Here are examples and anecdotes of marketing attribution errors and how NOT to do B2B marketing attribution. Sadly many of these stories are real stories from the B2B marketing battlefield:
“We are shifting most of our marketing budget this quarter to Publisher Y. We ran a report and saw that one of the leads they generated off a white paper for us two years ago turned into a million dollar sale!”
There were likely lots of factors that helped close that deal with a two year sales cycle and to provide 100% of the attribution and ignore all of the other sales and marketing touches that influenced the deal can bring you to a poor conclusion and plan. Better to give proper credit with a Multi-touch attribution model (MTA) to all the touches along the way. Also get granularity in your reports at the opportunity level so one single outlier deal doesn’t skew overall marketing spend strategy.
“Our marketing ROI reports rely on sales reps entering in the Opportunity Contact Roles. We’ve made this a required field and stressed the importance and reasoning to sales so we have good data.”
What really happens: the reps hurriedly and haphazardly pick out a primary contact and move on with more important things (to them) and don’t give a thought to the secondary influencers or buying team that had input into the decision and how those touches roll up into marketing reports and influence marketing spend decisions.
A better idea is to not rely on the reps to manually enter data, but build models that automatically look at the account’s activity as a whole. This also ties into your Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategy and using MTA to support and measure. Rollup the marketing touches at the account level and recapture lost attribution that marketing drove but didn’t get associated due to contact roles.
“Don’t send us any duplicate leads, we throw them out and don’t count them.”
Generally this is said by a marketer that is using a simplistic First or Last touch Attribution model instead of MTA. The reps don’t get to see potentially important prospect actions (their contact viewed a white paper for a new product line, etc.), publishers get shortchanged for helping to nurture along and further educated a lead, and marketing doesn’t get credit for the touch and draws poor ROI conclusions. MTA solves this problem.
A related one is from a B2B marketing agency:
“We make media plan decisions and which publishers to allocate spend to based on Cost Per Lead (CPL) and Volume.”
Agencies are in an even tougher spot. They are usually understaffed with lots of turnover, overworked and managing lots of clients and campaigns. Critically, they typically don’t have any (or limited/infrequent) visibility into the client’s CRM system in order to do properly attribute ROI and do any sort of true closed loop marketing. So they fall back on metrics that they know are flawed but have no choice. Share MTA reports with agencies.
Do you have any stories of Marketing Attribution Errors and how not to do B2B marketing attribution? Comment or Tweet at us.