Today, Birst announced its multi-touch attribution support – now part of the Birst Marketing Analytics Accelerator. With this new capability, Birst is delivering a complete solution for marketers who want to better understand which combination of channels, campaigns and events influences their buyers and, ultimately, leads to new sales and revenue retention.

In speaking with many marketers, it is clear that multi-touch attribution is arguably the most important measurement for marketing departments. However, many view attribution as a difficult topic to get right. From our experience, here are five best practices in creating a marketing attribution measurement that offers achievable results and organizational buy-in and trust.

1. Focus on the Right Reasons

Many marketers make the mistake of treating attribution as a way to prove their value and validate their spending. In other words, they report on attribution.

A better way to look at attribution is to treat it as a discovery tool: to examine which marketing campaigns and activities produce revenue and use the insights to set the future strategy. This discovery can be rather painful for many marketers. For example, you may realize that your online advertising had not worked well, but upon further analysis, you may discover that it actually works for some regions or products.

Focusing on the right reasons to build an attribution model, even if it means taking the blame for investing in all the wrong places, can be rather powerful. It opens up areas of opportunities for improvement; it can help secure additional funding and provide a great leadership opportunity for marketers who are looking for more influence across the organization.

2. Pick a Platform and Own Your Attribution Model

CRM and Marketing Automation tools are limited in their ability to calculate multi-touch, multi-channel attribution. Newer applications in the market, which are solely focused on attribution, are often a “black box”. The attribution rules are locked in and there is no ability to customize the models. The reality is that attribution rules differ from company to company.

Picking a Business Intelligence platform can help you own the attribution model, so you can decide when it is right to apply a “Linear” style of attribution and when it is appropriate to customize the calculations based on your own rules and policies.

3. Get Consensus on What Matters and Create the Rules

Speaking of rules … many marketers make the mistake of building an attribution measurement without organizational consensus. This immediately creates skepticism – making everything that marketing contributed to positively, questioned by other parties. Things start to become an uphill battle, and a lot of back-peddling is needed to prove that the model works!

A better approach is to build cross-departmental consensus first. Create a core group of people that define what should be measured and how it should be measured. This group is often made of people from marketing, sales operations and customer success teams. Create another group that are reviewers and can approve the framework; typically an executive-level team.

4. Build a Pilot

There should always be a balance between getting consensus and making a decision – and marketing attribution is no exception to that rule!

To move things along faster – start with only a few Key Value Indicators (KVIs) and make that your initial pilot. For example, consider this KVI as your basis: Marketing Generated Pipeline. What are all the drivers into this KVI? Certainly the Number of Programs, Leads, and Conversion Rates. Simple enough! Now add another driver: a “look-back” window. For instance a look-back window of six months means that you would only consider campaigns that started six months ago. Anything prior to that does not count toward revenue. See how things change.

Define the scope of your pilot clearly with the KVIs and the KVI drivers that are most critical for your business. Leave the complete scope of your full project to later. You will learn so much as part of your pilot that you would most likely scratch the majority of what you initially came up with.

5. Share the Dirty Details to Gain Trust

Present your findings back to the organization and let all the dirty details out! Everyone expects miss-steps and being straight and upfront about it makes you a more strategic leader. This creates an opportunity for problem solving, building cross-departmental trust and leadership.

The point of attribution – as we covered in bullet 1 – is not to prove the value of what has been done. It is in setting the direction on what should be done in the future.

With this in mind, attribution is arguably THE measurement that sets apart a strategic marketer from a status quo marketer. Gain your organizational trust by openly sharing what has worked and what has not. It helps you lead the charge in making changes, getting resources to support you and, ultimately, offering you a more rewarding tenure with the organization.


To learn more about Birst’s new multi-touch marketing attribution capabilities, click here.