Choosing and How to Start Multi-Touch Attribution
Many marketers have named multi-touch attribution as a top priority for 2017. Have you already decided that MTA is for you? Here are three clues that it’s time to add Multi-Touch Attribution to your ever-growing project list and tips on how to start Multi-Touch Attribution reporting to unlock ROI insights and get a clear view of the buyer’s journey from lead to close and marketing’s full contributions:
1. Your company has a long, complex, B2B sales cycle
Organizations whose products are high value with a large price tag have seen their sales cycles become increasingly long and complex. When selling to businesses, the influencer might start out doing the research but needs to bring in a team of decision makers or get a purchasing department involved in the final signature. Because of this, marketers are looking for ways to shorten the sales cycle by finding tactics that get to the right contact who can help make a decision faster. MTA analysis can reveal programs that decision makers participate in. Once identified, sales and marketing can work together to get those programs launched into the sales process faster.
When your sales cycle lasts upwards of 6 months to 1 year, measuring the ROI of marketing programs on a monthly or even quarterly basis can be challenging due to the time between lead generation and gaining a new customer. This has lead to the rise in popularity of MTA analysis that can lend insight to activities that happen over a longer period of time.
2. Your marketing department has impact on the top, middle, and end of the funnel
If the long sales cycle applies to you, then you have probably already begun creating marketing programs that are aimed to impact different parts of the marketing and sales funnel. In many companies, this begins organically by sales coming to marketing and asking for help with closing a deal. In most B2B applications, marketing programs sorted by their place in the funnel might look something like this:
|Top of the Funnel||Middle of the Funnel||Bottom of the Funnel|
|Paid Search Advertising||Case Studies||Custom Sales Proposals|
|Tradeshows and Sponsored Events||Lead Nurturing||Sales Meeting Support|
|Inbound Content Marketing||Custom RFP Replies||Custom Prospect Demos|
|Content Syndication||Field Marketing Events||Tools such as ROI Calculators|
When marketing lends more support to the entire length of the marketing and sales cycle, a new type of analysis is required. Let’s look at the example of lead nurturing. If you were to evaluate that program based on its ability to bring in new leads for sales, it would never appear to be successful. This is because you only nurture leads that you already have in your system, thus their lead source will never be ‘lead nurturing’. As tools like Pardot have enabled marketers to nurture leads they have already gained, the success comes from getting those leads to close faster and more effectively – better measured by length of sales cycle or close rate.
3. Your lead sources and first-touch attribution are in good shape
First things first, do you know where leads are coming from? This shapes the foundation of a marketing analysis strategy and shouldn’t be overlooked. MTA analysis is even more useful when it is paired with foundational knowledge of where leads and opportunities are sourced. We recommend that you use tools such as Pardot and/or Google Analytics to help determine the right lead source for your new leads. Where possible, Pardot will fill in a lead source automatically or lead source can be populated at the form level with completion actions.
On their own, first touch models are more effective for B2C products. The researcher is often the same person to make a purchase online with their credit card. Imagine that you’re browsing Facebook and you see an ad for an online clothing retailer. You click the ad, browse the site and make a purchase. This attribution is pretty straightforward for that retailer and it’s easy to calculate the return on the Facebook ad.
Once first-touch attribution is established, Multi-Touch Attribution really takes things to the next level. By creating a marketing touch data stack within Pardot and Salesforce, you get the ability to report on where leads come from, but also what happens to them next. Marketing can take more credit for the progression of those leads — even the ones that were originally sourced by sales! Even in the case of our simple retail purchase, let’s think about the next steps of their process. How do they encourage repeat purchases? No doubt they included you into their email marketing campaigns and began retargeting ads based on products you might not have bought. Even retailers can benefit from MTA analysis to understand how their campaigns work across the repeat buying process.
If these three things are true for your marketing organization and especially if you’re using marketing automation, it’s time to take things to the next level and get started with Multi-Touch Attribution.