More than a hundred years ago, John Wanamaker, the forefather of modern marketing, made a statement that still rings true for many b2b organisations today: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” 

While the rise of digital marketing and tracking technology has meant that we have got a lot better at measuring return on investment on advertising, many organisations still struggle to implement a b2b marketing attribution model that goes beyond first or last touch conversion.

Unsurprisingly, this lack of visibility across the complete buyer journey can seriously impact your bottom line. Making even the smallest adjustments can feel scary if you don’t know which marketing activities contribute to winning deals. What if your newsletter has a bigger impact on your current pipeline than you thought? Could cutting down your blogging frequency hurt your conversion rates? Without the data to confirm their assumptions, many b2b marketers choose to keep it safe - and most likely spread themselves and their teams across too many different channels. 

Seinfeld 'If people would only look at the data'

The good news is that deciding how to spend your marketing budget no longer has to be a guessing game. With a better understanding of b2b marketing attribution, it's easier to recognise what efforts yield the most conversions and, more importantly, revenue.

What is B2B marketing attribution?

You can think of b2b marketing attribution like having a GPS for your marketing efforts. It helps you track and measure which touchpoints in your customer's journey contribute the most to your conversion goals and deliver a solid ROI. In essence, attribution models are the algorithms that help you determine which marketing touchpoints deserve the credit (and budget). 

What are the different types of b2b marketing attribution models?

There’s no one-size-fits-all for attribution modelling, and which approach you choose will depend on your business model. Here are the key players you should consider:

  • First-touch attribution - This model attributes all the glory to a lead's first interaction with your brand. While it's great for recognising initial impact, it can overlook the contributions of later touchpoints.
  • Last-touch attribution - On the flip side, last-touch attribution is about that final interaction before a conversion. It's straightforward but ignores everything that happened before the grand finale.
  • Multi-touch attribution - This is where things get exciting. Multi-touch attribution spreads the credit across every touchpoint in a customer's journey. It pinpoints the most influential channels and demonstrates how they worked together to help convert.
  • Cross-channel attribution - While similar to and often used in conjunction with multi-touch, cross-channel does differ slightly. It demonstrates how different marketing channels (such as paid social, organic search, etc.) work together to influence buyer behaviour. It considers both online and offline interactions but isn’t as focused nor specific as multi-touch. 
  • Linear attribution - This simple attribution model assigns equal credit to all marketing touchpoints in a customer's journey. It assumes that each touchpoint contributes equally to a conversion or desired outcome without giving preference to any specific interaction.
  • Time-decay attribution - This ensures that marketing touchpoints closer to the conversion or desired action have a more substantial influence on customer decision-making and receive more credit. The earlier touchpoints aren't forgotten but rather seen as having a gradually diminishing effect, while those closer to the finish line shine brighter. 
  • U-shaped attribution - Also known as position-based attribution, it’s divided between initial and final touchpoints. It recognises the key part these interactions play in the customer journey. 
  • W-shaped attribution - Snowballing off U-shaped, this model gives the most recognition to the first, last and mid-funnel touchpoint before conversion. The remaining credit is spread equally across the leftover touchpoints. 

Improving your b2b marketing attribution modelling game

So, by now, you might be wondering how to make your attribution modelling work for you. Here are a few considerations to get you started…

  • Data. Data. Data - Your attribution modelling is only as good as the data it depends on. Ensure your tracking systems are top-notch, collecting data accurately across all touchpoints.
  • Experiment with models - As avid experimenters, we say, “Give it a try!” -  Don't be afraid to test different attribution models and see which ones give you the insights you need to make more confident decisions. 
  • Customise your model -  Sometimes, an inside-the-box model won't fit your unique business needs. In that case, you can customise your attribution model to reflect the nuances of your industry and customer journey.
  • Utilise the right tech and tools - Platforms with advanced marketing automation capabilities can ease the attribution burden with features and dashboards designed to simplify tracking and reporting, saving you time (and headaches). For example, HubSpot can be a great accomplice for attribution modelling. With multi-touch attribution reporting and customisable models, HubSpot can help you orient the attribution maze.

In a world where every marketing dollar counts, b2b marketing attribution can be a guiding light. It helps you uncover the true heroes of your marketing efforts and ensures your budget is allocated wisely. To learn how you can get the most bang for your buck with effective b2b marketing attribution modelling, get in touch with us here

Brand chemistry is a b2b marketing agency winning your customers' hearts and minds through inbound, brand, content, lead generation and digital strategy. Our marketing specialists achieve stellar results with the latest lead generation techniques.

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