Data overload is a real problem.
Origami Logic’s 2016 Marketing Signals Report found that the number one measurement struggle for marketers was having multiple systems that capture and measure the signals. In other words, marketers don’t have a single source of truth and have a hard time reconciling their different sources of data.
We find that this problem is magnified when it comes to crediting marketing channels with their revenue impact -- also known as attribution. While revenue is the most important outcome that marketers must attribute, the same concept applies to top-of-the-funnel measures like lead creation and middle-of-the-funnel measures like lead qualification and opportunity conversion.
What's the definition of a lead?
Take the concept of leads, for example. B2B marketers get lead data from, at a minimum, all of the marketing channels that have a conversion pixel (think: AdWords, Facebook), their marketing automation platform, and their CRM.
The tricky thing is that each of those sources has a slightly different definition of a lead. Marketing channels with conversion pixels count every form submission as a new lead. Marketing automation, also counts form submissions as leads, but is able to layer on existing lead data to de-dupe leads. Additionally, marketers can usually add filters or other methods to distinguish “marketing qualified leads” from regular leads. And then finally, the sales team will often use a different set of filters to identify the leads that they’re actually interested in following up with.
As you can see, it’s not as simple as a lead is a lead is a lead.
Just like how each data source has a different definition of a lead, and therefore produces a different lead count, the other stages of the B2B buyer process (opportunities and customers/revenue) have the same problem when it comes to attribution. Each digital marketing channel does their own conversion tracking which many marketers then try to hack together with other pieces of data for attribution; both marketing automation and CRM systems have their own lead definitions; and while the CRM is considered the single source of customer and revenue data, marketing channels try as hard as they can to claim revenue data, too.
The problem with having so many sources of data is that they don’t communicate with each other.
When AdWords counts conversions, it doesn’t consult and reconcile their information with Facebook Insights or LinkedIn Analytics or any other marketing channel. Therefore, if a person clicks on an AdWords ad on Monday, a Facebook ad on Tuesday, and a Linkedin ad on Wednesday, and then converts on Thursday, all three marketing channels will claim the whole conversion. This leads to the double-counting (or more) of conversions and the over-representation of marketing’s impact.
And because the double-counting occurs at the top of the data stream -- lead conversion -- the error flows all the way down the funnel and creates problems when attributing revenue.
When there are multiple -- and conflicting --sources of truth for the same marketing data, marketers are unable to trust any of them.
This leads us to the second biggest challenge according to the research from Origami Logic: marketers aren’t able to take action based on the results.
When marketers can’t trust their data, they can’t take action with confidence.
Let’s take marketing mix decisions, for example. If Facebook data says you’ve driven 10 customers from Facebook and AdWords data says you’ve driven 10 customers from AdWords, but your CRM says you’ve only driven 10 customers total, what do you do? Who do you trust?
When it comes to taking action, should you maintain the same budget allocation to Facebook and AdWords?
Without a single source of truth, these decisions are hard to make.
Ok, so we’ve now identified the source of the two biggest challenges that marketers face. What’s the solution? How do marketers get the single source of truth?
The Single Source of Truth
For marketers looking for accurate and actionable data, the attribution solution is the single source of truth. Because an effective attribution solution does the following things, marketers can be confident in it as the single source of truth:
It integrates with marketing channels via API or UTM parameters to source original data.
It integrates with marketing automation and the CRM to connect the middle and bottom-of-the-funnel data, including customer conversion and revenue data.
It’s multi-touch and folds all the marketing channels (both online and offline) into the same centralized attribution model, which eliminates double-counting and channel bias.
Attribution reports use a consistent lead, opportunity, and customer definition, so that a single person or account’s path can be followed from first touch to customer close and everything inbetween.
Combining all of the previous points, it connects original marketing channel data to revenue data, so that marketers can see their impact on the bottom line.
When marketers have a smart attribution solution, they know where to go for definitive marketing data.
Rather than having to guess which marketing channel actually drove the 10 customers in the hypothetical created earlier, an attribution solution would have shown that maybe Facebook accounted for 30% of the 10 customers’ journeys, while AdWords accounted for the other 70%. The marketer could then take action based on that and reallocate some more of the budget to AdWords. The breakthrough impact of this analysis is amplified when there are dozens of marketing channels and hundreds of campaigns.
No longer do marketers need to become confused, frustrated, and paralyzed by multiple, contradictory sources of data. When there is a single source of truth that brings in all the data and treats it with accuracy and fairness, marketers can make smart decisions with confidence.