A web of social actions representing marketing attribution

Do you know which of your marketing touchpoints lead to a conversion? Or which channels had the most conversions? Marketers don’t track attribution to give themselves a pat on the back when they see a campaign or specific channel that is doing well. Attribution matters because it represents budget and resources. Attribution matters in B2B marketing because businesses want to optimize their strategies and get the best results possible.

Why Marketing Attribution Matters for B2B Marketing

Marketing attribution helps marketers connect marketing to revenue. Right now, 30% of marketers aren’t using an attribution model at all, according to the 2018 State of Pipeline Marketing Report, and only 25% are doing multi-touch attribution. At the same time, almost 40% of marketers plan to use an average of 6 or more marketing channels according to research done by IDG Connect. It’s easy to see why attribution is critical to the success of marketing initiatives.   

What Does Marketing Attribution Look Like?

Right now, most marketers generally focus on collecting two categories of data: activity metrics and engagement metrics. Activity metrics measure the number of activities for which the marketing department has been responsible. That means counting blog posts, articles, sponsored events, and other activities. It also takes into account the budget for these activities.

Engagement metrics measure how people have reacted to those various marketing activities. They count things like views, clicks, likes, and time spent on a website. They even count the number of contacts collected at an event.

Together, activity metrics and engagement metrics work to explain the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. The problem is they don’t tell the whole story. In order for marketers to effectively connect marketing to revenue, they really need to gather the right data. Marketing attribution seeks to connect the dots from marketing efforts to business outcomes.

There are many different attribution models available to marketers, but they generally fall into two categories, one-touch and multi-touch models. The model you select will depend on your specific strategy and campaign objectives. Different models have different benefits as well as shortcomings, which means there is no definitive right or wrong choice for your business. The key is to research what will be best for your company before implementing it.

Types of Marketing Attribution

One-touch, or single touch, attribution models offer a simple approach that applies 100% of the revenue credit to a single touchpoint in the customer journey. This single point is often either the first touchpoint, first-touch attribution, or the last touchpoint, last-touch attribution. A benefit to this type of attribution model is that it is the easiest to implement. The biggest shortcoming is that it’s fairly one-dimensional. It attributes all revenue to a single activity, which can be limiting if you are trying to account for a multi-channel strategy.

Multi-touch attribution models give credit to every piece of content or channel a customer interacts with during their buying journey. Multi-touch models have become particularly important for B2B marketers, where the customer journey can include tens to hundreds to even thousands of touchpoints. There are a few different types of multi-touch attribution models, including:

  • Linear attribution – assigns equal credit to each touchpoint in a prospect’s journey to conversion.
  • Time-decay attribution – gives credit to all touchpoints, weighing the most recent touchpoint most heavily.
  • Position-based attribution – gives 40% to both the first and last touchpoint, divides the remaining 20% evenly among all remaining touchpoints.

Marketers can also develop their own custom attribution. Platforms, including Google Analytics, allow marketers to create their own custom models. While a custom model can provide the most realistic view of your marketing channels, it requires time and an in-depth understanding of your customers and their buying behavior.

Attribution is Worth the Effort

Attribution doesn’t just benefit the marketing department; it benefits an entire company. With the right attribution, the marketing department has a greater ability to forecast department goals. Attribution helps the marketing department communicate more clearly with the sales team, as the two teams see the revenue value that marketing provides. Additionally, attribution helps CMO more easily prove the value of the marketing department to the entire C-suite and board.

Knowing which marketing activities are driving revenue improves paid media ROI and leads to a more optimized budget allocation for campaigns and channels. Just remember that attribution models aren’t a one time set it up and never touch it again kind of deal. It will probably take time to build and execute the best attribution model for your business. And even once it’s set up, as you test and tweak your campaigns, you will also need to adjust your attribution model to reflect those changes. Just keep improving your attribution model as you go.

Remember that once you get the hang of attribution, your marketing strategy will become more efficient. You’ll be able to emphasize key touchpoints, better understand the buying journey for your customers, and close more deals.

How Can We Help?

Does your business need a hand developing a marketing strategy for 2020? We offer strategic planning, persona development, and content marketing services that can help. If you are ready to develop a story building trust and motivation, then sign up for a complimentary initial consultation/discovery meeting. Schedule yours today, and let’s see if we can help.