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Michelle Huff, CMO at Act-On Software, started her tenure nearly a year ago and shortly thereafter reviewed the entire marketing technology stack to ensure that Act-On was realizing the value of each technology. 

This effort creates alignment between technology, programs, and people. Alignment is a big part of the overall responsibility of CMOs. It often takes information sharing among CMOs and business leaders to discover the ways in which success happens in B2B marketing. 

In the Rethink podcast, Michelle Huff interviews marketing and business leaders to uncover the challenges and solutions relevant to running marketing in today's data driven environment.

In a recent episode, Huff interviews Aaron Bird, CEO at Bizible, to understand:

  • The landscape for reporting and attribution

  • The biggest challenge to CMOs today

  • What’s working with other organizations (marketing activities)

  • Advice to marketers to better understand their revenue drivers


    Here's what we learned:  

    1) The Marketing Attribution Space Is Maturing

    Timing is everything. Marketing leaders are interested in the state of the market for new technologies. So, let's examine the market for attribution. 

    It's early in B2B, perhaps 5 years behind the market adoption for marketing automation. It's estimated that 400-500 companies are connecting measurement to revenue with attribution across the entire funnel, from top to bottom, and across all channels.  

    Though it's relatively early in adoption, using marketing automation and being a marketing team that works with the sales team, are both good indicators for adopting marketing attribution.

    Although every marketing team is measuring leads and reach, not every marketing team is connecting it to revenue. But the number doing so is growing fast and following the growth trajectory of the marketing automation adoption curve. 

    2) Understanding What's Driving Revenue Is More Important Than Ever

    What's top of mind for CMOs during meetings with the executive team or the sales team? 

    Usually, it's the topic of revenue contribution.

    To address this, CMOs are asking questions like, "how do I measure and optimize for pipeline and revenue?" Additionally, they are putting all the technologies together in a cohesive and valuable way and exploring new technologies such as AI-based solutions.

    The proliferation of marketing tools makes the measurement of revenue even more difficult because every channel has its own indicators and data. Tying everything together to understand what's driving revenue is important but not always easy to achieve without complete tracking and the right marketing performance management technologies in place.  

    3) Full-Funnel Attribution Aligns Each Team To Revenue

    Full-funnel attribution is going beyond attribution to top-of-funnel channels. It's distributing revenue credit across the entire funnel, including the bottom of the funnel, in order to understand the role that each channel plays in revenue generation. Do certain channels have influence at the top of the funnel while others have more impact toward the bottom?

    Having every team understand their impact on the buyer journey helps create alignment around revenue. 

    Full-funnel attribution allows CMOs to take various metrics across channels like PR and field marketing to tell a cohesive, data-driven story that outlines the path a lead takes to becoming a customer.

    Attribution shouldn't end at lead creation. Marketers can land and expand by tracking the success of opportunity influence, upsells, and customer marketing

    Marketing attribution best practices for alignment makes sure attribution is full-funnel and omni-channel.

    4) Revenue Performance Based Compensation Can Be Considered

    Connecting team members' investments and actions to revenue opens a new line of thought into compensation. Marketers can now be measured and compensated based on pipeline and revenue generated.

    It is unknown how popular this practice is but it adds an interesting topic of discussion on the reporting and management aspect of running marketing. 

    5) Offline Attribution Is Maturing

    A lot of marketing still happens offline, including tradeshows and direct mail, and CMOs often wonder how offline measurement fits into the overall marketing cycle. With omni-channel attribution, the weights and touchpoints are distributed to field marketing and offline engagements, telling the entire story behind the customer journey.

    6) Attribution Helps Marketing Teams Experiment and Learn

    Attribution plays a role in tracking new ideas and campaigns, but it requires teams to consider their risk tolerance, get buy in, and set the right expectations. 

    Tracking and attribution provides visibility, helping marketers understand when to call a new idea a success, or when it's time to cut losses. 

    In this article, we uncovered the reasons CMOs and marketing leaders are interested in learning the why of marketing attribution. To learn even more, read the CMO's guide below.