It seems each passing year brings another marketing buzzword, and 2017 is no exception. Recently we’ve been hearing a lot about multi-touch attribution and how it can significantly alter marketing pipeline analytics. But as with other marketing buzzwords, the question arises whether this is just hype, or actually has real-world application.
Fortunately, here at Arketi Group we have been practicing multi-touch attribution and are thrilled to see it coming to the fore. As we began discussing the practice, however, it quickly became apparent that we were more of the exception than the rule. When polling industry colleagues on the topic, we’ve received responses ranging from “tactic for success” to bewilderment.
So what exactly is multi-touch attribution?
It’s no surprise that the rising interest in multi-touch attribution coincides with a growing focus on customer purchasing trends. B2B marketers are increasingly realizing that purchases aren’t made from a single marketing contact; often multiple influencer touches must occur before a buying decision is made.
Whereas traditional, single-touch practices focus on the final touchpoint that converted the lead into a sales opportunity, multi-touch attribution shines light on the other touchpoints that led to the conversion. This provides a more advanced means of tracking revenue streams and properly allocating marketing resources. Multi-touch attribution ensures the lead lifecycle is viewed as an integrated process, ultimately improving marketing strategy and ROI.
The earlier touchpoints complete the picture of the buyer’s journey, showing how the prospect has progressed from an early-stage lead to an active sales opportunity. This “big picture” view of the buyer’s journey provides unprecedented marketing data, allowing teams to make more educated decisions on:
- Effective content mapping
- Marketing channel successes/failures
- Influencing marketing channels
Many marketing teams are targeted to meet specific key performance indicators. Multi-touch attribution delivers improved visibility into the true value of marketing efforts — ensuring that marketing receives credit for their leads.
While there are numerous tools on the market that deliver advanced multi-touch attribution insights, most are largely suited to more experienced users and may overwhelm newer users. We encourage marketers to start by using two familiar tools they almost certainly have in-house: a marketing automation (MA) system and a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Since multi-touch attribution relies on monitoring all campaign efforts, the combination of MA and CRM allows marketers to easily map and monitor all campaigns from a centralized location. Both platforms register “completion actions” – form completions, email clicks, event attendance, etc. – which indicate campaign success.
The key is to track ALL marketing campaigns. This extends beyond the more common initiatives like live events, webinars and email campaigns to include website downloads, web tracking, form submissions and more. For any initiative with some means of measuring engagement — and a completion action — there should be a corresponding campaign tracking the initiative in the MA and CRM.
You can now begin creating a web of data that will ultimately pull together as you tie these decision-makers to new opportunities. Setting up this initial tracking takes a little time. But the visibility it provides into the buyers’ journey will assist both sales and marketing teams in determining which assets are progressing leads through the funnel — and provide a deeper understanding of a lead’s pain points and needs.
Where to go after the basics?
Using your MA system and CRM is a great way to start, but as your processes mature and require more in-depth information, it is worth exploring adding a multi-touch attribution tool such as Bizible and BrightFunnel. Both integrate with many of the top CRM and MA systems, allowing for advanced analytics without having to change platforms.
In today’s market, taking the time to understand customers and the paths they follow when purchasing not only influences marketing successes, but also creates a more pleasurable sales experiences. It’s imperative that marketing stop looking only at the finish line and start using multi-touch attribution to understand the journey.
Dan Earle is a Senior Account Executive at Arketi Group, an Atlanta-based B2B technology marketing agency. Throughout his career, he has led lead demand and nurturing campaigns for clients ranging from start-ups and large enterprises. A seasoned marketing automation professional, he has also helped clients through the implementation process of numerous automation platforms.