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Categories: Technology,

Yes, it’s every data-driven marketer’s favorite topic to ponder as they gaze into their next quarter budget plan. How can I really judge the effectiveness of each and every marketing initiative? With all the varied channels today’s marketer uses… and the complex way today’s buyer interacts and digests content, this can be a complete and total mess. This results in most marketers shrugging their shoulders, picking first touch or last touch attribution and calling it a day. They then squirm when it comes time to justify the expense of a big event or other initiative. Logically we all know that all these intermediate touches matter too. Maybe the fourth touch was the “decisive moment” when the prospect in question finally saw the light and got serious about learning more about your product. But without real data to prove this or at least support this, it’s difficult to know what’s working and what isn’t.

I brought this problem up on a recent podcast with Nadim Hossain, CEO and Co-Founder of Brightfunnel, a multi-touch attribution analytics platform. Nadim gave some great insight both framing the problem and giving some practical advice about how marketers should address it, no matter what size of operation they have.

Here are some interesting takeaways:

  • The complexity of attribution goes beyond just different marketing touches to a given contact, it really goes to all the touches that hit a given account. Having this total account view becomes even more difficult as it’s dependent on sales reps attaching contacts to an account… and having tools that can pull all this data together in a digestible way. So the problem’s actually worse than you thought!
  • In general multi-touch is the right way to look at the world because that’s the way buyers buy products. There are four or five people involved in a sale, there are on average 16 to 17 touches. So if you’re just looking at a single touch, even though it could be an important touch it’s not the whole picture.
  • That said, looking at first touch can help you understand how to get lots of the right leads at the top of the funnel… and last touch can help you figure out what’s going to accelerate a deal. In general though, multi-touch is the right answer for ROI decisions. So basically you need to look at all three types.
  • If you’ve got a new business and are just starting out, stick with first touch so you don’t go too far down the rabbit hole. Once your business becomes a 100-300 person company, attribution becomes a must-solve problem where you have to switch to multi-touch to operate effectively.
  • One “simple” multi-touch model that seemed to work well was a 40/20/40 model where it’s 40% first touch, 40% of last touch, 20% everything else. It’s a very simple model and that has a lot of benefits. Nadim’s research found that it’s actually a pretty good model.

That’s just a sample of what Nadim and I covered so I’d urge you to listen to the podcast and reach out to Nadim at brightfunnel.com.

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