At the end of 2011, when SIGMA CEO Kenyon Blunt laid out his Top 10 Trends for 2012, he called touchpoint attribution the “holy grail” of marketing. Does this seem a little extreme? Not sure it should be considered the pinnacle of marketing? Well, it’s more appropriate than you might think. It certainly will lead to an arduous journey and there is a big payoff in the end. Here are the 3 perils that must be overcome to fulfill this quest:
1. Data collection – For many of those writing about attribution, this appears to be the biggest problem to overcome. Often the solution touted for online data collection involves universal IDs and complex tagging. And in the offline world, there is always the complication of media touches that can’t be tracked directly, but which may lead to “organic” responses. For all of these, the ever-increasing arsenal of tools is making it easier and easier to collect data to represent these factors. We have never before had this much data to indicate the customer’s thought patterns.
2. Modeling – As is so often the case, having data in hand is only half the battle. The data needs to be incorporated into a predictive model to assign weights to each type of touch (or each conceivable combination of touches) to discern how much of the revenue can be credited to each. In the offline world, marketing mix modeling has been used historically for this exercise on aggregated data, but so much of the online data that we can now add is available at the individual customer level that multiple modeling approaches need to be integrated to construct the most effective model.
3. Optimization – After we’ve survived the ferocious battle to take in the valuable data and have won the prize of understanding what the data means, we have one last obstacle. Our new channel weights now become a set of assumptions that drive a “what-if” tool that demonstrates the implications of changing the budget allocation for each channel. The new scenarios are then tested by tweaking the channel marketing spend and observing whether the predicted effect is realized.
And what is awaiting you once you have demonstrated the strong character needed to clear these perils? An optimized process for deciding exactly where to put your next marketing dollar and a good idea of what that spend will yield. Now that’s worthy of a feast!
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