Attribution management - the science of determining the appropriate amount of credit that each marketing touchpoint should receive in producing a conversion - can play a significant role in enhancing the quality and effectiveness of the one-to-one interactions that marketers have with their customers and prospects. And improved effectiveness typically translates into increased ROI.
As a bit of background, the attribution management process starts by collecting data on all the marketing touches that take place across all campaigns and all channels (both online and offline) by all the individuals who are exposed to any marketing campaign or impression. Through sophisticated mathematical analysis, attribution management software identifies the extent to which each channel, campaign, and component/attribute of a campaign (such as ad size, time of day, keyword, creative, and hundreds of other factors) contributes to every "conversion action" - such as buying product - that takes place. The software then recalculates the marketers' own critical success metrics (such as cost per acquisition, ROI, revenue, etc.) for each channel, campaign, and component - taking into account the influence that each had on the other. Armed with these new metrics, marketers make more informed decisions about allocating their budget.
Here are four ways that the insights gained through attribution management help enhance marketers' interactions with prospective customers:
1.Market to different segments differently
Some of the most important intelligence gained from attribution management surrounds the factors, and combination of factors, that are most effective at producing conversions from specific types of prospects. Attribution will inform marketers that a certain number of "touches" by a specific combination of marketing channels, within a given timeframe, and through a defined sequence of creative messaging is most effective at generating conversions from one type of prospect. And a very different combination of factors will be found to be most effective at generating conversions from another type of prospect. So by optimizing the combination of factors that each prospect segment is exposed to, marketers are - in effect - enhancing the interaction they have with those prospects, giving them what they need to make the decision to "convert."
2. Introducing, influencing, and converting
Another byproduct of attribution management is enabling marketers to identify patterns in keyword searches by prospects who eventually convert - either online or offline. Many marketers who use attribution find that their keywords fall into three key categories based on the function the words serve in the prospect's path to a conversion: introducers, influencers, and converters. As a result, marketers may chose to continue to spend - or even increase their spending - on introducer and influencer keywords even though they do not appear to produce many conversions, when they learn how many conversions resulted from prospects having searched on such keywords early in the path to a conversion. So by making sure their websites are found on these introducer and influencer keyword searches, marketers are enhancing prospects' interactions with them by engaging earlier in their conversion path.
3.Enough is enough
An effective interaction strategy that is easily driven through attribution management is to identify the maximum frequency with which marketers should expose prospects to online display ads, and at what number of impressions of a given ad or series of ads that prospects experience overload and simply cease to be influenced by those ads. Not only can this serve as a big cost savings to marketers who might not be using frequency caps, but it obviously enhances the interaction between marketers and prospects by clearly defining when enough is enough.
4.Prompting value-add interaction
In cases where marketers use offline channels such as direct mail or outbound telesales, attribution works best when prospects are prompted to go back online to receive some sort of value-added deliverable that enhances the interaction between the prospect and the marketer.
The way this works is by including an ID code on every direct mail piece - or associating one with every outbound telesales call - that is unique to the individual and to the campaign. Within the campaign should be a call to action that offers an incentive for the prospect to provide that ID code at the time he responds to the campaign. This could be an extended warranty, a discount, a product registration, or management of his online account. If the prospect responds through the company's website, the cookies associated with any previous online marketing activity will be recognized and captured - where the prospect will enter his unique ID - thereby connecting his online activity (recorded in cookies) to the offline activity (via the ID).
When someone responds via phone or in-store rather than online, the inbound telesales rep or checkout clerk can ask the customer for the unique ID from the piece that he's been instructed to have with him - using the same value-add incentive - and record that ID as part of the transaction. A step must then be inserted into the process to drive that customer back to the website - perhaps via a follow-up email sent that requires the customer to click "Confirm" to get their value-add deliverable. Maybe the cash register receipt is printed with instructions to enter the ID code online to claim that deliverable. In either case, going online will associate all the previously cookied activities with the transaction associated with the ID code from the original campaign.
As you can see, all these activities enable more personalized interactions with prospects as a result of the intelligence gained through attribution management, and typically drive increased response, conversion, and lifetime customer value.
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About the Author: Anto Chittilappilly is CTO and founder of Visual IQ