The Digital CMO/ Analysis & Measurement

The Attribution Challenge


by Anoop Sahgal
Partner Marketing
Adobe Systems

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The next article I’m working on is about the concept of budget allocation in this multichannel world and how to optimize ROI. It’s quite the meaty subject.

Marketers are striving to move beyond the “last-click” attribution model that potentially shortchanges a variety of channel interactions in stores, social, email marketing, and other avenues, and gives faulty conversion credit to the very last click on an e-commerce Web site. They want to know: Where did I get the biggest bang for my marketing dollar--specifically, which touch point?

The big problems still remain:

  1. The need for accountability despite increasing complexity.
  2. The lack of visibility into the mix of events leading up to a conversion.

In early 2012, readers validated point No. 1. Through the survey, we discovered that less than 20 percent of marketing respondents have full confidence in what should be fundamental abilities, including measuring overall campaign effectiveness, allocating budget with ROI in mind, and communicating performance up to C-Level executives.

In large part, it appears the lack of confidence results from perception:

  • There is too much data.
  • There are too many channels.
  • It’s difficult to capture, measure, and attribute conversions appropriately.

Giving Credit Where It’s Due
From that rosy result set, I am going to dive into the world of attribution models and outline the process of going from “click-only” attribution to impression-level “touches,” such as email sends, email opens, lead submission forms, and social channel interactions.

The gold in these models includes rich intelligence into how customers are interacting with a brand, both online and offline, and a better understanding of where to spend marketing dollars.

In the end, do you as a marketer today rely on “guesstimates,” or are you looking at the entire picture?

About Anoop Sahgal

Anoop Sahgal leads global marketing programs for Adobe's key agency and system integrator alliances. Sahgal has global experience in leadership roles that span marketing, product management, and business development in high technology, and has spent time time working in both the SI and agency worlds. Follow Sahgal on Twitter: @anoop_sahgal.