Marketing Attribution: A CMO's Best Friend
Today’s CMO occupies a challenging and dynamic place in his or her organization’s ecosystem. He is accountable to the CEO for producing results – whether these results are leads, sales, brand equity or a combination – that help achieve the company’s business goals. He partners with the CRO (chief revenue officer) to implement programs that fuel the sales organization’s pipeline and empower it to close business. He is accountable to the CFO for producing those results at an acceptable cost, and must justify future budget spending based on past and predicted performance. And he manages a team that’s responsible for implementing a veritable Rubik’s cube of marketing channels, campaigns and tactics designed to produce the results that his C-suite colleagues are expecting.
For these reasons, marketing attribution should be the CMO's best friend.
Back Up Just a Half-Step
In today’s multichannel, multi-touch marketing environment, marketers almost universally acknowledge that measuring success – and optimizing future spend – based on giving full conversion credit to the last touch or last act experienced by a prospect before converting is a highly flawed, inaccurate methodology.
And most advertisers are coming to realize that subjective, rules-based methodologies for assigning credit – where the marketer simply picks an arbitrary percentage to assign to each touch based solely on its order within the conversion path – are also highly flawed. A rules-based methodology can actually be even less accurate than last touch, as it only accounts for position within the conversion chronology and doesn’t even consider the channel, creative, size, publisher, or any other attribute of those touches that can have significant impact on producing the conversion.
In contrast, algorithmic attribution gathers and analyzes every attribute of each touchpoint experienced by all prospects across all channels to produce a customized model. These models examine every attributes and touchpoints combination to identify the lift in conversion produced by every touch experienced by every prospect. It then recalculates the organization’s success metrics based on the ACTUAL impact of every touchpoint. Although marketers tend to reject the first two methodologies, they intuitively tend buy into the validity of the algorithmic attribution methodology.
That’s Where the Friendship Starts
Implementing and utilizing algorithmic attribution within a marketing organization provides the CMO with an ecosystem whose performance is much more accurately measured and predicted. As a result, it’s much easier for him to meet the needs of his C-suite colleagues, as well as to chart a strategic and tactical course for his marketing colleagues. Here are a few key deliverables of attribution on which this friendship is built:
- The performance of all channels and tactics viewed apples-to-apples using common set of enterprise KPIs mapped to real business goals – for the CEO
- Media spend by channel and tactic, analyzed by more accurate channel and tactic results figures – for the CFO & CRO
- A more accurate basis on which to justify budgets and contribution – for the CFO
- Identification of the audience characteristics of customers who contribute most to organizational success – for the CRO and the marketing team
- Placement-level media spend recommendations based on real science to drive campaigns put into market and associated spend levels – for the marketing team
- Enablement of automated programmatic buying via DSPs, RTBs, etc. – for the marketing team
It’s a Matter of Trust
As with any friendship, this one is built on trust -- trust that’s built upon seeing the actual result more closely match the predicted results -- and seeing a lift in performance using true, attributed metrics compared to last touch or rules-based metrics. As trust is built, confidence is similarly built, both within the mind of the CMO and her organization, and within the C-suite colleagues with whom she collaborates.