Building a Business Case for Attribution

In order to implement a useful attribution model, you’ll need to build a strong business case for one first. Why is a strong business case for attribution important? Because attribution measurement will require some investment to make the shift from a channel-focused measurement approach to a more holistic approach in order to measure performance. The best business case for better attribution is a return-on-investment (ROI) model that addresses all benefits, costs and risks associated with the implementation and management of an attribution measurement approach.

Marketing budgets have shifted so aggressively into digital channels in the last decade— that in the rush—has something been lost?

Brands are attracted to digital advertising due to its transparency and programmatic advertising efficiencies. However, the sums spent on digital are now so vast that any inefficiencies have become costly.

Attribution models can go a long way to addressing such waste, but many marketers still struggle to understand the opportunities of attribution.

And even when they want to move forward, getting crucial budget support and business case approval from the C-suite can prove daunting. Before getting started marketers need to consider three issues:

  • What models are available and what’s the right one for my brand?
  • Who will I need to work with and how can I get buy in?
  • How do I build a business case?

What models are available and what’s the right one for my brand?

The increasing digitalisation of customer engagement means brands are generating vast tracts of data with the potential to reveal at a granular level how their customers are behaving.

Digital technologies are becoming more sophisticated by the day, and with the emergence of machine learning and artificial intelligence, some argue that a grand unified attribution model encompassing all online and offline data will soon become a reality.

Sadly, the truth is more nuanced.

Despite the flood of new data sources and the development of sophisticated ad technology, studies indicate that even now many marketers are relying on simple first and last-click models and attempting to manage attribution using rudimentary tools such as spreadsheets.

Yet the evidence from researchers like Gartner is clear; when implemented well, attribution delivers significant efficiencies.

At a time when the customer is more empowered than ever, understanding their journey is critical, not just for the better allocation of resources, but also to ensure the very best customer experiences.

Attribution helps marketers determine which of these channels or campaign tactics delivers the best return on investment. At the most basic level, attribution is the ability to measure the tangible output of a particular channel, touch point or activity in the marketing mix. These are typically conversions, revenue or referrals.

It also uses data to tell you what works, what doesn’t and what ‘kind-of’ works.

Importantly, it is about more than just resource allocation. More sophisticated models also help brands better understand the customer’s journey.

This was borne out in a research paper conducted last year by market research firm eConsultancy titled ‘State of Marketing Attribution in Asia Pacific’.

It revealed marketers and their agencies see better resource allocation and a better understanding of customer journeys as the most important benefits of attribution. Gartner expressed a similar view in its recent paper ‘Understand Attribution and Marketing Mix Modeling’.

Read more from Ben Sharp here.

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