Four Traits Of A Successful Marketing Attribution Implementation

In the past I’ve written about how the implementation of a marketing attribution solution forces certain changes to be made within an organization. These changes are well worth the effort, given the significant (15-30%) increase in return on marketing spend that organizations typically achieve through the use of attribution, not to mention the multiple non-attribution-related benefits those changes provide. Understandably, some changes come easier to certain organizations than others based on inherent cultural and structural traits, or on organizational readiness to address the changes.  Below are four traits that support a successful attribution implementation for you to consider in the context of your own organization.

Executive Buy-In

Invariably, a member of your executive team (CMO, CFO, etc.) needs to “get it” when it comes to recognizing that “last click” or “last act” performance measurement and optimization is a flawed methodology that leads to inaccurate business decisions and sub-optimal return on ad spend. Concurrently, someone at the executive level needs to recognize that a common, shared set of marketing/business key performance indicators (KPIs) needs to be pursued across the entire organization, and that different constituencies shouldn’t be pursuing disparate objectives.  If the inherent flaw in the measurement methodology is recognized – as is the folly in having different factions pulling on different ends of the corporate rope – and commitment is made at the executive level to solve these issues, your organization is halfway to a successful implementation.

Collaboration In Data Collection

Marketers from various business units, those responsible for managing different marketing channels, those utilizing different tools and platforms, as well as your variety of agency partners, all need to collaborate on collecting and providing marketing performance data to be integrated within your attribution solution.  Processes need to be established, in concert with the attribution provider, to provide this data on a timely, consistent and accurate basis to correspond with the frequency with which the attribution solution will refresh its analysis and/or recommendations (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.).  In doing so, every constituency within your marketing ecosystem will benefit from learning how each channel, campaign or tactic impacted – and was impacted by – every other channel, campaign and tactic with the frequency expected.  This, in turn, will enable your organization to make timely, accurate and fully-informed decisions about how to optimize your overall marketing mix.

Collaboration in Defining KPIs, Goals & Rules

Once collaboration of data collection is secured, it’s just as necessary that collaboration take place in defining the KPIs like revenue, CPA and conversions that are going to be shared across every channel, campaign and tactic to measure marketing success – as well as to define your specific goals within each of those KPIs. Doing so will not only define how your attribution solution is configured, but it will ensure that everyone is “pulling on the same end of the rope” by working toward common organizational, rather than channel- or department-specific goals.  Similarly, all stakeholders need to collaborate on the various business rules that are applied to the data being brought into, or coming out of, your attribution solution.  These business rules include things such as specific groupings of products, business units, departments, sales territories, campaign types, creative types, etc., to match your own marketing/business taxonomy.  It also includes any specific formulas or calculations to be applied to the data, including marketing costs, ROI or LTV calculations, or any other business-specific calculation that needs to be derived from existing data.  Once agreed upon and applied to the data that’s being provided in a consistent manner, these business rules will ensure the quality, consistency and actionability of the output that’s produced by your attribution solution.

Implementation of Recommendations

Finally, the insights and recommendations produced by your attribution solution are based on the latest performance data.  In order to reap the maximum benefit from your attribution implementation, and build the momentum of ongoing improvement that will snowball into a highly successful overall attribution engagement, you should act promptly and consistently to implement the optimization recommendations produced by the solution.  For not until recommendations are put into market and the resulting performance is fed back into the software can the attribution solution be in the ongoing process of adjusting its models to produce more accurate predictions and recommendations. The more cycles of this process that take place, the more productive the attribution solution will prove to be as increases in marketing efficiency over the course of your engagement are realized.

Efficiency Example

As stated earlier, 15%-30% increases in media efficiency are typically realized through successful implementation of a marketing attribution solution – to which the four traits detailed above significantly contribute.  What this means is that if your organization produces $100 million in annual top-line revenue before implementing attribution, it will produce an incremental $15M-$30 million in revenue for the same marketing investment. For that type of payoff, you should take a long look at your organization’s readiness to move toward demonstrating these four key traits so central to attribution implementation success.


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