Marketing attribution: Measuring long-sales cycle objectives and achievements

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attribution
This adroll.com white paper on attribution reminds leaders in business-to-business marketing of the importance of integration and communication; if the sales team and marketers are not talking the same language, the results will be less than satisfactory
attribution
This adroll.com white paper on attribution reminds leaders in business-to-business marketing of the importance of integration and communication; if the sales team and marketers are not talking the same language, the results will be less than satisfactory. (Adroll.com)

There’s quite a contrast between yesterday’s posting, where I described how a tiny one-person renovation business competes through effective word-of-mouth advertising, and today’s topic: Figuring out ways to measure results with high-value, long-sales-cycle business-to-business challenges.

Adroll.com demonstrates some of these concepts through its eletter and white papers, one of which caught my attention: The Step by Step Guide to Creating Your Custom Attribution Model.  In case you are wondering, here is the definition of “marketing attribution”.

Attribution is the process of identifying a set of user actions (“events”) that contribute in some manner to a desired outcome, and then assigning a value to each of these events. Marketing attribution provides a level of understanding of what combination of events in what particular order influence individuals to engage in a desired behavior, typically referred to as a conversion. (Wikipedia)

In other words, you determine what really leads to client decisions, and then rank and score their effectiveness, ideally through objective measures.

attribution
The AB test is the classic way to review and improve marketing results (adroll.com).

Of course, this sort of thing is easier to contemplate than to implement, in part because of the need to pull various interpretations together, especially correlating sales and marketing, corporate divisions, and the like) and you need to make some measuring assumptions at the start, and then refine and test as you go along. It’s a long-term commitment, especially for services (such as construction, architecture and engineering) with a long-term sales cycle.

Adroll.com advocates as a starting point, implementing Google Analytics and applying UTM Codes so you can have a common reference point. You’ll want to use off-the-shelf software and services initially, then evolve with in-house resources to adapt the model to suit your business objectives.

Sounds daunting, eh? And I suppose that only a few readers of this blog will travel down this rather challenging path is simple: It won’t produce immediate results that you can truly consider profitable, and to some extent defies the gut feel models that many AEC marketers apply in day-to-day work (when they are rushing through in fulfilling RFP responses.

Yet, a simple tool to assess the source of your business, the effectiveness of different online and offline marketing tools, and a linkage with this approach to your go/no go rules will provide value. So will checkmarks relating to client experience, referral feedback and conference participation/leadership have some value.

It’s a big project, but one that may well be worth implementing if your business/practice has the resources. If not, think of some key things you can measure, and start that process today. The bigger picture success will occur when you can integrate everything into a model, that you can then test, tweak, and improve.

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