How to Unlock the Customer Journey Using Marketing Attribution

Analytics have been a long-standing source of knowledge about the customer journey since the ability to track online behavior became available. But, just as we’ve evolved from the the days of Alta Vista and Ask Jeeves, so have our tracking methodologies. Marketing attribution modeling is the next wave in data collection and synthesis. That isn’t to say that web analytics have become obsolete. Analytics reveal the “how:” where has a customer surfed, what are they doing on the site, where are they completing activities, and what they are purchasing. Marketing attribution modeling supports this by providing insight into the customer journey itself. It reveals the “why” behind those activities. Analytics and attribution are a great pair.
Analytics fundamentally help you refine your experience, while attribution reveals what experiences are most effective. By optimizing both, you can tailor your budget to simultaneously invest in the platforms and channels that matter most, while choicefully making the enhancements that will make those investments most effective. Here’s how it works.

Analytics provide foundational insight into marketing efforts:

Picture this: your shiny new website is up and running. You just launched a few digital test and target campaigns. Your social media presence is on point. And your prospect emails are scheduled to send. Or so you think. Web analytics drill down into the heuristic performance of your digital marketing experience. You can track where customers are spending time on your site, where people are falling out of the e-commerce process, whether they are clicking your banners, how your social media presence is trending, and what they are searching to find your brand. This is the foundational information that allows you to understand whether the digital experience you created is working. What it doesn’t reveal is the deeper motivations and behavioral drivers that make this experience successful.

Attribution goes deep on customer journey and behavioral modeling:

But what happens if you discover people are visiting your site, but not purchasing on it? How do you know whether clicks via your emails or via your social media channels are more valuable? And how do you balance your marketing mix? Attribution modeling helps you answer these questions by revealing big picture behavior patterns such as device switching, online and offline performance, and engagement. Instead of considering each individual metric or KPI as a stand-alone measure of success, attribution creates a holistic picture that shows how all your marketing tools are working together. Attribution modeling answers four key questions that every marketer should know when trying to build an amazing customer experience.

  1. Am I seeing and successfully measuring every customer touch point?

When simply looking at KPIs, it’s easy to focus solely on the last channel a customer visits before conversion, but there are many channels and factors that contribute to growth and retention. Attribution weighs each element and links them together so you can understand what’s engaging and inspiring your customers toward action. This helps you determine where you can better support them and what information or channels might be missing from the equation.

  1. What is the value of each of these touch points?

If you get stuck only focusing on the last place a customer visits before they convert, you might also be calculating your ROI incorrectly. Suppose a customer finishes a purchase using a link from an email, but they had originally heard about your brand via a digital banner, visited your store downtown, spent time on your website, and read social referral sites prior to purchasing. Calculating your ROI based on that one email campaign might look high (and may be extremely effective in reality), but leaves out the other factors that led to that purchase. Good planning starts with having the right information.

  1. Do customers have the right information at the right time along this journey?

Attribution also helps you understand how customers are moving in between channels, which gives you an understanding of what is engaging them. For example, you might discover that people aren’t spending much time on your social channels, but average time spent per site on your customer testimonial page is high. This may suggest that your social content isn’t focused enough on reviews and past customer experiences. Knowing where a customer spends her time and how she moves between your campaign touch points can help you place the right content in the right places at the right moment in the customer journey.

  1. Are any efforts redundant or underutilized?

Similarly, this will tell you whether the balance of your spend is aligned to your customers’ needs. In the same example above, you might find that investing in social media simply isn’t as valuable as investing in site content. Attribution allows you to test these theories until you have found the sweet spot for your marketing efforts.

Learn more about how attribution works and how we can support your transition to a hybrid approach that blends traditional analytics with new attribution techniques to get ahead of your competition by contacting us today.

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