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Attribution as a Catalyst for Positive Change

Volume 2, Issue 12 - December, 2012

Editor, IQ Advisor

Every year at this time, when CMOs and other high-level marketing executives are asked what their biggest needs are for the upcoming year, without exception, making sense of data (in some form or another) is at the top of the list.

Big Data is something the advertising industry has been chewing on for several years now. Advertisers knows there’s deep insights and value to be derived from all the data that’s generated daily from their current marketing technology tools, but, to date, that data has been almost paralyzing to tackle, and no one really knows where to start.

That’s All Changing…

As Big Data issues are sliced and diced into smaller segments, advertisers, agencies, publishers and technology vendors are actively solving their corner of the problem and will eventually meet in the middle. Data Management Platforms (DMPs) are uncovering new and amazing uses for audience segmentation data that was primarily only used for media targeting just two short years ago. The observed data from social media campaigns, paid search ad groups, etc., can show us the path to glory if we can just make sense of it all—and make it actionable.

But Where to Start?

In the months and years following adoption of marketing attribution, marketing organizations organically become more data friendly. At its core, attribution operationalization requires marketers to de-silo their approaches and bring disparate data sets together into a single cross channel dashboard. Once adopted, attribution puts them on the road to becoming the data-driven organizations that they always wished they could be, but were held back by the other priorities of the day.

Now under one measurement roof, marketers realize the power of being on the same page and evaluating their campaign performance under a common currency. Once enabled, media and analytics teams begin to speak the same language and, incredibly, the tension that has existed between them since the inception of digital marketing begins to subside. The practice of marketing attribution forces the compromise of legacy approaches, and only under its unifying lens do the media teams now scrutinize their decisions using more data and the analysts learn how to best present the most important insights and optimization recommendations to their counterparts.

The Right Approach

Although implementing an attribution solution will be a major step forward in your marketing maturity, it can also be highly disruptive if not handled correctly from the beginning. Advertisers should take a phased approach with a defined roadmap and milestones for success. These will help ensure the best value-to-disruption level while keeping everyone on the same page. You should also work closely with your solution provider to understand how their successful clients have been able to fully operationalize attribution and avoid common pitfalls.

Will attribution promote peace and harmony in the world? Probably not. But if you’re a frustrated marketing executive whose holiday wish list includes a roadmap to data-driven thinking, attribution could be the logical place to start.

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