Simply defined, marketing attribution is the credit or value you assign to a given marketing touchpoint. In even simpler terms, it’s the science of determining what media or marketing drives revenue.
A more complex (and still accurate) view of marketing attribution is as the bridge between marketing data and sales data – credit allocation for a conversion or engagement activity. Attribution also provides a quantifiable evaluation of your marketing efforts and their direct and traceable effects on revenue. In industry terminology, marketing attribution ties marketing function to revenue accountability. With hard numbers.
While marketing attribution may be simple in definition, it’s not so simple in practice. In fact, many marketers have only a tenuous understanding of attribution, and an even weaker grasp on how to assign it. After all, how do you define, with absolute certainty and in numbers, the value of each touchpoint, channel, or marketing phase throughout the buying process?
Adding to the difficulty of developing and assigning marketing attribution, marketers today are also faced with an increasingly convoluted and complex sales funnel. So, even if you have a solid understanding of attribution, and even if you have defined your attribution values, you may be challenged to identify touchpoints from outside your channel silo.
And therein lies the rub: Today’s marketing is multi-channel, and not all those channels are proprietary; some fall out of your control. And yet, for proper attribution, you must consider and assign value to all channels, in order to properly evaluate your marketing efforts and optimize your marketing budget.
To complicate matters, the changing market requires immediate adjustment of your existing marketing attribution standards. Outmoded models are no longer capable of keeping pace with today’s marketing channels and customers. And yet, marketers face the additional challenges of inflexible budgets and existing partner contracts, which make it difficult to change methodologies. Pile the challenges on, because there’s also the time investment required to properly attribute marketing efforts, interpret gleaned insights, and then develop improved optimization strategies.
These challenges can seem difficult, if not impossible to surmount. And indeed, they are difficult. But they are not insurmountable.
So, let’s start with the don’t: Legacy attribution methods are no longer effective, as they do not consider cross-channel, outside-the-silo influences.
To improve your marketing attribution in today’s environment, you must release your customer data from their locked silos and look towards advanced algorithmic attribution methodologies for marketing attribution.
The right algorithm will capture, evaluate, and assess (aka attribute) your data accurately, across channels. And that means you’ll be able to leverage your metrics to measure the impact of your marketing efforts, develop a more precise customer engagement strategy, and in turn plan more effective marketing campaigns – all destined for the right channel, at the right time, for the right customer.
Marketing attribution may be complicated, but at the end of the day, the goal is exceedingly simple: determine whether you’re spending your marketing budget effectively, and thus optimizing revenue.
Advanced attribution modeling makes clear connections between your various touchpoints, allowing you to better guide the customer journey. For example, a customer who stumbles upon your website blind will act very differently than a loyal brand enthusiast following a link from a free eBook. Advanced attribution will identify the differences between these customers, and help you make marketing decisions based on each journey.
Whether you have in place an established (albeit outdated) marketing attribution method, or whether you just heard the term yesterday and are starting from scratch, the good news is that you probably already have at least some of what you need to get started with marketing attribution.
The secret is – don’t reinvent the wheel. There are marketers out there who already understand attribution and explain it clearly. And there are data platforms available that already employ advanced attribution algorithms and apply them effectively. Start there. And then, follow these marketing attribution best practices to get the most out of your efforts.
NGDATA helps data-rich companies in financial services, media/publishing and telecom to drive connected experiences. Our next generation customer data platform, Lily Enterprise™, puts people at the center of every business via Lily’s Customer DNA, which continuously learns from behavior to deliver compelling experiences.Learn More...