Increasingly, B2B marketing teams are held accountable for larger business objectives including revenue and pipeline. This, coupled with a growing B2B digital presence has generated vast demand for tools and techniques that help B2B marketers make sense of their data across their ad campaigns, website, offline events and more. Specifically, teams seek to understand the influence of their marketing efforts on bottom-line metrics like conversions and revenue. B2B marketing attribution is an analysis technique that empowers this by connecting the dots across marketing touchpoints. The following is a detailed description of B2B marketing attribution, its benefits, use-cases, and limitations.
B2B Marketing attribution (or Revenue attribution) is an analysis technique that measures the influence of marketing touchpoints across the customer journey on conversions and revenue. The objective of marketing attribution is to provide teams with data-driven insights into what’s working and what’s not. Ultimately, this empowers marketers to scale efforts & optimize ROI.
A B2B customer journey is complex. It is comprised of multiple (on average, X) touchpoints across search engines, ad campaigns, website content, offline events, and more. Additionally, these touchpoints are spread across lengthy sales cycles that often last several months and involve numerous stakeholders. Accordingly, making sense of each touchpoint and its contribution to a conversion helps marketers allocate their resources in an objective manner.
To put it simply, attribution works by assigning “credits” to each touchpoint in a customer journey. These credits act as weights that represent the value or influence that each touchpoint has on a conversion or deal. There are countless ways or “attribution models” through which credits can be assigned. These attribution models can be broadly classified as single-touch and multi-touch models.
Single-touch attribution models like first-touch and last-touch assign 100% of the credit to a single touchpoint in the customer journey. For example, let’s say a visitor consumes a blog on your website, then attends a webinar, then comes across a Linkedin ad, and finally receives a sales email before scheduling a demo. In this case, a first-touch model will assign 100% of the credit to the blog. Similarly, a last-touch model will attribute all the influence of the conversion to the sales email.
Multi-touch attribution models, as the name suggests, consist of attribution models that assign credit across multiple touchpoints. The most common multi-touch attribution models are Linear, U-shaped, and Time-decay. Continuing with our previous example, a Linear attribution model, for instance, may assign 10% to the blog, 25% to the webinar, 30% to the Linkedin ad, and 35% to the sales email.
Every attribution model has its pros and cons. As a data-driven marketer, it is important to test and compare a variety of models to ensure robust conclusions. You can find our in-depth explanation of some of the most common attribution models here
When implemented accurately, the most valuable benefit of B2B marketing attribution is marketing and ROI optimization. Marketing attribution provides deeeep insight into which campaigns, channels, segments perform best at driving revenue and pipeline. This real-time feedback empowers iterative improvements across the board. With attribution, marketers can determine where to allocate their resources — time, effort, budget — to reach customers and generate high-quality leads. Ultimately, this approach provides exceptional ROI.
As previously mentioned, the B2B customer journey is loooong and convoluted. Marketing attribution provides clarity by connecting the dots between every touch-point automatically. This, in turn, provides a structured, easily digestible understanding of when, where, and how leads are engaging with your marketing efforts. There are cascading benefits to this holistic overview of marketing performance. For one, it empowers micro-conversion measurement (Eg: people who visit the pricing page and are then sent a retargeting campaign convert better), offline tracking (Eg: “how are webinars influencing pipeline?”) and more.
An auxiliary benefit of marketing attribution is improved Sales and Marketing alignment. At a fundamental level, attribution seeks to link marketing efforts and sales metrics. Teams can visualize how their ads, content, events, etc are influencing revenue. As a result, Marketing and Sales teams work with identical data, metrics, and KPIs. This unequivocally contributes to stronger alignment and synergy between both organizations.
In our podcast with Alex Sofronas (advanced analytics, DirecTV), he predicted the future of marketing to involve “less annoying ads”. With that in mind, another overlooked benefit of B2B marketing attribution is its impact on personalization. Media attribution, in particular, helps marketers devise granular, personalized experiences by providing insights into each individual/account/segment’s marketing preferences. That is, attribution delivers answers to questions like “what content resonates most with a particular client profile?”, “which channels should we employ to reach out to this specific audience?”, “how should I strategize social and offline events to ensure they drive leads?”. Executing efforts based on these insights can have far reaching benefits for your brand’s competitive advantage.
Since marketing attribution proves and measures marketing’s influence on revenue and pipeline, it’s an authoritative piece of evidence when justifying budgets and spends. This data-driven approach takes any guesswork out of substantiating marketing’s impact to leadership and finance teams by quantifying virtually every touch-point and effort with a corresponding conversion figure.
And there you have it!
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