Let’s get straight to the point. The biggest mistake demand generation marketers make is to either think they don’t follow any attribution model (in which case they end up using last touch model) or follow one model to take all the decisions (and most of them ending up selecting last touch model). But, before we go onto discuss why is this the biggest mistake demand generation marketers make, we need to understand what is attribution. It simply refers to attributing which marketing campaign, tool or channels helped transformed a visitor into a customer. Now, that we understand what attribution in, let’s answer the much awaited question – why is this the biggest mistake demand generation marketers make? It is because last touch attribution does not give the correct picture required to take major decisions. There are similar problems with other attribution models as well (discussed below). According to Johnny butler in an article on Adgo, No one modeL is correct (or incorrect), as no single one will paint a full picture of your marketing performance. The key is to understand which models tell you what information and when you should be using each one. Fergal Glynn, in an article on SalesForce blog, says that it often takes several touches for a consumer to make the choice to request information, and even more for marketing to gather the information needed to determine if a lead is ready to be passed to sales. The point being – we need to understand that an average online purchase is preceded by as many as 5 to 10 interactions and sometimes more. It is important to understand which marketing channels are effective and which are not in order to focus on developing the right demand generation strategy. Lets understand the types of attribution models.
1. Last-Touch Attribution model
This model gives the credit to the last channel that the visitor used before they converted. Last click model is the best to understand which tactics are helpful in closing the deals or pushing the quality leads towards it. But, it has limitations. Lets say you have deployed 4-5 tactics in your demand generation efforts. By the time the lead reaches a stage of buying, he has interacted with you on multiple levels. However, when you implement last touch model, you are giving credit for your conversions to the final channel a customer used.
You are ignoring all other media or marketing channels that would have played an important role in lead nurturing throughout the buyer’s journey.
How is this the biggest mistake demand generation marketers make? because you end up ignoring the role played by the top of the funnel and mid of the funnel channels. This will end up in misallocated budgets and time, bad choices and increase in cost per lead over time (instead of decreasing) Look at the example below.
The marketer will end up concentrating on SEO and other tactics to improve organic results instead of having a budget and planning for facebook ads.
2. First-Touch Model
The first touch as the name suggests, gives credit to the first source that the visitor used in their journey to a conversion. It helps in understanding the most effective top of the funnel brand awareness and demand generation tools.
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3. Linear Model or Multi-touch attribution
This is the simplest form of multi-touch attribution and evenly applies the credit to every single touch in the buyer’s journey. It –
- Provides detailed insights and information on how all the marketing channels work and contribute to a buyers journey. For example, you can decide which marketing channel is the least effective and remove it.
- Help channelize budget, time and efforts in the right direction
According to Bizible, the negative is that it doesnt take into account the potential for varying impact of marketing touches. For example, if a prospect spends two days at one of your user conferences and then goes home and visits your site 19 times via Direct and then converts, your user conference will get 5% of the credit, even though it likely did most of the heavy lifting. Direct, on the other hand, will get 95% of the credit.
4. Time Decay Model
This model attributes credit to every marketing channel that a buyer touches on the journey to conversion. However, it places more emphasis on the channels that push visitors towards conversion.
So, what do we learn?
Each attribution model provides you a certain part of data but does not give you the complete picture. For example, first touch model may show you how a PPC campaign resulted in $1 mn revenue and is the best strategy to generate B2B leads but the last touch model tells you that a webinar is the best way to push these leads towards closing and resulted into $ 9mn revenue. Therefore, following one model to develop a strategy and analyze the effectiveness of marketing efforts is the biggest mistake demand generation marketers make.
So, what should we do to avoid this mistake?
First, understand that marketing in any form needs to generate revenue and you need marketing attribution to track that. Second, understand what you should be known to increase the effectiveness of demand generation efforts and then select a relevant model. Most of the times, you will need to understand more than one set of data to be effective in your strategies. In such cases, you should implement 1-2 models Third, do not merge reports. Read all the reports separately and thoroughly to understand what is really going on. Fourth (and for beginners) – if you are starting out, the safest option is to start by implementing a multi-touch attribution model. If you follow this 4-step-strategy, you can avoid the biggest mistake demand generation marketers make.
Attribution is the best way to gain insights on the marketing impact and get the 360 view of your customer. With attribution analysis, you will understand all the touch points of your customer thoroughly. It is only when you encompass all this information and understand buyer’s journey can help you strategize effectively. Understand why we say it is the biggest mistake demand generation marketers make?
Over to you –
Which attribution model do you follow? How did you decide on it?
What problems do you face?
Lets talk about it in the comments section.
Vikas Bhatt is the Co-Founder of ONLY B2B, a premium B2B lead generation company that specializes in helping businesses achieve their growth objectives through targeted marketing & sales campaigns. With 10+ years of experience in the industry, Vikas has a deep understanding of the challenges faced by businesses today and has developed a unique approach to lead generation that has helped clients across a range of industries around the globe. As a thought leader in the B2B marketing community, ONLY B2B specializes in demand generation, content syndication, database services and more.