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Marketing Attribution Success: An Interview with Phones 4u’s Adam Cartlidge

Volume 4, Issue 2 - February, 2014

By Bill Muller, Editor

Phones 4u is one of the UK’s leading independent mobile retailers. With a strong presence online, the company leverages a number of marketing channels and tactics to support its aggressive digital growth strategy. Phones 4u’s Head of Online Marketing, Adam Cartlidge, is responsible for the company’s online advertising programs. Since his arrival in 2007, the company has experienced tremendous growth and received numerous awards, including Online Retailer of the Year in the 2009 and 2010 Mobile News Awards, and Best High Street Retailer in the 2012 Mobile Industry Awards.

As a strong, multi-channel customer-focused marketer, Adam recognizes the value of marketing attribution for learning what truly contributes to the success of online campaigns. During an interview with The IQ Advisor, Adam spoke candidly about why attribution has become essential for making ROI-driven advertising decisions.

IQ Advisor: Why did you decide to embark on an attribution initiative?
At Phones 4u, we use a number of channels to generate sales and traffic on our website, including search, online display and retargeting, social, and email marketing, as well as referrals from a robust partner program. Before implementing advanced attribution, reporting was a manual and time-consuming process that required us to collect performance data from a number of sources. We were also using “last click” data, so we knew we weren’t allocating our budgets as efficiently as we could. Since our digital spend increases every year, it became more important than ever to ensure we were spending in the right areas.

IQ Advisor: What type of due diligence did you perform when selecting an attribution provider?
We wanted a solution that would give us more accurate metrics, so we could allocate our marketing spend more efficiently and reduce overall CPA. But more than that, we wanted a configurable solution that could account for the complexities of our industry, and allow us to integrate our own demographic, location and cost data. Finally, we knew a successful implementation would require buy-in from our internal teams, particularly as it related to shifting from “last click” to attributed metrics. Finding a knowledgeable provider that could provide the support we needed to fully embrace attribution within and across our digital teams was key.

IQ Advisor: How are you using the attribution insights and recommendations you’re getting?
Our focus is on spending more efficiently. Attributed metrics enable us to easily identify which channels, campaigns, ad groups, creatives and keywords are being over- or under-valued compared to last click and where we can better allocate our spend to maximize performance. For instance, based on the recommendations from our attribution solution, we increased our display spend by 86% and decreased our paid search spend by 53% month-over-month. We were also able to review the ROI performance of all of our partner organizations, which served as the catalyst for stopping some of our partnership activity and reinvesting elsewhere. As a result of the recommendations, we’re now seeing a double-digit percentage decrease in CPA.

IQ Advisor: Based on your experience, what advice would you give to other marketers when adopting an attribution solution?
Attribution isn’t just a product, but a journey that requires a total migration of your measurement and decision-making processes, which will have ramifications across the entire organization. Choosing the right partner is crucial, not just with regards to a solid methodology and proven accuracy – though these are paramount – but also when it comes to experience delivering attribution projects. Measurement isn’t an end in itself, but a conduit for decision-making that only becomes valuable to your organization when fully operationalized. The key is making sure your attribution partner can help you extract value as your business grows and changes. Lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of local support. Having direct access to analytics and client service experts that can help you manage the organizational changes needed to support attribution, as well as interpret attribution results in the context of your business goals, is indispensable.

Learn more about how Visual IQ empowers brand marketers with advanced marketing attribution.

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