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The Modern Guidelines of Marketing Attribution Every CMO Should Know

The digital transformation of marketing has completely disrupted the way we think about the entire field. Where marketing geniuses of years past were identified by their killer creative, marketing gurus today are those who know how to claim their place at the all-powerful revenue table by showing improved measurement and attribution. (And if you’re thinking that sounds a little less sexy, you’re right – but it’s by no means less important).

When data and attribution are at the top of the food chain, marketers (and CMOs in particular) are left feeling the squeeze. You know there’s technology to help you with attribution, but there are too many options and an overwhelming amount of data to weed through too. So, how can a CMO cut through the noise and handle attribution in a way that makes sense – and moves that proverbial needle everyone talks about? Here are five ways.


1. Align all teams that impact the bottom line

First, let’s clear something up: Attribution is not just a marketing issue. In order to make a real business case for your team and its budgetary needs, you must connect the dots between marketing and the value it provides to your business’ bottom line. This involves shifting your mindset from strictly that of CMO and viewing your business through the lens of CEO, CFO, sales and customer success. Think about the daily concerns that each of these leaders has, and start embracing them as your own so you can work toward interdepartmental alignment.

When you do so, your marketing goals will take on new life. For example, what used to stop with “lead creation” will now extend to show marketing’s deeper impact (perhaps in opportunity influence, upsells, customer retention, etc.). When you align the goals of all these teams, you can finally have real success with marketing attribution.


2. Move beyond last-touch attribution

Let me ask you a question… do you do real attribution, or are you still relying on last-touch attribution? If you’re stuck doing the latter, you’re running a sub-par proxy that will never connect marketing to revenue generated (sorry to be the bearer of such bad news, but it’s the truth).

You’ve got to determine which multi-touch attribution model (w-shaped, omnichannel or account-based) aligns with your marketing strategy. Then, you can measure every touchpoint of your performance against that strategy. By adopting multi-touch attribution, a CMO can begin to clearly see which channels and content are producing so they can reallocate investments up or down for predictable results.


3. Understand when/where attribution technology fits in

I know, marketing technology is so tempting. It was created to help us fix our problems and perform better, so we ‘need’ it all, don’t we? Ehhh, probably not. But even when you truly might need to add on another system, there are some key considerations every CMO should think about before investing in yet another technology solution for your stack. This is especially true when it comes to marketing attribution.

CMOs may find that the data points within your model (see point #2) reside in multiple platforms across the organization (paid search, web analytics, media, CRM, marketing automation, social media, etc.) and might even need to be modified before a successful integration can occur. So, you must align your technology requirements with your strategy. This way, you can evaluate each solution based on its ability to integrate within your stack and deliver on data points you already know you need to measure.

Related Resource: B2B Attribution Vendors: The Differences Between Bizible, Bright Funnel, Full Circle and Engagio


4. Empower marketing leaders to close the skills gap

Is a skills shortage holding your organization back from marketing attribution? CMOs may know that they need marketing attribution but, without the right talent in place, are often persuaded to take a simpler approach.

In order for marketing attribution to succeed, your marketing team must adopt the same shared culture regarding KPIs and performance. Only then can team members be held accountable based on performance against bottom-line metrics. This levels the playing field in terms of how you determine success, and shifts the entire view of attribution, making ‘skill and will’ gaps apparent. From there, you can focus your efforts on training and development with those team members in those specific areas.


5. Tap attribution for more than revenue proof

What? Yes, I wrote that and I meant it. Really, there’s more to marketing attribution than using it to measure marketing performance to revenue. The data you’ve collected is actionable, predictable and scalable – and should be a primary point of evaluation when making changes in your marketing strategy or when faced with a critical change in the market. It’s like having a compass, and the CMO should know how to use it.

Related Resource: Marketing Attribution: How Can It Improve Your Marketing Strategy?


These are the best ways to start getting the most out of marketing attribution. And when all is said and done, remember that you, as the CMO, must be the champion of attribution. It will make you a better marketer, but it’s not just for your own benefit. In fact, attribution that’s done well is powerful enough to turn marketing from an expenditure into a profit center. And that kind of transformation positively impacts everybody across the entire organization, top to bottom, side to side.

LeadMD has helped many organizations incorporate marketing attribution into their marketing strategy – no matter your technology or industry. If you’d like to explore how LeadMD could help your organization solve this challenge, please get in touch with us and we’ll connect you with one of the marketing attribution experts on our team.

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