Experts say you need a Marketing & Revenue Attribution Strategy in 2021. But, do you?

Sales Attribution, Revenue Attribution, Marketing Attribution, Advertising Strategies, Jessica Abraham, Jessica N Abraham

Previously Published on News Break

Experts say you need a Marketing & Revenue Attribution Strategy. But, do you have one? Let’s take a deep dive into the world of marketing attribution, revenue tracking and where your customers could be getting lost in the sales funnel.

“Whoever owns your attribution model owns your budget,” states Lars Hirsch, Principal Product Manager of Sponsored Products at Amazon.

What is Marketing Attribution?

The Content Marketing Institute defines marketing attribution as “a set of user actions that contribute to a desired outcome, (i.e., a conversion) and assigning a value to each of these events. It helps you to understand which combination of events in which particular order influences people to engage in a desired behavior. It proves your content is working. It helps marketing align with sales, determines your budget, and can improve your content quality.”

Per CMI, “Marketing attribution is integral to the success of content marketing because the vast majority of touchpoints (instances where potential customers interact with your brand in some way) happen online. They occur when someone reads your blog post, e-book, or infographic, or watches your video. Marketing attribution models enable content marketers to more accurately understand how their content is influencing buyers, and to get full credit for their work.”

A New Report

Last week, DemandLab, a technology-focused marketing consultancy and leader in marketing-led customer experience, released new research that debunks a previous notion that 74.5% of all marketers have a Marketing Attribution Strategy. In fact, according to DemandLab, only 36% of marketers actually have a marketing attribution strategy in place — and most of them are missing the targets that could really push their clients over the top.

This data is quite contrary to that reported by Bizible on the use of specific attribution models, whereas it was stated that 72.4% of marketers are using an attribution model and that 55.2% of them use a single touch model in which they “really had no idea why they chose the one they chose.”

“If marketers want to understand how their content is influencing buyers and how buyers are being marketed through the sales funnel,” Demand Lab’s Leadership Outlook on Revenue Attribution notates, “they need to start implementing and optimizing attribution models, based on the results of each marketing campaign. Marketers can make more informed decisions while influencing customers per channel they encounter on their journey.”

By using some sort of attribution model, marketers can begin tracking and mapping out future successes using key performance metrics, such as:

  • Page Views & Click-Thru Rates (CTR)
  • Day, time and frequency of product and/or service exposure
  • Whether there was only one visit — or multiple visits — before a customer decided to buy
  • The how, when, and where a customer interacts with the brand
  • Customer exposure and frequency of brand and campaign messaging
  • Channel access and distribution
  • Branding, as it relates to each market, and the role messaging had on the most recent interaction
  • Which messages receive the best results and from which customers
  • Length, creative, affiliation, etc.
  • How much time was spent deciding on whether or not to buy
  • Psychographic & Demographic Data
  • The role brand perception played in the decision to convert
  • The impact of external social, psychological, and economic factors

Over the years, marketing attribution models have become increasingly varied, complex, and accurate, as they inform agencies on how the customer views the journey and how they are being influenced — for better or for worse — depending on channel, content, and/or network.

Not everyone buys on their first pass.

Focusing more on the actual journey than whether a sale converted, or not, would extend the sales process and cultivate long-term buyer demand. With demand comes loyalty and trust, which means each interaction would lead to future sales and referrals for years to come.

Sure, less time spent between purchases would be ideal. But more importantly, those interactions between each interaction are what makes the greatest difference in the long-run.

According to DemandLab, “Marketing leaders face a landscape of shifting priorities, but aligning marketing efforts with revenue is one of the most persistent challenges marketers face.” They go on to suggest that not having some type of attribution strategy will lead marketers to become their own greatest barriers in reaching success. Instead of focusing on what sells and why marketers need to focus on what’s not selling and how they could better influence the customer over time.

The Perfect Question

SEO-Expert Neil Patel poses the perfect question “ With your hand in so many piggy banks, how can you know which ones are generating the most cash flow, which ones are paying for themselves, and which ones you should outright ditch?” He goes on to say that 40% of marketers list “proving the ROI” of their marketing activities as a top challenge in their daily sales funnel.

He goes on to list the other top challenges marketers face:

  • Generating Traffic & Leads (63%)
  • Providing the ROI of Marketing Activities (40%)
  • Securing Enough Budget (28%)
  • Identifying the right technologies for our needs (26%)
  • Creative Asset & Web Site Management (26%)
  • Targeting Content for International Audiences (21%)
  • Training Teams (19%)
  • Hiring Top Talents (16%)
  • Finding an Executive Sponsor (7%)

How are leaders addressing challenges in attribution strategy?

As they face a landscape of shifting priorities, DemandLabs asks, “How are marketing leaders addressing these challenges and successfully executing a revenue attribution strategy?” Most importantly, which steps are they taking to better understand and optimize their sales funnels to make the most of the customer’s time?

Although we’re selling something, we want to make it a memorable experience. We want to meet the demand of our customers and show them exactly why they need our product and/or service. We want them to know that we are listening to them and just how much we appreciate their business along the way.

