Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA) is a vital tool in today’s marketing landscape, enabling organizations to measure marketing effectiveness across various channels. Unlike traditional single-touch attribution models, MTA recognizes that no single interaction is solely responsible for conversions. Here’s a breakdown of MTA and why it matters.
What is Multi-Touch Attribution?
MTA measures marketing initiative effectiveness by attributing the influence that each touchpoint delivers along the prospect’s journey to either a closed won or closed lost opportunity. It leverages user-level data across channels like direct mail, online display, and paid search, assigning credit to touchpoints that contribute to key performance indicators (KPIs). It recognizes that not all interactions are equal and tracks both offline and online touchpoints. MTA’s insights on past performance inform future campaign planning and optimization.
Why Does Multi-Touch Attribution Matter?
MTA offers a holistic view of the customer journey, aligning with the shift towards an omni-channel approach. With MTA, marketers can quantify program success, proving ROI and showing that their campaigns contribute to revenue. Speaking to the customer journey transforms marketing-focused terms into a business focus to engage an executive audience. For example, MTA can take data from ‘number of emails clicked’ to ‘generated ‘x’ amount in pipeline’ and forecast future earnings. Ultimately, having an MTA model provides teams with the data to make smarter business decisions.
How should a company build an MTA model?
- Identify marketing initiatives (those broader strategic efforts focused on promoting the company’s goals). The model needs to be able to group interactions. Companies need to know their overarching initiatives and where interactions originate.
- Define meaningful engagement. Look at company initiatives and identify each end goal. For example, visiting a career page usually doesn’t imply buyer engagement, while attending a webinar on a product would! Do not track the former, but do track the latter in the model.
- Start tracking these touchpoints. Touchpoints start to fill in the details by giving insight into specific interactions, like where a lead came from.
- Influence: Attribute money or volume counts to touchpoints. This allows companies to assess what is performing well and what is not.
There are a handful of platforms required to start the process of building an MTA model and also some “nice to have” platforms that will improve its performance and efficiency.
- Required: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform; Marketing automation platform (MAP); Tag Manager; Content Management System (CMS)
- Recommended: Data Warehouse; Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) platform; Business Intelligence (BI) Tool; MTA Platform
The first step to any good reporting is having clean data because results are only as good as the data driving the model. Tableau provides 5 characteristics of clean data: validity, accuracy, completeness, consistency, and uniformity. Having a large quantity of historical data (recommended anywhere from 6-12 months) will allow the initial MTA model setup to be close to future results. It also allows teams to ask questions right away: “Do these results make sense?” or “Are we seeing discrepancies or gaps that we have information for?” When the team can constructively question the results and provide validation that the data input is valid, accurate, complete, consistent, and uniform, the organization will have more confidence in using the MTA model moving forward.
To get clean data, companies need to have organizational excellence, which means having a clearly defined process for executing strategy.
- Establish strategies for the company’s MAP and CRM to track marketing initiatives. This includes having a consistent campaign naming convention and process. Compare engagements to stage changes to understand how marketing has influenced the customer journey. Join person records to opportunities and pipeline to understand influence.
- Urchin Tracking Modules (UTMs) show how people arrive at and interact with websites. Customize UTM values to align with marketing initiatives and marketing engagements to be able to drill down into specific details. Standardize UTM values to make sure that touchpoints are clearly represented. UTM strategy needs to be aligned with MAP and CRM strategy because alignment across these three areas allows all engagements (offline and online) to be grouped appropriately.
- Develop a lifecycle strategy to track engagements across the buyer journey. Having an internal framework established around a lifecycle strategy ensures that prospect data is grouped into appropriate engagement streams to allow for targeted marketing activities and reporting on funnel volume and conversion metrics.
- Create a data dictionary to document tracking methods and ensure alignment across teams.
Who benefits from Multi-Touch Attribution?
It’s easy to see how MTA benefits the organization, but individual teams will see improvement as well.
- The Demand Generation Team gains insights into campaign performance and can take action on the best-performing strategies.
- The Web Team has data to understand visitor behavior and engagement.<.li>
- The Analytics Team benefits from clean, organized data for reporting and forecasting.
- The Marketing Operations Team sets standards and maximizes efficiency.
When is a company ready for Multi-Touch Attribution Reporting?
Once data and platform requirements are in place, it is time to look at the company’s reporting needs to identify if the team is ready to tackle MTA and the reporting that MTA provides.
- Foundational: “What initiatives, channels and keywords influence newly created leads for your organization?” At this level, companies can answer single-touch questions about lead influence.
- Intermediate: “What initiatives, channels, and keywords drive revenue?” Intermediate models assess revenue-driving channels and tactics.
- Advanced: “What is the anatomy of a deal?” Advanced models account for variables within an organization, including sales cycle, customer profiles, and types of initiatives.
MTA allows organizations to tailor models to their unique characteristics, making it a powerful tool for understanding and optimizing the customer journey.
Alignment Across Teams
Multi-Touch Attribution brings teams together. It breaks down reporting silos and encourages collaboration and data-driven decision-making. It may seem too good to be true, but with a sound MTA model in place and improved reporting, teams can move forward confidently with business decisions.