Iterative Marketing Podcast Episode 49: Moving From Attribution To Contribution

Attribution Modeling, or the ability to connect a sale with a specific marketing effort, is a hot topic. But the model is flawed. In this podcast episode, Elizabeth and Steve introduce Contribution Modeling, a well-rounded way to measure the ROI of our marketing tactics. ​

In this episode, we discuss…


What is Attribution Modeling (3:31 – 5:09)

  • A measurement for return on investment (ROI) for marketing at the tactical level
  • Three common models include:
    • Last-Touch Attribution: the last marketing tactic a prospect touched before they became a sale
    • First-Touch Attribution: the first marketing tactic a prospect touched before they became a sale
    • Multi-Touch Attribution: spreading revenue across multiple touchpoints based on weight or importance in the customer journey

Why Attribution Modeling is Flawed (5:10 – 9:50)

  • All marketing tactics work together and support each other, but marketers are in the dark as to how.
  • If revenue is divided between marketing tactics, it doesn’t tell the full story. Without any one tactic, other marketing tactics will be hurt in the program.
    • Example: If a Last Touch Attribution Model shows email converted the sale, it may wrongly suggest that all tactics before the email were ineffective.

Introducing The Contribution Model (10:38 – 13:30)

  • This model asks: what contribution did a marketing tactic or touch point make to creating a sale? This can be answered by looking at what percentage of customer journeys have a touch point that resulted in a sale.
    • Example: Do you have evidence that a sale can occur without someone reading a blog post?

How to Track Correlation (13:31 – 16:41)

  • Data is needed in a third party system to track what marketing inputs and outputs were part of a prospect’s customer journey.
  • Some marketing automation systems can use special automations to track this by appending tactics to the contact and account levels, indicating what touchpoints occurred on the journey.

But, There is a Catch (16:42 – 22:12)

  • Marketers who create a consistent experience ensure every prospect hits an intended tactic. In doing so, they also made sure every sale includes the same tactics.
  • This paints a picture that correlation equals causation, which isn’t necessarily true
  • Example: One study found a correlation between people who like candy corn and those who are not concerned with home security.
  • Luckily, most marketers aren’t perfect and purposely introduce inconsistency in their customer experience.

For more information on the charity in this episode, please visit Operation Homefront.

The Iterative Marketing Podcast,  a production of Brilliant Metrics, ran from February 2016 to September 2017. Music by SeaStock Audio.

Learn more about Iterative Marketing and listen to other episodes on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play.

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