Last fall, the Winterberry Group predicted that 2015 would be the “Year of Attribution” – presumably when marketers finally got serious about trying to align their marketing measurement across all messaging channels. The concept of “omnichannel marketing” brings with it a vision of fully coordinated efforts across platforms and mediums. This vision includes a marketing measurement process that can identify which of the many touchpoints is ultimately (or proportionally) responsible for getting the customer to buy.
If only it were that easy. I think we’ll be saying “this is the year” for a few years to come.
When it comes to pursuing and implementing attribution, the majority of marketers still fall short. We see them grappling with marketing operations more than attribution these days. Just coordinating the “who, what, where, when, and why” of a customer experience through the variety of devices/channels in real-time and against the marketing plan requires a big team with specialized technical and, of course, marketing skills.
The marketers that have knocked cross-channel marketing operations and are moving on to wrangling the attribution problem seem to be either native digital players who have successfully brought direct marketing into the mix, or very progressive traditional direct marketers who have turned the digital corner. Not many marketers have successfully brought these two tribes together and convinced them to adopt sophisticated cross-channel measurement.
In either case, creating an attribution approach requires a team that embraces innovation in marketing analytics. Whether the analytics are created in-house or with partners like SIGMA, we see success where marketers are constantly asking the two questions, “What more can we learn about our customers from our data?” and “What can we test?”
There is certainly movement in the right direction. Over the next three years, brands plan to increase their spending on marketing analytics by 73%. Additionally, for companies with $1 billion to $10 billion in revenue, the expected increase in marketing analytics spend is even greater at 86% – and for companies in the B2C services sector, it’s nearly 100%.
With the explosion in tools and technologies, marketers still have some big gains to make to blend them effectively to improve the cross-channel customer experience. Yes, marketing operations across platforms is the first nut to crack. But marketing teams that are curious about how to make their data do more – and that build out a test-and-learn plan alongside their campaign plans are the ones that will get to a workable attribution process first. It’s an exciting time to be helping clients do more with their data!