60% of Marketing leaders have improved decision-making processes.

Per the report, DemandLabs reports that “Nearly 60% of marketing leaders report that revenue attribution enhances their ability to make better decisions for their organization. Successful attribution bridges the gap between marketing and sales data, resulting in a better alignment of the two functions according to 44% of marketers in leadership roles. Attribution also enables 38% of marketers to execute more effective campaigns.”

An overwhelming majority of marketing leaders say that attribution strategies help them better achieve important objectives. In fact, 95% of those surveyed are seeing success from an implementing attribution strategy, with nearly one-third describing this method as “best-in-class.”

Awareness → Consideration → Intent → Conversion

When developing an attribution strategy, marketers must focus first on awareness and allow customers to take the product and/or service into consideration. We want to focus on their intent. Will they buy now, or will they buy later — Will they even buy at all? We must help them reach this decision and take every step that we can to guide them the rest of the way.

We must continuously analyze customer data to determine which marketing tactics, or combination of marketing tactics, are contributing to the sale or consideration of each conversion. We must then nurture these efforts that most appeal to our customers, focusing on convenience and trust as they continue through the sales journey.

C3 Metrics reports that “The window of marketing opportunity in financial services is limited, time-sensitive and competitive. The eclipse has a limited window and won’t return again for a long time.” This would suggest providing your customers with an incentive to buy then and there, including discounted rates and promo codes that would allow them to save money.

Get to know your audience.

Veritone goes on to explain that “Advertisers can make tangible connections between advertising campaigns and the actions target audiences have taken on their website,” sometimes in near real-time. By doing this, advertisers would be able to “quickly analyze the performance of client-based advertising campaigns.”

They’d have access to intuitive near-real-time dashboards and be able to visualize campaign performance by “daypart, creative, geographic location, placement and more.” They could also relay that data-driven insights to advertising clients throughout every step of the campaign, increase customer satisfaction, and maximize investments.

Impact on the Customer Journey

Per Marketing Evolution, “Today’s marketers rely on multi-channel strategies to carry out marketing campaigns, both online and offline. While this practice enables marketers to customize the customer journey along every step, it also presents unique challenges once it’s time to analyze the overall impact of a particular campaign on marketing ROI.

“We need to focus on each touchpoint a consumer encounters on their path to purchase and what stopped them just short of entering into commerce. The goal of attribution is to determine which channels and messages had the greatest impact on the decision to convert or take the desired next step.

“Marketers must ensure their attribution models are able to detect relationships between brand-building initiatives and conversions. Not understanding how their attribution model measures branding impact is a common and detrimental mistake, leading marketers to make decisions based on incomplete recommendations that devalue brand building.”

One size does not fit all!

According to SalesForce, “One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to marketing attribution. Marketers today have their work cut out for them. The average customer uses 10 channels to communicate with companies, which means the digital marketing landscape is more fragmented than ever.”

“As customers’ expectations rise,” they continue, “so does the temperature in the proverbial kitchen for marketing management. Research shows that marketers’ top priorities include optimizing the marketing mix for the best return and modernizing their tools and technologies. In an ideal world, you’d be able to track the entire customer journey from start to finish with personal anecdotes from each customer about why they made the decisions they did along the way. But that’s not realistic, or scalable.”

For this reason, there are many different approaches to marketing attribution, including:

  • First Interaction
  • Last Interaction
  • Last Non-Direct Click
  • Linear
  • Time-Decay
  • Position-Based

These models provide markers with a broad range of options when implementing, analyzing, and optimizing marketing and revenue attribution strategies. These range from “basic, single-factor models to advanced models, which can incorporate complex algorithms and logic.”

Pros and cons exist.

As with anything, there are many pros and cons with each model, and they should all be taken into great consideration alongside your client’s brand or business model.

On the topic of effective marketing attribution strategies, SalesForce suggests that “successful implementation of multi-touch and weighted multi-touch attribution models may take the participation of IT, while finance teams will want to be involved in the goal-setting and ROI portions of the program. This means businesses are measuring marketing touches that happen with existing contacts. These contacts are still considered prospects because they haven’t purchased yet, but since they already have a sales team assigned, they’re also not considered a new lead.

“As consumers explore new channels and companies adopt advancing marketing technologies, attribution becomes crucial to centering your entire marketing organization around a common goal of revenue generation. While the jury’s still out on the most successful marketing attribution models, tailoring your approach to the needs of your business — while keeping the data you collect integrated with your CRM and technology stack — will provide the biggest opportunities for lead conversion.”

Decide which model works best for you.

A model comparison can help you decide which model works best for you. AgencyAnalytics, for example, allows you to analyze how each model distributes the value of a conversion. There are six common attribution models:

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“What’cha gonna do about it?”

Going into 2021, do you have an effective marketing and revenue attribution strategy to put into place? As experts chime in on the importance of attribution strategies, you could become your own worst enemy. Stop barriers from blocking your way, adopt a scalable attribution strategy, today!

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