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3 trends orbiting the brave new world of “marketing attribution” September 27, 2014

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing.

“Marketing Attribution” tools and services are rapidly being adopted by Fortune 1000 companies. But successful application of these tools and services require much more than just operational finesse. It requires a deep understanding of your company’s culture. Companies must restructure their marketing operations.

Wikipedia offers this definition of marketing attribution:

Attribution is the process of identifying a set of user actions (“events”) that contribute in some manner to a desired outcome, and then assigning a value to each of these events. Marketing attribution provides a level of understanding of what combination of events influence individuals to engage in a desired behavior, typically referred to as a conversion.

The benefits of adopting a marketing attribution engine include:

  • Quickly and easily collecting, cleaning, normalizing, formatting and integrating your marketing performance data (both online and offline) into a powerful, yet user-friendly interactive interface;
  • Clearly and accurately demonstrating the quantitative cross channel, cross campaign and cross tactic impacts by providing cross channel marketing analytics using the same success metrics you already use;
  • Illuminating optimization opportunities and delivering clear recommendations for changes to your online and/or offline efforts across campaigns, channels and agencies to improve your overall ROI; and,
  • Delivering your attributed metrics directly into media buying platforms you already use to execute optimized buys.

On paper, this sounds like the Rosetta Stone for designing and executing a winning marketing strategy. Because, whoever understands the customer best, wins. (Read The Marketing High Ground.) However, the keys to success require something more than sophisticated software.

I have recently had the pleasure of working with Visual IQ, an up-and-coming leader in the world of marketing attribution. In helping them plan for their first Executive Round Table they asked me to interview a cross-section of the customers — specifically, the marketing leaders responsible for evaluating and implementing these new tools. Three themes quickly emerged:

1) A new media trend: companies acknowledge that they are shifting away from traditional media and into digital and measurable data. Rather than letting yesterday’s print advertising media mix model define their media strategy, they are paying much more attention to digital clues left by their customers and target audiences. And thus, companies are paying big money to build a new type of marketing engine. While this is no surprise, the implications of this trend are eye-opening, namely . . .

2) Technology isn’t the problem. In fact, there is so much (big data) technology that customers “don’t know how to implement everything they’ve signed up for.” They want to catch their breath, to proceed in stages as they implement marketing attribution mechanics. Pilot programs are easier to manage, with all executives eyeing the results. But one of the main issues keeping these marketing leaders up at night is not how to drive a successful pilot. It’s how to scale from there.

3) Change management is the real issue, and the real opportunity for success. While dealing with technology implementation is not without its challenges, the questions being discussed around the water cooler include: “How do we encourage the marketing organization to think in terms of campaigns and not just individual vehicles?” “How do we change the behavior of our marketing team so they are more effective as a marketing team?” “How do we get the team to understand the “big” integrated marketing picture and the media and marketing vehicle trade-offs that are required — without them thinking that their jobs are in jeopardy?”

Taken together, these 3 trends point a clear path to the rapidly evolving world of integrated B2B marketing.

Marketing Campaign Development

The good news is that companies are rediscovering that they already have the tools and strategies to refocus and align their marketing organization. And it’s all documented in the book, Marketing Campaign Development by Mike Gospe. Although written in 2008 before the world of marketing automation took a foothold, the concepts and best practices for building marketing operations processes and dealing with change management were already outlined. Since it’s publishing, more than 2,000 marketers from around the world have read and embraced these concepts. Companies like HP, Sun, Cisco, Adobe, Symantec, and many, many others have adopted and applied these concepts to strengthen their marketing engine, redefine marketing operations, and set new roles, responsibilities, and measures for individual marketers. The book teaches marketers and their company how to work together for the greater good of the marketing campaign. Dealing with change management can be a challenge, but you are not alone. Reread your copy. Circulate it across your team.

For more information on the secrets of architecting and implementing a truly integrated marketing campaign in the digital world, check out the Marketing Campaign Development blog or contact Mike Gospe.


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