B2B Marketing Attribution – How Single Source Attribution Is Hurting Your Business

Find out how attribution can align your B2B sales and marketing activities to generate more revenue and lower acquisition costs.

The B2B customer journey has changed considerably over the past twenty years. There are an abundance of channels and devices – making the process of tracking a customer journey more complex than ever.

Business to business marketers are facing the challenge that Single-source attribution is limiting their business potential.

Measuring the success of your campaigns by revenue, sales statistics or engagement metrics alone is no longer a relevant way to evaluate your marketing activities. This is especially relevant in classic B2B markets where buyer journeys are long, meandering and potentially require input from multiple contacts.

Marketing attribution is a holistic solution that connects marketing and sales data by tracking and storing customer information – from their first click on a PPC ad to the final purchase. The theory is that marketing attribution can help determine what campaigns are effective in generating quality leads for the business.

 

How to connect your marketing and sales data

One of the biggest challenge Marketing data is typically measured in engagement metrics. Some examples of these metrics include views, clicks, likes, comments, shares and click-through-rates (CTRs). These metrics measure success at the top and middle of the sales funnel.

Sales data is typically more defined, as it is generally measured through revenue and the number of leads. These are bottom of the sales funnel measurements.

Individually the sales and marketing teams have an incomplete picture of the whole sales/marketing funnel. The 2015 State of Pipeline Marketing Report found, “marketers who reported ROIs greater than 1.5x were more likely to perceive alignment with Sales to be ‘tightly aligned’.”

In order to bring both sides of the puzzle together, you need to be able to measure how traffic translates into leads. There are three primary ways to do this.

 

1. UTM parameters

Tracking traffic from your marketing channels is the first step. UTM parameters are tags attached to the end of URLs that allow you to track the source of traffic to your website. With these tags you can find out all sorts of unique information about your potential customers.

For information on setting up UTM parameters, you can find out more by reading this informative article by Kristi Hines from Kissmetrics.

 

2. On-site JavaScript

Snippets of JavaScript code allow web analytics software – such as Google Analytics – to track on-site behaviour. Web analytics can be used to answer relevant questions, such as whether visitors bounce or click on a further to an eBook download link.

 

3. CRM integration

The last step in integrating your sales and marketing data is to connect your metrics to your customer resource management (CRM) software. The data on CRM software contains insights into what turns leads into sales.

Once you have collated all your data you will need to find a way to manage it. Rather than constructing several Excel sheets and trying to collate all your data yourself, attribution software – such as Google Attribution and Bizible – does all of this for you.

Attribution software is not only less of a hassle; it can also prevent embarrassing mistakes like the one above. SOURCE: Bizible.com

What types of marketing attribution models are there?

There are a variety of attribution models to suit different campaigns, business types and objectives. For example, some models work better for digital campaigns, others for integrated campaigns. Similarly, there are models that work better for B2B and others for B2C. We’ve listed some of the major ones below.

Single Touch Attribution Models

Although we dismissed single source attribution models earlier at the start of this article, it is crucial to understand them in order to talk further about Multi-Touch Attribution models.

1. First Click

First click attribution is when the first click that leads to a website is given credit for the sale or conversion. Marketers typically employ this model as it pertains to the top of the sales/ marketing funnel.

 

2. Lead Click

Lead click refers to the last click that led to the user becoming a lead. This type of attribution gives credit purely to the middle of the sales funnel – discarding the initial interaction and the final close.

3. Last Click

Last-click attribution gives 100% credit to the activity that finally led to a sale or conversion. This is bottom of the sales funnel measurement and usually coincides with revenue.

 

Single source attribution worked in the past, as the customer journey was fairly linear. Nowadays, your typical customer will visit multiple sources on multiple devices through multiple channels before reaching the conclusion to purchase or opt-in.

 

Multi-Touch Attribution Models

Multi-Touch Attribution takes a combination of single source attribution metrics and organises them to gain a more holistic view of the sales and marketing process.

Depending on the model you use, the significance assigned to each touch-point will make a difference to how you interpret the data. Below are some common models and examples of when, and when not, to use them.

 

1. Linear

A linear attribution model gives equal weight to every touch-point. This is a convenient model to interpret your data, however, it does run the risk of oversimplifying your marketing.

 

2. Descending

A descending, or time decay, attribution model tries to balance out some of the drawbacks of a linear model by placing greater significance on metrics associated with the bottom of the sales funnel.

 

3. U-Shaped

A U-shaped attribution model simply applies to the top part of the funnel. It measures everything in detail between the first interaction and the conversion to a lead. Marketing departments may find this model particularly useful, as it gives them greater insight into lead generation.

 

4. W-Shaped

The W-shaped attribution model is similar to the U-shaped model but adds the data that can give you more insight into how to improve lead nurturing. This model is useful if you are looking for a more general overview of how your lead generation and lead nurturing is functioning.

 

5. Full-Path

Full-path attribution provides the most general overview; as it incorporates marketing activities, lead generation, lead nurturing and the final closing sales figures.

 

You can use any one of these models in combination to gain insights into your marketing and sales funnel. Often the best practice is to set each of the different models side by side to draw your insights. Each has their strengths and weaknesses – together they present a rounded view of your sales and marketing activities

Omni-channel Attribution

Simpler forms of attribution only measure online interactions using web analytics and online tracking. However, when you are running an integrated campaign involving both online and offline marketing, you are limited to only seeing one half of the puzzle.

Omni-channel Attribution is the solution to this problem – allowing you to interpret not only digital data, but offline marketing data as well. These activities can range from television to radio to print advertising.

Most quality attribution software will be able to host data from a variety of offline resources. Google Attribution, for example, has a specifically designed feature to measure TV attribution.

Account Based Attribution

Account-based Attribution is used primarily in the B2B sector, where you are dealing with longer lead times and multiple representatives from one organisation.

In other marketing measurement tools different individuals are treated as separate accounts. However, in B2B marketing all these individuals are treated as a single account. Allowing you to get a better understanding of the customer journey from the initial click to the close of sale.

Benefits of Multi-Touch Attribution

The primary benefit of Multi-Touch Attribution is that it provides you with a holistic and nuanced understanding of your sales funnel. By bringing sales and marketing together, you are able to relate everything back to the bottom line. Some of the other benefits include:

 

  • Channel Mix Allocation – Instead of relying on engagement metrics, with proper attribution you are able to find out which specific campaigns lead to more revenue. As a result, you can alter your campaigns with much more insight on a granular level.
  • Transparency – Marketing is typically criticised as being ‘vague’ and ‘unmeasurable’. With attribution you are accountable, as business owners can see how every action relates directly to the bottom line.
  • Better Budget Use – There may be pockets of advertising in your marketing mixes that are severely underperforming. Attribution allows you to see the full picture and eliminate ads that only sink profits.
  • Lowering Acquisition Costs – By streamlining your sales funnel you are optimising your acquisition costs and avoid wasting money on irrelevant campaigns.
  • Sustainable Long Term Growth – Set up your attribution tracking today. The sooner you start the more data you will have in future. More data can mean more accuracy – aiding your business’s long-term growth.

 

Do you already apply Multi-Touch Attribution in your marketing? Let us know about your experiences below.

 

If you enjoyed reading about marketing attribution and want find out more about how to optimise your marketing/sales funnel, try reading this article – Shortening the B2B Marketing/ Sales Funnel.

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