo RCA).

But if you’re only concerned with the 50,000 foot view then using Marketo RCA to answer the first question is sufficient. See below for what the specific metric looks like.

example_report_Marketo_RCA_marketing_contribution_opportunity_creation-1.jpg

Further exploration at other options is required for reporting that goes a little deeper, e.g. drilling down to specific time frames, channels, and programs using a custom weighted attribution model.

Let’s look at the second question: How much influence did marketing have on total revenue?

This is calculated using a linear attribution model. A linear attribution model divides the projected deal size by the total number of touchpoints. This kind of multi-touch attribution model may fit certain needs such as high level reporting.

But if marketers want to move from 50,000 feet to 30,000 feet then an attribution model that more accurately fits a company’s marketing and sales cycle is needed. This is because a linear model can bias certain channels. For example, you’re probably sending a ton of emails that each represent a touchpoint.

A linear model would give a lot of credit to these email engagements. But does it accurately represent the most influential engagements? Or are you creating highly valuable engagements with prospects via webinars, mailers, and events that should get appropriate attribution?

Take a look at the ROI report used with revenue reporting capabilities inside Marketo RCA.

example_marketo_rca_report_revenue_contribution_by_marketing_by_channel-1.jpg

Email nurturing is important and is what an advanced marketing automation platform specializes in. But it’s easy to see that ROI reporting at the channel level requires a more customizable solution. 

Marketo RCA Support For ABM Measurement And Sales Enablement

Marketo RCA is great if you are doing mostly top-of-funnel reporting. But deeper tracking is required for investments like account-based marketing and sales enablement. These strategies require the tracking of touchpoints after an opportunity is created, which Bizible supports.

This kind of engagement reporting is perfect for B2B marketers who go after highly targeted accounts in markets where the buyer is a c-level executive or director level manager.

Tracking post-opportunity creation allows marketers to measure the effectiveness of sales enablement content and account-based marketing tactics.

For organizations where account-based marketing is important, e.g. selling software to large companies, marketing reporting and sales data must be closely integrated.

While marketing automation is built for advanced email marketing, reporting systems should be built on the system of record for opportunities and customers -- and this is usually the CRM.

Time To Value and Cost of Marketo RCA

Time to value is dependent on existing database structures and getting a clear time to value estimate requires a deep conversation.

If Marketo program data is messy then Marketo RCA buyers should consider how long it will take to clean that data in order to make it compatible with RCA.

“The data [program data] should be clean beforehand with proper Contact and Program association,” advises marketing agency, Beachhead.io.

This may entail further planning around reporting practices and data hygiene to make sure that marketo RCA is usable. 

Overall, knowing time to value and cost is best done by comparing Marketo RCA to a performance and attribution vendor. We’ve received feedback on these two areas and if you’re asking these questions it’s best to set up a demo or find an agency who has experience with setting up both Marketo RCA and solutions like Bizible.  

Auto-Tagging of Digital Marketing And Automatic Tracking of UTM Parameters

Marketing’s task is to fill the top-of-the-funnel with qualified leads that convert to opportunities. This often will include investing in paid media ads.

If you’re a marketer investing in paid search then Marketo RCA is a good starting point, but when your campaigns begin to scale, RCA may become inefficient to use for AdWords reporting.

In order to do keyword level revenue reporting, marketers must tracking the destination URLs (landing page URLs) of their AdWords ads. Bizible does this automatically to reduce the time and likelihood for error.

Conclusion

Let’s review some of the ways you can know whether Marketo RCA and RCE is right for you.

It might be right for you if you have clean program data inside Marketo, only do top of funnel marketing, have a limited set of marketing channels you’re investing in, or don’t need a granular view of your marketing data.

If none of the above apply to you, then it’s worth comparing Marketo RCA to other performance and attribution vendors when it comes time to upgrade reporting capabilities.

 

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Topics: marketo rca, Marketing Analytics

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