Money & Business

Three Steps to Help Your Marketing Department With Revenue Attribution

By / Dec 16, 2020 (tehcheesiong/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

In the COVID-19 economy, generating revenue is crucial, and marketing departments being able to attribute revenue to their efforts is also important. An expert offers three tips to get you on the right path.

No association wants to spend money on ineffective marketing campaigns, and no marketers want to be overlooked for their role in successful efforts that brought in revenue. One way to ensure that marketing efforts are effective and properly credited is getting revenue attribution right, said Todd Lebo, partner and CEO of Ascend2. The company recently released “Revenue Attribution Outlook” [registration required], a report that looked at how marketers are doing at revenue attribution.

“It’s a huge issue right now, because so many times marketing is looked at as an expense, as compared to the revenue side,” Lebo said. “The goal of revenue attribution is to make better decisions on how to spend your money to get the best results. Organizations are looking to see, is this a good investment? Is the [marketing] content helping to meet specific revenue goals?”

For many organizations, attribution is nebulous—best guesses based on the last touch before purchase. “Many times, it’s last attribution that gets the credit for the sale, whereas we know there’s a process,” Lebo said. “There are many touchpoints that are needed before the sale is made. I believe that is where marketers are trying to align the sales and get this revenue attribution as part of the process.”

The report noted that 42 percent of marketers using revenue attribution found the technique very successful, while 55 percent found it somewhat successful, and only 3 percent found it unsuccessful.

Three Steps for Revenue Attribution

To do revenue attribution well, Lebo said organizations need to do three things: have an overall strategy, unify data, and use technology to analyze that data.

“Strategy is mapping out the customer journey and the strategy of how you get from people engaging with your product to purchasing,” Lebo said. “Marketers are very into tactics. Let’s do email; let’s do tactics; let’s do ads. Strategy is how it all fits together.”

Once an association understands its strategy for getting from engagement to purchase, they need to make sure they have access to all the datapoints along the way—that’s unification.

“Many companies have data in silos,” Lebo said. “For example, you have data from your website metrics, you have email data on how people are engaging with your email. You have data from your sales department, from who they are contacting and how they are contacting. Is there a way I can look at one person—at Jane Doe—and have all the data around their customer interaction? All those pieces that are needed, that’s your unified data.”

Getting this data will require reaching out across the organization in a unified fashion. “Part of that is working with your different team members to help establish how to complement each other, not duplicate efforts,” Lebo said.

Unified data and technology go somewhat hand in hand. “The technology is how you’re going to bring it together,” Lebo said. “So much of technology is being decentralized. It’s not controlled by the IT department. It’s user-friendly enough that it is controlled by the marketing and sales department.”

Successful revenue attribution will come by sifting through that data to see what’s been working and what hasn’t. It also means looking at your strategy to get a handle on attributing each component of a multitouch approach.

“Social media is a great one, because you know it contributes, but it’s not typically immediate,” Lebo said. “That’s an example of a top-loaded funnel tactic, and typically, in a multitouch approach, you would attribute some amount of revenue.”

The good news about revenue attribution is that it isn’t just marketing departments that want the data. Leaders are increasingly seeking out this information and willing to budget to get it. “It keeps getting a stronger and stronger push from leadership to be able to quantify what you’re doing and back it up with data,” Lebo said. “That trend is only going to continue to be more prevalent. They will spend money if they can see what the return on investment is. You have to be able to be able to attach it to revenue.”

What is your association doing when it comes to revenue attribution? Share in the comments.

Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is a senior editor at Associations Now. She covers money and business. Email her with story ideas or news tips. More »

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