Volume 3, Issue 10 - October, 2013
Editor, IQ Advisor
Brands are increasingly turning to marketing attribution to track, measure and optimize their entire media spend. But like other software deployments, implementing an attribution solution poses several technical and operational challenges that can be highly disruptive if not handled correctly from the beginning.
Over the past few years, “Agile” has emerged not only as a tremendously successful and popular method for managing software development projects, but also as a viable option for implementing software solutions. In simple terms, the Agile methodology reduces cost and risk by incorporating iteration and continuous feedback into the software implementation process. With its emphasis on communication, collaboration and adaptability, an Agile approach to implementing attribution can better position marketers for success.
While such an implementation approach can take many forms, there are a few core tenets that should always be followed:
Assign a Project Lead
Often referred to as the “product owner,” the project lead is responsible for maximizing the value of your attribution solution. The role should be held by a single person within your organization who has a firm understanding of the software, how it will support the company’s goals, and who will use it. As the liaison between the attribution vendor, the internal project team, and agency partners (if applicable), the project lead must collaborate closely with each group to ensure there is a clear understanding of the “requirements” for configuring the attribution solution. For example, which data needs to be pulled, where it will be sourced (ad servers, search tools, proprietary databases, etc.), how it will be imported into the attribution software, and the universal taxonomy that will be applied across all inputs. In conjunction, the project lead will also be responsible for driving alignment around operational issues like team structure, workflows, compensation tied to performance, and training.
Welcome Feedback Early and Often
Since many marketing organizations operate in teams or siloes split across brands, products and channels, it’s best to create a cross-functional team of individuals that represents each of these areas to participate in the implementation effort. These individuals will be personally affected by the organizational changes that will stem from the implementation, so it’s important to get their input and buy-in on the chosen technology, as well as ensure that they understand the goals of the project and are committed to achieving them. These individuals will also serve as the “go-to” experts on the data and performance associated with each area or channel, and getting their feedback on the requirements early and often will help speed the implementation and deliver results from your attribution solution much faster.
Test, Test and Test Again
It’s critical to include a designated “tester” as part of your cross-functional team who will be using the attribution solution on a daily basis to analyze and optimize media allocations. Allowing an end-user to test the solution to verify functionality and uncover potential “bugs” throughout the implementation will help to ensure a more robust attribution solution that meets expectations and delivers performance objectives over the long term.
While an Agile approach may be better known in the software development arena, the increasing popularity of marketing attribution creates an ideal opportunity to take this methodology and apply it to your attribution solution implementation—and better position yourself for success.
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