Are B2B marketers ready for marketing attribution?

By Chuck Leddy

In the first of our three post series on marketing attribution, Marketing Attribution: What it is and why it’s essential for B2B marketing, we explained what the term means and why it’s so essential for B2B marketers. In this second post, we’ll explore where marketers are now in their readiness to implement and leverage marketing attribution, and how they can take the next steps. In the third and final post, we’ll describe the many opportunities that marketing attribution provides, offering an illustrative “success story” of implementing marketing attribution from a long-time Sojourn Solutions customer.

Where Are We With Marketing Attribution? Not There Yet.

Bizible surveyed senior managers and CMOs about whether they believed their organizations were using the right marketing attribution model, one that gave them full-funnel transparency into what specific marketing activities were driving revenues. A breathtaking 80% of respondents believed their organization lacked this key strategic capability. So how the heck do these marketing leaders maintain credibility in the C-suite without relevant, accurate attribution?

C-Suite Leadership “Not Amused” by Hocus Pocus Attribution

Imagine you’re the CMO for founder John Wanamaker, the 19th century retail and marketing pioneer we met in post one who famously said, “I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted, but I just don’t know which half.” Imagine further that Mr. Wanamaker asks you every morning to optimize the marketing budget to remove the waste. Finally, imagine yourself telling Wanamaker you “actually have no way of identifying what marketing investments are wasted and what investments are working.” A cringe-inducing, almost palpable silence ensues, following you around all day like a storm cloud overhead.

Beleaguered marketing leaders now have to “hack” their way to C-suite credibility by pulling together a maddening array of Excel spreadsheets and other ad hoc, multi-channel tools that seek to map the murky customer journey from touchpoint to revenue. Are those spreadsheets and other ad hoc tools: (1) accurate in connecting marketing action to ROI/revenues, (2) conveniently scalable across the entire organization, and/or (3) helping your reputation for accurate ROI reporting in the C-suite? The answer, alas, is no, no, and no. Hocus Pocus attribution needs to stop.

The Way Forward: An Advanced Marketing Attribution Model

With the right B2B marketing attribution model, marketers receive credit for what they do and can optimize processes based on actual full-funnel performance data. Consequently, they gain credibility in the C-suite, a place where “proving” ROI rules. But as with any process of change, getting from here to there isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. It will take time and careful planning. As The CMO’s Guide to B2B Marketing Attribution (2017 Edition) explains it, “[g]ood B2B marketing attribution comprises at least two key components: a multi-touch model and connection to the CRM.” Let’s look briefly at each of these two points:

  1. Integrating Online and Offline Touchpoints. Omni-channel attribution allows marketers to gain visibility into and analyze their efforts the same way their audience gets to experience those efforts, from a single, integrated perspective that combines online and offline engagements. Whether customers engage with you at your booth at the big conference and/or through your email newsletter, you can connect those activities to revenues.
  1. Integrating into the Marketing Stack. One of the biggest challenges new marketing technology brings is the need to figure out how to integrate it into the marketing stack. If it doesn’t integrate well into the workflow, if it doesn’t “play well with others,” marketers won’t use it and its value will be greatly reduced. Well, attribution doesn’t replace marketing automation or the CRM, it just sits in between them and enhances both.

Attribution helps you decide on the right marketing strategy, offering you feedback that facilitates better, data-driven decision-making across the entire marketing funnel. As “The CMO’s Guide” explains it, marketing attribution “allows automation tools to scale more effective campaigns and helps the sales team use the CRM more efficiently.” We’re talking dynamic, ongoing optimization. But we’re not there yet, or as Rebecca LeGrange, Managing Partner at Sojourn Solutions, explains it, “the vast majority of our customers are struggling both to get all their digital and offline touchpoints in one location, and also struggling to get their systems to play well together.”

Next Steps in Implementing the Solution

In an accessible, insight-filled blog post, How to Implement An Advanced Marketing Attribution Model Across Your Entire Company, Bizible Senior Content Marketing Manager Andrew Nguyen offers some next steps marketers can take to implement multi-touch attribution.

You should begin, says Nguyen, by mapping your corporate goals to key attribution and data requirements. Doing this will require cross-functional coordination with finance, sales, and other relevant business areas. Working together, you should be aligning people, processes, and technology in a way that enables you to map those corporate goals with marketing attribution. Nguyen emphasizes that marketers should coordinate with finance very early in this change process.

Another key component of implementing advanced marketing attribution will be listing the questions you want answered. As Nguyen explains it, “[m]arketing attribution tells you more than the amount of revenue being generated. Marketers can learn a lot from conversion tracking, pageviews and session data, and combining data in a data warehouse for further analysis.” Nguyen’s must-read post even embeds a great YouTube video from Sameer Khan, Founder of Marketing Ops Pros, outlining how cloud security company Alert Logic rolled out a successful, company-wide attribution model. It’s worth reading Nguyen’s post and watching Khan’s video.

The ROI of Marketing Attribution

In the end, implementing an advanced marketing attribution model can add tremendous, value company-wide. According to a study referenced in The CMO’s Guide to B2B Marketing Attribution (2017 Edition), multi-touch attribution was found to increase marketing lead volume by 30% annually, improve the ratio of percentage of marketing leads that become marketing qualified leads by 43%, and ultimately drive an eye-popping ROI of 734% over the first three years after implementing Bizible’s solution.

“The positives of implementing an attribution tool like Bizible far outweigh the pain of the journey to get there,” says Sojourn Solution’s Rebecca Le Grange. “Understanding more about the touchpoints and timings which make up the customer journey, and how they interact across that lifecycle, opens up so many possibilities for enhancing campaigns from segmentation to messaging to channel.”

So although it took over a century to prove it, John Wanamaker was indeed an anachronism — we can now attribute marketing activities to revenues, saving that 50% of wasted marketing investment and rolling it into other key strategic initiatives, all while telling a better, more data-driven story in the C-suite. That’s great news for CMOs and the entire marketing function.

To find out more about how to get started with marketing attribution – or how to better manage your current marketing attribution model – reach out to us today!