There’s a long line of depressing evidence that attribution modelling is fundamentally flawed: in 2016, Gartner analyst Martin Kihn echoed studies conducted in 2015 and 2013:
‘A pair of researchers from Google and Microsoft named Randall Lewis and Justin Rao circulated a depressing paper called “On The Near Impossibility Of Measuring The Returns To Advertising.” It reappeared last December in a prestigious journal with “Near Impossibility” softened to “Unfavorable Economics” – and it’s still depressing.’
How depressing. But he also says that optimising marketing ‘requires statistical scrutiny and more data than you might think.’
In summary, it is a mathematical mess. Since we know a thing or two about data management too, we’re going to offer you an alternative to cashing in on a culture of conversion attribution. An alternative which yields results.
A siloed way of thinking, as well as a siloed way of keeping and using customer data, is one of the cognitive fallouts of the digital age, and its explosion of touch points.
By considering entire customer journeys rather than individual channels, and by using both the technology – and the team structure – which will support unique pathways taken by people, you are immediately zooming out as a marketer to focus on a metric which makes sense: individual context.
What does this mean? An organisation catering to customer journeys might split marketing teams into acquisition, retention and upsell; with each team comprising a mixture of channel specialists, creatives and technical wizards.
Rather than switching lanes, or switching channels, consider changing direction. By using a single customer profile to pull together every interaction, rather than push on every channel, the process for marketers becomes to follow – rather than lead.
With the unifying platform to understand and act on where customers are moving across every channel – you can listen, learn and make better use of resources. Imagine the ability to use owned channels (like email) rather than paid (like Display) to provide a high value prospect with the product they’re looking for, on their preferred channel.
A win-win scenario for brand and customer.
Of course, the true nature of attribution modelling isn’t just throwing a dart in the dark; it’s usually an educated guess based on previous experiences or existing information.
But why not challenge yourself to consider what this means for the way we learn and alter our performance as people – and as brands. Marketers need to dip their toes in the water, re-calibrating what we think we know now, more than ever before.
People are fickle, and simplifying them simply means alienating them, so with the tooling in place to make sure we can zoom in on customer data, segment and tweak on a granular level, our engagement with customers needs to become more of a subtle – and nuanced – Q&A.
And there's more. Head to the Relay42 resources library to find concrete examples of how a smart Data Management Platform can help you create relevant customer journeys, which generate great results.