Why do brands need marketing attribution?

Marketing needs to be measurable if it has to be effective
19 September 2018

Customer expectations are constantly changing. This means brands must not only compete against business rivals but also fight for the attention of consumers.

Marketers are therefore pressured to quickly adapt and maximize the outreach of brands they are managing.

However, as the famous quote attributed to American merchant John Wanamaker goes, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” It is thus important to measure the impact of your marketing efforts.

In marketing, this is also known as attribution modelling. There are many metrics that can be used to make these measurements. Using an attribution model, businesses can determine a set of rules that measure each customer touchpoint that ultimately leads to a sale or a conversion.

An Adroll study showed that less than half of companies surveyed actively use attribution modeling to measure the effectiveness of their marketing. Amongst companies that do attribution, 70 percent of them do not act on the insights they gain.

Aaron Bell, CEO at AdRoll shed some light on this issue in a post. “Over the years, marketers have struggled with too many options and too much data, leaving many stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’,” he wrote.

In some cases, advertisers don’t like wasting money especially when they know where it went. This is a common issue faced by UK-based marketing agency The Media Image (TMI).

“A lot of our clients hold back on branding spend because of the low conversion count,” explained Grant Macfarland, Founder and CEO of TMI in an exclusive interview with TechHQ.

The issue of low conversion count is exacerbated by the algorithm changes on many social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

However, there are many different attribution models and many different technological tools that can be used to measure conversion and optimize ad spend.

Just recently, Google improved on its existing freemium advertising and analytics products by launching the Google Marketing Platform. Bringing together all the marketing tools on a single platform, it aims to help businesses manage their digital campaigns and analyze the impact of their outreach efforts.

Not every tool or model will work for everyone; business owners must work with marketers to determine what is the ideal fit based on their company’s requirement.

“A big trap with any hyped tech is ‘man with a hammer syndrome’,” said Macfarland “This means that to a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Not every client needs every bit of tech you have.”

Bell echoed this sentiment, noting that the perfect marketing attribution model doesn’t exist. Rather, it is an ongoing process and requires constant incremental changes to create a model that fits a brand or company.

It is important to not rush the process of determining the right attribution model. During the process, it is key to align decisions with customer journeys and stakeholder expectations, instead of adopting a certain model just because it’s deemed easier.

As Christine Warner, Senior Digital Marketer at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, wrote in an article, “Not every organization can afford a robust CRM system for detailed attribution reporting throughout the customer lifecycle, but any marketer can use available resources to create—or hack—a working attribution model.”

Having said that, an attribution model must also be flexible and scalable with the company.

“The right model for you today, if you are doing things right, may or may not be the right model for you tomorrow,” expressed Maneeza Aminy, CEO of Marvel Marketers in an article.

She added that attribution models must be easily achievable in the organization, while also viable to the decision making. Most importantly it must be in line with its culture and goals.

Technology isn’t the main focus for many businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SME). This means they would have less time to spend on managing and understanding the available technology.

This is especially stressful in an era of ever-changing consumer expectations and marketing tools.

“Lean on the tech support resources of whoever’s tech you’re using,” Macfarland advised.

Companies should always consider what metrics will best suit their needs, and how it can grow their businesses. Choosing the right partners and resources will help improve the impact of your marketing efforts and ultimately boost your bottom line.