The insights that can be gleaned from effective attribution analysis can be very powerful for marketers - so why aren't we all doing it?
It's the age-old question of marketing, to paraphrase retailer John Wanamaker: "Which half of my marketing is working?" Multi-channel attribution is the Holy Grail for marketers wanting to know how different channels are contributing to campaign results.
Simply put, marketing attribution is the practice of using business rules to allocate proportionate credit to each channel's contribution to particular action. Most marketers either struggle completely or still use a simple, "last-click" attribution model. A stronger approach is "fractional attribution," where we give some attribution to multiple items, each weighted by its contribution to the mix, and recognize that buyers are created as a result of a number of events in the consumer decision-making journey. Multi-touch, multi-channel, or full-funnel are all forms of fractional attribution that attempt to assess value of each impression and separate correlation of exposure from causality of an event.
The insights from attribution analysis are powerful. Reinvestment in the channels that work - by audience segment or product line - will return higher revenue and improve customer satisfaction. With so much data available, and so many ways for customers and prospects to interact with our brands, an effective model will be dynamic, and keep up with the changing landscape of our testing and marketing campaign optimization. We'll all be marketing superheroes!
That sounds so great in concept and value, but yet, so few of us actually do it. Why is it so hard?
Usually, our reasons (I won't say "excuses"!) include some combination of:
Let's think positively! Let's say that you overcome and manage all those barriers. What should you actually do to move to a more sophisticated, fractional attribution model? Recently, John Young, the dynamic and scary-smart director of analytics at Epsilon, led a town hall conversation for DMA members (full disclosure: I work for DMA now) and offered these insights.
How are you doing attribution today? If you are not, what is stopping you? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Stephanie Miller is a relentless customer advocate and a champion for marketers creating memorable online experiences. A digital marketing expert, she helps responsible data-driven marketers connect with the people, resources, and ideas they need to optimize response and revenue. She speaks and writes regularly and leads many industry initiatives as VP, Member Relations and Chief Listening Officer at the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org). Feedback and column ideas most welcome, to smiller AT the-dma DOT org or @stephanieSAM.
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