Attribution Management As A Facilitator Of Your Enterprise Data Warehouse

When an organization engages in marketing attribution it knowingly or unknowingly makes the decision to build an enterprise marketing data warehouse within the database platform of its attribution provider of choice.  Often this is the first time that such a repository is being created for the company’s benefit, and the first time that most of the enterprise-level decisions/rules surrounding that data are being established.  Though on the surface this may seem like a painful process, the most experienced attribution modeling providers have this process down to a streamlined, template-driven process that delivers great benefits to their clients beyond their attribution initiatives.

Decisions, Decisions…

During the process of identifying all the various sources of marketing performance data required to perform effective marketing attribution, and to view the performance of each of their channels, campaign and tactics in an apples-to-apples fashion, marketers will be prompted by their attribution partners to ask a lot of questions.  The answers to these questions will drive not only the translation of their data into a common, normalized format, but will drive the configuration of the attribution interface being provided to them in order to view their performance through their own customized lens.

Examples of some of the questions marketers need to consider:

  • What are the common key performance Indicators (KPIs) by which you can judge and compare the performance of ALL your channels, campaigns and tactics?
  • What is/are the sources of truth for your monetary transactions/conversions and their values?
  • What is/are the sources of truth for your media costs and their values?
  • What calculations/formulas need to be applied to numeric values coming from each of your data sources to convert them into a common set of KPI metrics for comparison?
  • What is the common taxonomy or naming convention for each data element to be used in your attribution process, and what are the business rules required to convert each of the disparate taxonomies into a common one?
  • What business-specific data elements (business unit, line of business, strategy type, campaign category, etc.) are to be used in your attribution process, and how/where is each identified and/or calculated?

Organizational Benefits

It quickly becomes clear that asking these questions of three different departments responsible for three different channels, campaign or business units will probably result in totally different answers.  But going through the internal exercise of answering them with the aid of your attribution partner forces many very productive and positive things to take place -- not least of which is establishing a shared, common scorecard for your marketing organization’s overall success.  In fact, it lays the essential groundwork for the management change that will undoubtedly take place in any organization where marketing silos need to be broken down so that everyone is pulling on the same end of the marketing rope.

The Resulting EDW

The enterprise data warehouse (EDW) that will effectively result from normalizing and integrating your various data sources and launching your attribution initiative will all of a sudden become the “single source of truth.” This is true for not only for your marketing ecosystem’s performance, but your organization’s marketing costs, media consumption data, response/transaction data, audience profile/behavior data, econometrics data, survey data and any other data that you choose to use in your attribution exercise.

Once attribution results are added to the EDW, you can compare your old (last-click-based) KPIs side-by-side with the new attribution-based KPIs to see how different the world looks through a new lens.  You can see how the true KPIs specific to your business are performing at different stages of your marketing funnel, such as marketing budget, marketing spend, impressions, responses, conversions, revenue, customer life-time-value and brand equity. 

And of course, because of the two-way pipes that selected attribution providers have established between their platforms at real time bidding platforms (RTBs), data management platforms (DMPs), demand side platforms (DSPs) and agency trading desks, this data warehouse will serve as the centralized hub of your attribution reporting, predicting, recommending and media execution process.  Perhaps most importantly, your new attribution-enabled environment will also be fueling the performance of an organization whose goals and definition of success are aligned across departments and with the initial vision that inspired the organization to build the data warehouse in the first place.

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