Marketing Attribution Models

Allocating the right budget to the right marketing channel is always a difficult proposition.  It is especially true in B2B marketing because of many marketing touches that happen during lead’s lifecycle. Therefore, establishing a marketing attribution framework is important in B2B.

Of the many marketing touches during lead lifecycle, two are especially important:

Marketing touch that creates the lead: For example, a prospect clicks a google ad and fills a form in the website.

Marketing touch that converts the lead to opportunity: For example, the salesperson interacts with a prospect in an analyst summit, and based on the conversation converts the lead to an opportunity. The analyst summit gets the credit here.

The available attribution models range from simple to complex. On the simpler side, the model allocates all the attribution to one of the above two touch points.  On the complex side, each touch in the lead lifecycle gets some credit, while the weight vary by the order of touch.

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There are SAAS solutions available that specialize in complex attribution modeling. They may be worth your consideration if you spend a lot of money in marketing.  However, if you are not ready to bring in such a solution, there are some simpler ways to approach the issue, as discussed below:

Full attribution to Lead Creation touch

For businesses with short lead lifecycles (say about 90 days from lead to win), assigning full attribution to the marketing touch that creates the lead is a good approximation. These businesses tend to focus on creating leads and bulk of budget goes towards related marketing campaigns. Note that all leads are not created equal – some lead sources such as inbound leads and referral leads (from partners and customers) tend to convert better. and therefore, more budget will go towards those.

50/50 attributions to Lead Creation and Opportunity Creation touches

In this model, half the credit goes to each touch points that we discussed. This approach is more appropriate for businesses with large lead to win lifecycles (180 days +). Identification of lead creation touch is straight-forward. For the opportunity creation touch, the way to find the marketing interaction is by looking at “Primary campaign” recorded in new opportunities. This credit what was the most influencing activity according to the sales person for a lead to becoming an opportunity.

One requirement with 50/50 attribution approach is that “primary campaign” field in new opportunities need to be populated.  It requires cooperation from Sales to fill the “primary campaign” field.

Marketing Awareness / Branding?

In the methodologies discussed thus far, we focused on recorded interactions. How about the interactions that did not create records, but important nonetheless? Examples include:

  • A prospect seeing your company’s billboard while driving
  • Seeing a google ad while browsing
  • Reading an article in social media

These are the so-called “first touch” activities.  The problem with first touch is that in most cases, the touch is not recorded. Because of the incompleteness of data, the best strategy for the CMO is to assume that marketing awareness channels, though not trackable, are important and allocate budgets for it.  Typically 20%-30% of SAAS company’s marketing budget going towards such untrackable, but deemed important, channels. This is where one should use intuitive knowledge in budget allocation.


Posted by HireJar Staff

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