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Is Your CMO Keeping Up with Elusive Marketing Attribution Trends?

Many CMOs have already heard of marketing attribution. Some of the good ones have already started using some level of it.


Put simply, marketing attribution refers to the practice of associating touchpoints to a conversion. The way many of us have been adamantly tracking our referrers can be called “last click attribution.” We usually determine the source from which visitors entered our page. But, we all understand that this “source” is not the only touchpoint along the journey. It is just the last touchpoint. Being able to attribute all touchpoints, proportionately, to a conversion – that is the goal of marketing attribution.


The future, with marketing attribution

One day, a CMO will be required to understand and present something like this:

Email marketing contributed 19%, Facebook sponsored campaigns 7%, retargeting initiatives 34%, TV ads 16%, positive reviews on Amazon 22%, and display campaign 2%. Armed with this level of granularity, companies will be able to allocate their marketing budgets accordingly.


Attribution modeling

The marketing attribution space is evolving rapidly, particularly in regards to attribution modeling. The trends that are emerging in this space are the ones that will set successful enterprises apart. Forward-thinking CMOs who welcome innovation are poised to lead their companies to prominence.


Attribution modeling refers to how data is measured and analyzed for the purpose of marketing attribution: the way that consumer behavior is measured, what is measured, and how marketing tactics are moving targets for retailers and marketers.


A marketing attribution case study

Case in point, in a study completed last year by industry leader Collective Bias with marketing attribution data provider Yeti Data, the companies sought to understand the impact of social media, in this case liking a brand on Facebook, on consumer behavior and spending for a regional billion dollar grocer.


By the time the four-year marketing attribution case study was complete, the modeling methods used in the study to determine that Facebook fans of the regional grocer on average bought 125 more items than a typical customer (a 35 percent rise) were effectively outdated and obsolete. Today Yeti Data uses significantly more robust attribution models and data collection methods.


Attribution methodologies are evolving quickly because they represent the future of actionable marketing and impact modeling. The path a customer takes to the point of purchase and how retailers attribute that influence, and thus their budgets is of growing importance. The multitude of paths and mediums and our ability to monitor and evaluate them continues to become more and more complex.


What every CMO needs to know NOW

If your knowledge of marketing attribution is murky, you're not alone. In a recent post on MarketingLand, Columnist Scott Rayden lays out seven key points every CMO should understand about marketing attribution:


  1. There’s a Low Barrier to Entry
  2. You Can Accomplish a Lot for Free
  3. Communication is Key
  4. Attribution Requires an Alignment of Teams
  5. LTV is Crucial
  6. Nothing Replaces Testing
  7. Perfection is Not The Goal


These key points don’t even get into the definition of attribution and its many tenets such as:

  • Touch points
  • Cross-channel
  • Mix modeling


Marketing attribution perfection

The advancement of attribution is an exciting development and while there are still many limitations on model accuracy, perfection is not a realistic goal. The challenge is not only finding ways to track hard-to-measure channels but also how granular to get when defining them. For example, is a Facebook “like” granular enough, or should we aim to measure which status update garnered the “like.” And, to that extent, if the latter is our goal, do we use “last click attribution” to understand which update cause the user to “like,” or do we drill down and attribute the effects of each of the updates the user encountered?


This is just one example that shows the infinite use cases of marketing attribution. We may be far off from achieving this level of granularity, and we may not even need to get that far. Today, marketing attribution is a tool that, despite being imperfect, is helping CMOs be more effective in their roles.

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Tags: attribution, marketing


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