Judging by the nearly infinite number of articles about “attribution” recently, we’d say marketing analytics “thought leaders” are on a crusade. Their intent is to move marketers away from the easy focus on first-order metrics like banner clicks and email open rates, and focus them at the other end of the spectrum – on the “sales” that marketing can (hopefully) take credit for.
This is a bit misguided. And, frankly, becoming very boring and nearly unreadable. As an example, here is an excerpt from a recent MediaPost “Metrics Insider” column:
“On a basic level, attribution produces reports with data containing insights at a single dimension, such as channel “A” is contributing X% to your success, compared to channel “B” at Y% and channel “C” at Z%.”
That is at a “basic level,” mind you.
Missing in this discussion is what Lairig Marketing calls, technically, “the stuff in between.”
Here is an example, using a financial advisory firm for illustration.
Let’s assume the “sales” end of the advisor’s marketing cycle is a face-to-face meeting where a customer signs up for a $250 financial plan. Prior to that is an initial meeting with the advisor, where the only goal is to press for the second meeting.
Prior to that is a series of touches with calls to action that push the prospect forward. In reverse order from meeting #1 might be these marketing tactics: a download of a sample financial plan, which was driven by interaction with an asset allocation calculator on the firm’s website, which was driven by an email to the prospect, which was driven by a webinar in which the prospect’s email address was registered.
This is “the stuff in between” – planned marketing touches that can be measured precisely, to determine where improvements are needed to increase individual response rates and send more prospects to the next step…ultimately increasing the number of people who show up at the second, final meeting.
It can also inspire the addition of MORE stuff in between: “What if we sent a letter to the prospect confirming the appointment for the second meeting, throwing in a $15 Starbucks card to minimize cancellations?”
Instead of all this hard work, the “analytics attributors” believe they can automate data collection and analysis, and as a bonus, optimize the digital touch points (only). Ergo – they can prove that last month’s online banner campaign with a 0.09% click-through generated $24,550 in sales.
Oddly, that attribution effort results in more, not less, focus on clicks.