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Insight/ Analysis & Measurement

4 Mile Markers Along The Marketing Attribution Journey


by Shane McAndrew
Vice President Of Client Services
Visual IQ

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Article Highlights:

  • Attribution will significantly change the practice of marketing within your organization.
  • Most organizations have more data ready and available than they realize.
  • Attribution enables marketers to view their entire marketing ecosystem in a holistic, interconnected way.

Considering a marketing attribution management solution? Know this: Attribution will significantly change the practice of marketing within your organization.

Unlike some technologies, attribution is not a plug-and-play solution that can be immediately installed and made operational. But the time and resources required are well worth the effort. Once implemented, attribution can have a profound impact on your marketing effectiveness, including more effective budget allocation and significantly better returns.

In Visual IQ’s recent eBook, "Exploring the Art and Science of Marketing Attribution," we explored how to effectively tackle attribution; based on that, we now offer marketers four suggestions when embarking on implementation.

The Beauty Of Imperfection
Unlike inferior “last-click” metrics that fail to offer meaningful insights into all of the factors that contribute to your success, attribution relies on all available data to determine how much credit each marketing touchpoint in each channel deserves for each conversion. The more data you have, the better the insights, which lead to better campaigns and more sales and leads generated (or any other business-specific conversions). Yet organizations are often paralyzed into thinking they need perfect data in order to yield great returns from an attribution solution.

In reality, most organizations have more data ready and available than they realize–enough to immediately recognize the double-digit cost reductions and ROI gains that attribution delivers. Implementing an attribution solution means recognizing that attribution is a journey, with immediate short-term wins to be gained from first implementing those channels where data is most easily accessible, and then increasing the value as data assets grow over time. Marketers who choose to wait until their data is perfect risk finding themselves in a game of catch-up with their competitors.

A Big Data Road Map
When implementing attribution, it’s best to start with those channels that not only have easily accessible data, but those that also have the most spend. Tackling search and display is a good place to start because these channels typically meet the data accessibility as well as spend criteria, and the two channels significantly influence one another. Once some initial results have been realized, those early successes can be used to build a data strategy and road map for expansion into additional channels where data may not be so easily available. Most marketing attribution management software providers have gone through this process many times and can help organizations. In addition, they can also help define a data road map and help install the “plumbing” required to make the data collection process as simple as possible.

A Shift In Mindset, And Operating Model
A critical component of the data road map is the knowledge that as new channels continue to emerge, so do new sources of data. Organizations need to think long-term when it comes to integrating new and existing sources of customer data, and be quick and nimble to adapt to the ever-evolving advertising landscape.

Moreover, attribution enables marketers to view–for the first time–their entire marketing ecosystem in a holistic, interconnected way. Never before has there been a solution that provides an ecosystemwide view of customers and their interactions with marketing investments. This serves as a reminder that attribution requires an operational shift from organizing around channels to organizing around customers.

A Guide For Your Journey
Fortunately, attribution solution providers can help navigate the organizational and logistical changes needed to operationalize attribution. These experts work with a marketing team and, if applicable, agency to establish a set of shared enterprise goals that better reflect consumers’ multichannel behavior; evolve compensation from individual to cross-departmental or cross-channel performance; transition job functions from data manipulation and report generation to insight interpretation and optimization; and more.

As the marketing landscape becomes broader, deeper, and more complex than ever before, companies require a more holistic measurement approach in order to improve the quality and performance of their marketing. Those who successfully implement attribution recognize that it’s not a race to the finish line, but a journey with increasing return–one that requires a fundamental shift in the way marketers and agencies organize and operate.

About Shane McAndrew

Shane McAndrew is the vice president of client services at Visual IQ. He is responsible for leading Visual IQ’s client services team, as well as strategic consultation to clients on best practices in cross-channel marketing attribution and optimization. Prior to Visual IQ, he spent four years as the senior vice president of performance marketing and analytics at full-service marketing agency Engauge.