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It's Time to Re-Think Your Simple Attribution Model; It's no Good (Sorry, not Sorry)

With more and more channels competing for marketing dollars – and higher ups demanding data-driven decisions – marketers are challenged with evaluating their marketing mix.

In fact, 41% of modern marketers have turned to marketing attribution modeling to evaluate ROI, according to research.

What the Heck?

In the most basic terms, attribution modeling attempts to assign a value or credit to the channel(s) that connected the customer to the channel. Sounds easy enough, amiright?

All you have to do is figure out the first or last touchpoint (called single source attribution) and boom, that’s where you attribute the sale.

Let’s break that down.

Single Source Attribution and that aDORable Whatchamacallit

In the first-touch attribution model, all credit gets assigned to the source that captured the initial engagement. For example, a first touch might be white paper download or lead from third-party site, such as a buyer’s guide.

In the last-touch version, the opposite is true. The final touch – such as a sales call – gets the kudos.

The pros of single source: It’s relatively easy to understand, easy to explain and easy to implement.

The cons: It misses all the engagements that happen in between the first and last touchpoint.

Depending on your product or service and the sales cycle, single source attribution could be all you need. For example, if you are marketing low-cost, low-risk products that customers buy on impulse or with very little research, this approach totally makes sense.

After all, who among us hasn’t impulsively hit the buy now button on a sponsored Facebook post touting a festive coral makeup bag with the cutest little teal tassels? (Oh wait, that’s probably just me, huh?)

Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

Unfortunately for B2B marketers, it’s not so easy because the customer buying journey is complex with an ever increasing sales cycle and burgeoning decision-making group. In fact, the average B2B buyer does 12 searches and is 57% of the way down the sales path by the time they engage in a company’s website.

This long and winding, zig-zagging decision-making process means a multi-source marketing attribution model might be a better fit for most B2B marketers.

Or at the very least and acknowledgement that evaluating multiple channels on a last or first touch attribution is limited at best and misleading at worst.

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