The Marketing Attribution Landscape
Marketing attribution is the practice of collecting and measuring customer touchpoints across multiple channels and then attributing revenue to each of those touchpoints to better understand where your return on marketing investment is maximized. In the last five years, the marketing attribution category has grown significantly. And rightly so. According to Gartner, 67% of CMOs plan to increase spend in digital advertising in 2018, increasing pressure for more multi-touch accountability.
This category growth led to a new wave of technology vendors focusing on marketing attribution modeling. These vendors have both standardized the way marketing teams attribute revenue and made the process for reporting revenue more scalable.
To help our clients navigate the complicated minutia of which vendor is best for their business, we conducted a comprehensive SWOT analysis across the four most common vendors our clients have asked about – Bizible, Bright Funnel, Full Circle and (although its claim to fame isn’t “attribution”) Engagio.
A Line in the Sand: Tracking Scripts vs. Campaigns
One thing most marketers are concerned with is a vendor’s ability to capture all marketing touchpoints, including the hard-to-measure touchpoints coming from referring websites and touchpoints that occur prior to conversion. Of the four vendors we analyzed, Bizible and Bright Funnel are able to capture this data effortlessly because of their website tracking codes, which both capture and aggregate touchpoints across all digital channels. On the other hand, Full Circle and Engagio rely on Salesforce campaigns as a way to capture and report on touchpoints.
Using Salesforce campaigns provides a significant limitation to the robustness of data captured. For example, Bizible’s native integrations with Google AdWords allows marketers to collect every interaction a person has with an ad. Let’s say you’re running 10 ads at once and a person clicks on three of your ads over two weeks. All of those touchpoints are stored in Bizible’s data warehouse and are logged against a lead or contact in CRM. In this same example, you’d have to create 10 different Salesforce campaigns and have a robust UTM strategy to accurately measure touchpoints using Salesforce campaigns. It’s simply not scalable.
If your marketing budget is spent primarily on digital channels, Bizible or Bright Funnel could be better options for you.
Another trend we’ve seen across B2B companies is the adoption of an account-based go to market strategy. According to TOPO’s 2018 ABM Technology Report, consolidation is expected across many ABM vendors, including attribution providers. We’ve already seen some of this happening with Marketo’s acquisition of Bizible and Terminus’s acquisition of Bright Funnel.
Of the four attribution vendors analyzed, Engagio was the clear leader in account-based features, with Full Circle coming in a close second. Both Engagio and Full Circle have account matching, routing and conversion tools within their platforms. Engagio also has a robust ABM engine, an orchestration tool, and custom account-based lifecycle modeling.
Bizible and Bright Funnel have the ability to match lead touchpoints against accounts; however, the act of routing and conversion must happen in another platform. Bright Funnel’s ABM roadmap looked promising, and its ability to give credit to touchpoints logged against leads makes its account-based attribution modeling more comprehensive than Bizible’s.
Bizible, Bright Funnel and Full Circle have industry standard attribution models (like first touch, U Shape, W shape or Last Touch) as well as opportunities for customization. Bright Funnel and Full Circle offer more customization than Bizible, with the ability to weigh certain touchpoints (like touchpoints from executives or touchpoints from a specific channel) higher than other touchpoints. Keep in mind, although Full Circle allows customization, its limitation of using Salesforce campaigns won’t give you the same flexibility that Bright Funnel will. For example, if you wanted to make all online advertising touchpoints worth more, you’d be better off using Bright Funnel because it simply captures the data better.
Engagio does not offer standard attribution reporting. Instead, Engagio looks at attribution through the view of the account-based lifecycle. You can also create opportunity-based lifecycles and person-based lifecycles within Dash. It answers questions like “what campaigns are most effective at getting accounts to the marketing qualified stage vs. the opportunity stage?”
Top Use Cases Against Attribution Platforms
Bizible: You have a heavy PPC or digital spend and want attribution reports to live in Salesforce. If you have Marketo, there may be a cost-savings opportunity.
Bright Funnel: You want to create a highly customizable attribution model and you want to count touchpoints across leads and contacts. In addition, companies with a very content-centric approach should pay special attention to Bright Funnel’s ability to measure attribution by channel or content. You do not care that your attribution platform lives outside of Salesforce. If you already use Terminus, there may be a cost-savings opportunity.
Engagio: You’re not looking for a “true” attribution platform where you can see ROI by channel. Instead, you’re looking for an account-based tool that can do some attribution. You want to see how marketing touchpoints impact the account-based lifecycle. You want to match, route and convert leads to accounts and to see other account metrics like account engagement or coverage.
Note: We could make a strong argument for investing in both an attribution tool and Engagio, because they really are very different.
Full Circle: You only have the budget for one tool and need a combination of channel attribution and account-based features like routing and conversion. Full Circle does not have deep attribution features like Bizible or Bright Funnel nor does it has the depth of account-based features that Engagio has. However, it provides a broader solution that covers a combination of the above.
Meet Jamie Kirmess
With a can-do attitude and passion for marketing, Jamie will inspire you to push your marketing boundaries. She believes marketing automation is a tool to accomplish organizational goals and strives to offer solutions that consider the bigger picture. Prior to joining LeadMD, Jamie worked as a digital engagement manager at an ed tech start up where she oversaw a team of PR, design, account management, content development and social media strategists. Earlier in her career, she spent four years at a global market research company where she helped lead the introduction and adoption of Marketo. Jamie earned a BA in Integrative Public Relations from Central Michigan University and an MA in Advertising and Public Relations from DePaul. Beyond marketing, Jamie enjoys spending time with her husband Jimmy and three rescued pups, Graham, Kane, and Prim. She loves exploring Northern MI, sipping a good red zin or IPA, eating all kinds of cheese and sweating her stress away during a hot yoga class.