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Three Steps to Marketing Attribution Implementation Success

Volume 3, Issue 11 - November, 2013

Editor, IQ Advisor

Many marketers today face an old and familiar problem: proving results to the executive team to garner support and budget for marketing activities. Fortunately, the advent of marketing attribution has brought us closer to fulfilling this quest, providing marketers with a lot more control, infinitely more data, and the ability to deliver far more accountability for marketing dollars.

But while many brand marketers and their agencies have embraced attribution as an essential tool in their toolkit, others have been slower to adopt attribution technology due to a perception that it can be difficult to implement and maintain. While attribution does require a shift in your approach, there are three important steps you can take to help navigate the organizational and logistical changes needed to adopt and operationalize attribution:

Change the way you think about—and reward—marketing success.

Today, many marketing organizations operate in silos that are split across products, brands and/or channels. These individuals or teams typically work independently and with their own set of metrics that they use to report on conversions and return on ad spend to senior management. Often, their objectives—and therefore their incentives/compensation—are also tied to these same independent metrics.

Marketing attribution breaks down these organizational silos, taking into account all marketing channels and how they relate to each other. Because of the increased accountability and measurability that attribution delivers, some aspects of your marketing mix (and the appropriate teams responsible) that haven’t been working well may be uncovered, as well as areas that have been working better than perceived. Preparing your organization for attribution means shifting the focus away from individual or channel goals and instead towards the overall goals of your marketing ecosystem. It also means rewarding those that manage it based on overall success, rather than individual success.

Walk before you run.

Unlike traditional measurement techniques, 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 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. When implementing attribution, start with those channels that have easily accessible data and the most spend. Search and display are good places to start since 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 roadmap for expansion into additional channels where data may not be so easily available.

Find a guide for your journey.

Marketing attribution processes all sorts of marketing performance data whose results must be analyzed and interpreted correctly in order to be acted on effectively. If you have the capability in-house, assign responsibility for attribution to someone that has practical expertise applying the insights derived from advanced analytics, like a marketing analyst or data scientist. If you don’t have the capability in-house, make sure the attribution technology partner you hire is capable of helping you navigate the changes needed to operationalize attribution. These experts should work with your team and, if applicable, your agency to drive alignment around operational and logistical issues like team structure, workflows, compensation tied to performance, and training.

It’s a new era in marketing measurement. By embracing these three important steps, you’ll be better prepared to harness the potential of marketing attribution—and the significant competitive advantage it offers.

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